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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Earworm Weekly: Daniel Powter's "Bad Day"

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 10:08 AM

You've gotta love album covers from the early 2000s.
  • You've gotta love album covers from the early 2000s.

Some songs become earworms due to their utilitarian value. They cheer you up when you're down, they get you through your morning routine before the coffee kicks in, they help you time your reps at the gym. These songs are often simple and repetitive in structure, with one or two highly catchy melodic lines lines looped throughout. You'll forget the verses and any subtle metaphors or emotional twists they might capture. It's all about that streamlined musical phrase and its distilled meaning, acting as a handy label on your jarful of emotions, whatever they may be.

Exhibit A: Daniel Powter's “Bad Day.”

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Live Review: Weird Al Yankovic Needs to Work on His Live Shows

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 10:20 AM

  • Courtesy of Weird Al Yankovic
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect out of Weird Al Yankovic's The Mandatory World Tour when it stopped at the City National Civic in San Jose Sunday night. Though I'm more of a casual Weird Al fan ("UHF" is downright hilarious), there are a few songs of his that I find myself listening to quite often, and I've always been one to enjoy musical parodies.

The show opened with Yankovic's "Tacky" — his parody of Pharrell Williams' "Happy" — with live footage of the comedic singer displayed on large screens showing him outside the venue, entering the theater, and walking through the crowd before joining his backing band on stage. The crowd erupted in a roar that for a moment seemed to overpower the song itself.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Local DJ Baysik on Tropical Bass, Sazon Libre, and His Medical Road to Recovery

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 8:00 AM

While local DJ Baysik’s nickname stemmed from an aversion to school work, the young up-and-coming DJ’s approach to his music is anything but lazy. Starting his DJ career at the age of 13 in a family full of selectors, he was particularly mentored by his cousin DJ Quest, who taught him everything from holding a needle to nightlife etiquette.

Today, he is a resident of Sazon Libre and Rebel Pop Radio on WiLD 9.49, and is gaining attention for his signature edits and remixes. We chatted with Baysik about his Bay-centric name, favorite genres, and recent health complications. Catch him a variety of gigs this weekend starting tonight Thursday, July 21 at Social Study, Friday, July 22 at Bamboo Hut, and Saturday, July 23 with Sake One at Luka's Taproom in Oakland. There will also be a fundraiser for Baysik's health funds next Thursday, July 28 at Madrone Art Bar

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Earworm Weekly – “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 10:30 AM

The Ghostbusters Abby (Melissa McCarthy), Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), Erin (Kristen Wiig) and Patty (Leslie Jones) in Columbia Pictures’ GHOSTBUSTERS. - HOPPER STONE - © 2016 CTMG, INC.
  • Hopper Stone - © 2016 CTMG, Inc.
  • The Ghostbusters Abby (Melissa McCarthy), Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), Erin (Kristen Wiig) and Patty (Leslie Jones) in Columbia Pictures’ GHOSTBUSTERS.
No, I haven't seen the movie yet. Don't ask me why. I hear you all saying that it's fun and feminist and all that good stuff, but it just hasn't happened yet. Chalk it up to the contrarian impulse. One too many exhortations of “you have to go see it or the dudebros will win!” and I just can't. That hasn't stopped me from gaining a new and entirely predictable earworm this week, though.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Live Review: San Francisco Symphony Performs Ratatouille in Concert

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 1:20 PM

  • CAMI
Ratatouille is far from my favorite Pixar movie.

I say that not to open the can of worms that is debating which of the now-Disney owned animation studio's films are the best — because we'd be here all day — but for a bit of context. I was not going to the Sunday afternoon showing of the San Francisco Symphony performs Ratatouille in Concert as a fan of the film, but probably more so the opposite; the tale of Remy the rat and his attempt to become one of Paris’s top chefs just never did much for me. Never really liked it.

But, put those pitchforks down. Just doing some scene setting. My dislike of the film should, I suppose, give the following a bit more weight: The San Francisco Symphony took a movie I've never held affinity for and made it one of the more enjoyable orchestral performances I’ve seen of late.

For the performance, the score of the movie was played live by the orchestra, while the film was projected on a giant screen. Pulling off this type of show is tricky for myriad reasons, not least of all that the orchestra has to stay exactly in sync with the film, but also has to balance its own sound with prerecorded dialogue and sound effects. Big mistakes in either of those categories and the whole thing just falls apart. Everything has to be precise and meticulous and match with what's happening on-screen. It isn't like the conductor can just slow the movie down or rewind if something goes awry.

Luckily, much like Remy’s own signature ratatouille, this performance was top notch: it was one of the best such live-orchestra-with-a-movie performances I’ve seen. The balance between the film and the orchestra was nearly perfect (save a few very minor spots), with the orchestra loudly supplementing the film with its Academy Award nominated score.

The live score added another layer of flavor to the film, and scenes like the rats escaping from the crazy gun-touting lady at the beginning, or the chase around the kitchen, were given a heightened sense of emotion, pulling me further into the adventure. Again, I couldn't have named any of the songs or melodies from the film — and probably still couldn’t, its score, like the movie, never stuck out to me — but I still found myself tapping my foot along and really enjoying all the ingredients coming together live.

