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Music, Money, Power, Day Care

Money, Power, Day Care

"Total fucking silence." This is Steve Buscemi's quote from Fargo that keeps echoing through my head while sitting in Andre Nickatina's "other ride" – a mid-'90s Toyota – after he picks me up outside the MacArthur BART station in Oakland.…
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Music, Empathy for the Devil

Empathy for the Devil

Sucking Satan's dick can really change a person. Just ask Rodney Mitchell, a guy who had been taking his lumps for years playing music in what he calls "nobody's underground," the limbo between obscurity and fame that most people know…
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Music, The Beat Goes On

The Beat Goes On

As smoke wafts above the packed audience at the DNA Lounge and the splintered light of a disco ball swirls across his face, Charizma, aka Charles Hicks, stands with his back to the spectators and his hands by his side.…
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Music, The Germans Are Coming!

The Germans Are Coming!

Eminem has said a lot of asinine things over the years, but when he carped, "Nobody listens to techno," he had a point. The style may have been born in Detroit, but as any number of DJs, producers, promoters, and…
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Music, A Beautiful Mess

A Beautiful Mess

It's a brisk and sunny day and New York City is in the throes of the CMJ Music Marathon, a four-day extravaganza where indie bands from all over converge to share their wares. Brendan Canning, one of Broken Social Scene's…
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Music, The Three Rules

The Three Rules

As a child, my grandfather would have me recite the golden rules of ninja existence aloud. The three rules are burned into my psyche: 1. Danger lurks in the shadows; 2. Do not challenge those without hair; 3. Never take…
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Music, Say Hallelujah!

Say Hallelujah!

Think New York City's "rock renaissance" is all about the Strokes? Think again. The city's other high-profile new band, the Rapture, is one of many that've helped configure a subscene loosely termed "dance punk," which has emerged with a gritty,…
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Music, Holy Shit

Holy Shit

Tupac is dead. Long live Tupac! Never has a cliché rung so eerily true. Given the circumstances -- he was mortally wounded in Las Vegas in 1996 -- Tupac remains surprisingly prolific. The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, R…
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Music, Sappy Joes

Sappy Joes

The musicians in Rogue Wave look like Muppets. Guitarist/vocalist Zach Rogue (né Schwartz), his soft features framed by golden, surfer-boy hair, is the Kermit of the group; multi-instrumentalist Gram Lebron, with his cheery grin and shaggy curls, is Rowlf; bassist…
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Music, True Grit

True Grit

There was a time in the '80s when underground and mainstream music were as different as mohawks and three-piece suits. Independent record labels that made a dent in the major labels' cruel music machine were rare, and debates between the…
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Music, Anxiety Attack

Anxiety Attack

Flashback to June 2002, San Francisco's Gay Pride festival, where Keala Ramos sits on the curb with his head in his hands, shaking all over. Potential audience members for his band's show pass him by. The drummer has not shown…
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Music, Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect

Stop me if you've heard this one. You and your friends are sitting around the television watching Blind Date or Paradise Hotel or Hannity & Colmes (hey, it could happen). Maybe you're drinking a few beers, maybe you've just passed…
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Music, Shin Music

Shin Music

If you're one of the thousands who were smitten by the Shins' 2001 debut LP, Oh, Inverted World, then you're familiar with the Pavlovian response evoked by the ghastly whistles and jittery percussion that open the record: the glee in…
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Music, Prick


Certain words have the unfortunate fate of symbolizing all that is evil in the world. Words such as "communist," "cholesterol," and "crack" have all had their day as lingual marks of the beast. But a new word has stolen the…
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Music, Old Faithful

Old Faithful

The best assessment I've read so far of the new Strokes record came from Nick Hornby. Hornby wrote the review three years ago in the novel How to Be Good, cleverly disguising it as the musings of a woman comparing…
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Music, Saddle Chic

Saddle Chic

On a September night at New York City's Bowery Ballroom, Cursive takes the stage forcefully, flooding the hall with its distorted opuses of precise guitars and pining vocals. In between songs, singer/ guitarist Tim Kasher fields fans' questions about everything…
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Music, Smooth Landing

Smooth Landing

There are literally thousands of house-music DJs in the world, and it seems like a quarter of them live in San Francisco. So what sets Mark Farina apart? How come so many other DJs study his mix tapes and show…
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Music, Anticonflict


On a recent September night, Brendan Whitney, 27 -- who raps and produces as Alias for Oakland's Anticon record label -- enters the dressing room backstage at the Fillmore. Surrounded by old friends and associates, including Mr. Dibbs and Slug…
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Music, Karmic Chameleon

Karmic Chameleon

On a hot night in September, Kelley Stoltz winds his girlfriend's minivan to the top of Twin Peaks. As Captain Beefheart's "Observatory Crest" comes on the tape deck, the local singer/songwriter explains his lifelong love for Echo & the Bunnymen.…
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Music, Rock Ninja!

Rock Ninja!

Tonight begins as many of my evenings begin, by strapping into my ninja suit and rolling on a large helping of Brut deodorant. Then, I consult my ninja grandfather and he informs me of my assignment. After nightfall, I'm to…
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