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Monday, March 21, 2016

Your Indie Heroes Will Betray You: The Last Shadow Puppets, Rachel Brodsky, and Confronting Sexual Harassment in Music

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 10:14 AM

The Last Shadow Puppets - ZACHARY MICHAEL/SPIN
  • Zachary Michael/SPIN
  • The Last Shadow Puppets

Full disclosure: I love The Last Shadow Puppets. I spent the summer of 2013 playing their lone album on repeat and spent the next three years all but resigned to the fact that the band was a glorious one-off. So, when the duo – comprised of Miles Kane and Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner – announced a sophomore album called Everything You’ve Come to Expect, scheduled a San Francisco date, and dropped “Bad Habits” as the first single, I was predictably thrilled.

To be fair, “Bad Habits” is a weak single, weighed down by the duo’s outsize ambition and unfocused rock ‘n’ roll-ish lyrics. The revamped image of the band also leaves something to be desired: The pair now resemble mob bosses with a penchant for jogging through 1970s Los Angeles. That said, a sub par lead single and overzealous stylists are menial sins at worst, not the stuff that alienates fans or ends careers.

And I can live with menial sins. I can’t, however, live with their behavior as detailed in Rachel Brodsky’s profile-cum-thinkpiece for SPIN. In between analysis of their return and their forthcoming album, Brodsky describes Kane’s continued harassment throughout the interview: he propositions her, points out Turner’s bulge, and yanks her in for a “not-entirely consensual” goodbye kiss. She calls it what it is – sexual harassment in a working environment – and uses the incident as a framework to discuss the industry-wide “boys will be boys” outlook. She includes Kane’s apology note in full, but finds the gesture an insufficient olive branch. (“Notes like it don’t change the events that preceded them,” she writes.)

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Friday, March 11, 2016

IAMSU Dishes On The Time He Got Pursued By A Fake Drake

Posted By on Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 12:00 PM

iamsu-grill.jpeg

The other day I met with IAMSU and his mom at a restaurant in Berkeley. It was my first time meeting the both of them and it had been rather difficult setting up the interview. When I got to the restaurant, I mentioned how grateful I was to finally meet the 26-year-old rapper and Heart Break Gang founder, which somehow brought us to the topic of creepy fans and impostors. It turns out that IAMSU was contacted by a Drake impostor at the end of last year (hence why he was so reticent about scheduling our interview). 

Here's IAMSU's fake Drake story in his own words:

"It was the first day of my Kilt 3 tour that started in December 2015 and I got hella text messages from Kehlani basically saying, 'Pick up your phone! Pick up your phone! Drake is calling!' I was like, 'Oh shit, okay.' I've never personally met the real Drake. I was in Toronto and we was standing by each other, but that's like the closest I ever got to Drake. 

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A 50-Year-Old Chunk of John Lennon's Hair Can Be Yours for $12,000!

Posted By on Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 9:32 AM

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If John Lennon was your favorite Beatle then you can prove your love for the singer by bidding on a 50-year-old chunk of his hair. The sizeable bundle, which was snipped off in 1966 on the set of the film How I Won the War, Lennon's only non-musical acting gig, measures at four-inches long and is being auctioned off for the price of $12,000.

If you're wondering how the locks were saved all these years (or by whom), the answer is Klaus Baruck, the hairdresser on set who trimmed the Beatle's hair and then pocketed the scraps. 

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Live Review: A Metal Virgin Goes to Her First Metallica Show

Posted By on Mon, Feb 8, 2016 at 9:39 AM

James Hetfield doing his scary demon voice. - JESSIE SCHIEWE
  • Jessie Schiewe
  • James Hetfield doing his scary demon voice.


Let me start this by saying: I don’t like Metallica. It’s nothing personal against the band, I just don’t like metal to begin with (be it speed, heavy, or thrash). And yet, when I was invited to Metallica’s show at AT&T Park on Saturday night (a.k.a. CBS Radio's The Night Before), I figured why not? Could make for an interesting article.