I was also quite happy to see that the orchestra brings out an accordion (the film’s score pulls from its French setting), but could have used it louder in the mix, especially in the scene where the rat band is playing in the sewers: I initially almost thought the accordion was prerecorded given how faint it was amidst everything else. But, I'm just glad the orchestra went the extra mile to bring in some non-standard orchestral instruments to really flesh everything out.

Again, I was coming at this as more of a movie-score and orchestral fan than a Ratatouille aficionado, and it was also my first time seeing the San Francisco Symphony. Now, I have much higher expectations to see what the symphony can do with music and films I actually am a fan of.

And maybe, just maybe, I'll have to revisit my prior dislike for Ratatouille.

Critic's Notebook:

—Director/screenwriter Brad Bird and composer Michael Giacchino were also present (and did a pre-concert talk), which made this show even more special. Not every day, I imagine, that either gets to hear the movie they worked on performed for a live audience.

—I’m not sure if the San Francisco Symphony does movies like this every summer…but something like this but with Aladdin or Lion King? Gimme gimme gimme.

—Why are reviewers always portrayed negatively in movies? Do people really perceive us like Anton Ego? I've never known a critic with a house so big, at the very least....
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J-POP Star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu on Her Music, Her Image, and Her Olympian Aspirations

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 10:31 AM


Five years is a long career for anyone in the music business, particularly for women, but Japan’s pop princess Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has reached the half-decade mark and is still going strong. She just released her first compilation album, KPP BEST, which she’s supporting with her "KPP 5iVE YEARS MONSTER WORLD TOUR 2016" — and appropriately enough, she's kicking off the 2016 J-POP SUMMIT Festival this Friday at the Regency Ballroom. Also, capitalization is rampant in Japanese pop culture. Deal with it.

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Premiere: Spooky Mansion's Single "Mrs. John" is a Rollicking Guitar Ballad Dolled Up in Makeup

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 11:37 AM

  • Kelly Diepenbrock

Every musician has their own methods of writing songs and getting inspired. For Grayson Converse, the singer/guitarist of San Francisco surf rock band Spooky Mansion, removing his wisdom teeth is his key to writing songs.

“A long time ago, I had one of my wisdom teeth taken out and they gave me a lot of painkillers,” Converse says. “I was on these painkillers for like a week, and I just started recording and writing songs. I was so relaxed! I wrote fucking 15 songs! So I got my next wisdom tooth out and like a formula, I went back down and wrote another 15 songs. I’ve got two more – I’m waiting for the next album!”

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Non Stop Bhangra Residents on Celebrating Cultural Sounds and How to Let Loose on the Dancefloor

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 10:47 AM

From top to bottom: Rav-E, Jimmy Love, DJ Nix - ODELL HUSSEY
  • Odell Hussey
  • From top to bottom: Rav-E, Jimmy Love, DJ Nix

As one of the most unique and diverse experiences in the Bay Area for 12 years running, Non Stop Bhangra is a night where people of various backgrounds and ethnicities can come together to celebrate, dance, and learn about Punjabi music culture. A typical night starts out with a dance lesson, followed by live Dohl and artist performances, and ends with DJs playing a mix of tunes ranging from Bhangra to reggae.

This week, the party celebrates with the theme of “Crash an Indian Wedding Party,” which gives you an opportunity to experience all the fun parts of an Indian wedding without the requisite wedding pressures. We got a chance to chat with founder and DJ Jimmy Love and resident DJs Rav-E and Nix about NSB’s evolution, memorable moments, and favorite Indian dishes. Non Stop Bhangra #124 takes place this Saturday, [7/16] at Public Works.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Quick, Fast, and In a Hurry: Chris Shaw Joins Ty Segall and Charles Moothart as GØGGS

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 9:05 AM

  • Photo courtesy of GØGGS

GØGGS is aword that means many things: It's the name of a band, the title of a record, and one of the nine songs on said record. There is just one thing that GØGGS most definitely is not: a side-project.

The band features singer Chris Shaw of Memphis-based punk-rock outfit Ex-Cult, indie darlng Ty Segall, and Charles Moothart, a key figure in the Bay Area garage noise revival scene. What started as a conversation between Shaw and Segall when Ex-Cult opened for the latter three years ago has finally found its way to acetate, and Shaw is eager to ensure no one dismisses GØGGS as a temporary flight of fancy.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Earworm Weekly: "She Drives Me Crazy" By Fine Young Cannibals

Posted By on Tue, Jul 12, 2016 at 9:55 AM

Fine Young Cannibals - ROLLING STONE
  • Rolling Stone
  • Fine Young Cannibals

I can't stop the way I feel. This tune's so catchy, it just doesn't seem real. Won't it ever set me free? It's everything an earworm should be.

Translation: This song drives me crazy.

I really want to like the Fine Young Cannibals' signature song. There's nothing really wrong with it. On the contrary, it's almost instantly recognizable. (I can name that tune in four guitar notes!) Roland Gift's delicate falsetto facing off against his sharper chest voice provides more than adequate tension for a three-and-a-half minute pop song. Then there's the unusually snappy snare drum sound, percolating like carbonation bubbles underneath it all.

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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    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.'"