My coworkers gave me warnings. They told me to bring ear plugs and to expect a lot of black clothing and men — particularly men with long hair who like motorcycles and beer. As a lone female who had to take two forms of public transportation (gasp!) to get to the show, the over-abundance of testosterone and close quarters sounded less than appealing, but such is the life of a journalist. Sometimes you’ve got to dive into the trenches and squish into narrow train cars and breathe the same air as bewildered tourists, Super Bowl fans, and drunk fuck boys to get your story.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

WTF Is The Electric Trombone?

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 1:01 PM

WIKIHOW
  • wikihow

I got a press release recently for a jazz album that ended with this line: 

"WARNING: THERE IS ELECTRIC TROMBONE ON THIS RECORD, WHICH IS NOT FOR EVERYONE."

Of course, if there's one way to get a music editor's attention this is it. What the hell does the electric trombone sound like? I wondered. Is it really so bad that you need an all-caps, underlined warning in a press release for it? My interest piqued, I started looking into the nouveau instrument (and of course listened to the song from jazz musician Robin Eubanks' new album, too). From what I could gather, based on my scanty research, it's not an entirely new instrument, but rather a handful of devices (like a microphone and amp) that you stuff and plug into the trombone to amplify the sound and give it that electronic boost.

I listened to a few YouTube videos of artists demonstrating the technique and I was repeatedly struck by how scratchy and rough it makes the trombone sound ("sounds like sandpaper" was scribbled in my notes). In addition to making the trombone sound bafflingly similar to an electric guitar, it also gave the instrument a muffled sound, as if you were standing outside of a club listening to the music through the walls. Because there wasn't a lot of information available about it (at least not in laymen's terms), I turned to an expert, Mark Mullins, the trombonist for the band Bonerama, for help. 

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Do It 'Til It Hurts: How to "Scream-Sing" With Frameworks Vocalist, Luke Pate

Posted By on Fri, Jan 22, 2016 at 1:36 PM

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Luke Pate knows a lot about screaming. Not only does he do it on the regular for the Gainesville, Florida band Frameworks, but he's even taken a screaming lesson from a vocal coach in New York. Pate, who is 24, (i.e. too young to care / young enough to NOT know better)  was first introduced to the notion of "scream-singing" around the age of 15 when his friend, and current band member, Cory Fischer, asked him to fill-in as the screamer for a metal band he was in at the time. Apparently, the band's original screamer quit a week before they were scheduled to record an EP and they needed a new vocalist stat. "I didn't have the slightest clue about what to do or how to do it, but I said yes for some reason," says Pate. After they recorded the "shitty, shitty EP," they started booking shows, later evolving into their current iteration as the post-hardcore screamo band, Frameworks. "I just kind of fell into it," he says, "and that's how it started." 

In advance of their Saturday show at Slim's, we chatted with Pate about scream-singing, how to do it, and what newbies should know before trying it out. It's a fine art, one that requires lots of practice, preparation, and after-care, so be forewarned before trying it out. And, keep in mind, that this is merely Pate's standpoint on how to do it and by no means an official, doctor-approved guide. In fact, there's probably a lot of damage inherent with long-term and ill-prepared scream-singing that both All Shook Down and Pate know nothing about, so practice with caution and perhaps consult a doctor if you're really serious about doing this. 

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Zone Out at The Crepuscular San Francisco Tape Music Festival This Weekend

Posted By on Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 5:00 PM

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Ignore the name: It's misleading. This is not a festival about/for/of cassette tapes as one would think, but it's still a rather cool event. Tape music, or musique concrete, is a genre of experimental, electroacoustic music that was created in France in the '40s. The San Francisco Tape Music Festival has been going on for the last 10 years and consists of various experimental, neo-classical compositions (and some wax cylinder recordings from the late 1800s, to boot) that are played over a few dozen loud speakers in a pitch black room.

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Get Your Unborn Child Hooked on Music With This Vaginal MP3 Speaker

Posted By on Mon, Jan 4, 2016 at 12:47 PM

babypod.jpg
Vaginas are great places to store things. Not only do they make great pockets for stashing drugs and other illegal substances, but, as one Spanish company has discovered, they're also a great fit for mini speakers!

The Babypod is an MP3 player attachment consisting of an oval-shaped speaker connected by a chord that you jam up your muff so that your unborn child can listen to music at a VERY young age. Hearing is the first sense developed in the embryo and numerous studies have already proven that music helps stimulate the brains of fetal babies. In fact, a 2014 study by Barcelona's Institut Marquez found that the children of pregnant women who played music inside the womb (as opposed to outside) "were said to have opened their mouths and stuck out their tongues." Not sure if that's every mother's goal for their newborn child, but at the very least, it'll give them a head-start on their Miley Cyrus impersonations. 

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Kehlani's Tsunami Christmas was a Tsunami of Mishaps and Disappointments

Posted By on Mon, Dec 21, 2015 at 10:03 AM

Kehlani looked good, but that wasn't enough. - JESSIE SCHIEWE
  • Jessie Schiewe
  • Kehlani looked good, but that wasn't enough.


Tsunami Christmas With Kehlani and Friends
Fox Theater
Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015



Kehlani has had a hell of a year.

The 20-year-old R&B singer signed to Atlantic Records and embarked on her first international tour. Her second mixtape, You Should Be Here, dropped in April and is now nominated for a Grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album. Rolling Stone named her one of the “10 Artists You Need to Know” and Billboard called You Should Be Here the “first great R&B album” of the year.

Her back-story is interesting, too. Kehlani, who grew up in Oakland, lost her father shortly after she was born due to gun violence. Her mother, a drug addict and criminal, was arrested when she was a baby, and Kehlani was taken in by her aunt when she was three-months old. When she was 16, she moved out and became homeless, stealing from big chain stores and sleeping at trap houses. She’s also openly bisexual, and it’s common knowledge that she had her first girlfriend by ninth grade.

So, when I heard that she was headlining a show at the Fox Theater (two shows, in fact), I figured I should check her out. Given all the hoopla about her this past year and her recent single, “The Way,” with Chance the Rapper (which has almost 8 million plays on YouTube), I was intrigued. Why is Kehlani so hot right now? I wondered. Not only was the Saturday night show I was about to attend sold out, but the Sunday night show was, as well. And there weren’t even any named openers – the show is billed simply as “Kehlani and Friends.”

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Friday, December 4, 2015

We Asked Icelandic Duo, Kiasmos, a Bunch of Random Questions Because, Well, Why Not?

Posted By on Fri, Dec 4, 2015 at 3:00 PM

Icelandic techno duo, Kiasmos, consisting of Ólafur Arnalds and Janus Rasmussen. - CREDIT:HEDINN EIRIKSSON
  • Credit:Hedinn Eiriksson
  • Icelandic techno duo, Kiasmos, consisting of Ólafur Arnalds and Janus Rasmussen.

On December 9, experimental techno duo, Kiasmos, will be playing at Mezzanine, so we figured we'd talk to them beforehand and ask them a number of super random, out-of-the-blue questions because we could. Given how bizarre and funky their music is (check out their self-titled debut album from 2014 for reference), we figured a bizarre and funky interview would be apropos. Fortunately, the Icelandic duo didn't think we were entirely crazy for doing this (or at least they didn't tell us if they did) and obligingly answered our queries. For good measure, we started off with a few normal questions, but scroll down to the bottom if you want more of the weird. 

All Shook Down: I know you guys are from Iceland, but where do you live now? 
Ólafur Arnalds: Well actually, Janus is from Farao Islands. But we live in Iceland.
Janus Rasmussen: Reykjavík baby, ice cool capital of the world.

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    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"