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    Music, Reviewed Silver Jews

    Silver Jews

    To understand the novelistic genius of the Silver Jews, choose any of the band's albums and listen to the first line. On the sparkling '90s pop masterpiece American Water, it's "In 1984, I was hospitalized for approaching perfection." The lo-fi…
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    Music, Reviewed Continental


    As its band name suggests, Continental's sound is vast. What Was Gained From What Was Lost is also fittingly mournful: The eerily apt title took on added significance when Continental's bass player, Brent Kimble, passed away on the eve of…
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    Music, Reviewed Holopaw


    The six members of Holopaw live in four different cities, occasionally falling into one another's lives to record an album or tour. That long-distance relationship imbued the band's first album with a sort of melancholy, twangy wanderlust, a mood that…
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    Music, Reviewed The Heavenly States

    The Heavenly States

    The first track on Black Comet comes off like a cheap ploy. Sure, "Look and Listen" proves that Oakland's Heavenly States can write a passable punk ditty. But the lackluster string arrangements make it sound like the band is tricking…
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    Music, Reviewed Loquat


    Loquat is the quintessential hardworking local band. It records at home, gigs like mad, and took about four years to release its debut album. After two EPs of teasing, It's Yours to Keep arrives as a labor of love delivered…
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    Music, Reviewed Of Montreal

    Of Montreal

    There are a whole bunch of bands -- Apples in Stereo, Lilys, Of Montreal, and the like -- whose British Invasion- styled rock draws endless comparisons to the Beatles and their compatriots. Problem is, much of that '60s-inspired pop is…
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    Music, Reviewed Evening


    It's often comforting when an album delves into our record-collection subconscious, and Evening's Other Victorians is one that leaves listeners pleasantly haunted by their musical pasts. It dredges up fond memories of old favorites -- say, Depeche Mode or OK…
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    Music, Reviewed Enon


    On "Hocus-Pocus," the only syrup-slow ballad on Enon's album of the same name, vocalist John Schmersal exhales a bizarre bit of sensual imagery -- namely, "drunk on the candy of you," an apt, if confusing, aphorism. Like the NYC trio's…
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    Music, Reviewed The Clientele

    The Clientele

    The Clientele's The Violet Hour sounds like a Beach Boys or Belle & Sebastian record played through a misty fog. Occasionally, piecemeal guitar lines drift above the haze, but for the most part, reverb-laden vocals muddle the lyrics and the…
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    Music, Reviewed The American Analog Set

    The American Analog Set

    After the American Analog Set's last album two years ago, singer and principal songwriter Andrew Kenny headed to Columbia University to study biochemistry. Between labs, the budding Ph.D. traveled to the band's Austin base to record Promise of Love. And…
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    Music, Reviewed Swirlies


    What is a swirly? Many music fans may wonder precisely that, because despite more than a decade of existence, Boston's Swirlies remain relatively obscure. But for devoted admirers, the band's first proper album in seven years -- with a remix…
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    Music, Reviewed Liz Phair

    Liz Phair

    Do not be fooled by the lyric "Give me your hot white cum." This isn't the edgy, clever Liz Phair of Exile in Guyville, but rather a bland, barely recognizable avatar. And the song, abbreviated "H.W.C.," encapsulates everything that's wrong…
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    Music, Reviewed Blur


    On "Ambulance," the opening track of Blur's first album in four years, Damon Albarn sings, "I ain't got nothing to be scared of," over low, eerie strings and a hymnal choir. But in the months leading up to Think Tank's…
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    Music, Reviewed Supergrass


    With its fourth album, Life on Other Planets, Supergrass delivers its most unabashedly fun record yet, forgoing the artsy overtures of its recent past for flashy guitar riffs and cosmic organs. And while it's nothing new for the British quartet…
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    Music, Reviewed Rainer Maria

    Rainer Maria

    Though Rainer Maria's origins read like a recipe for pretentious disaster -- guitarist Kyle Fischer met bassist Caithlin De Marrais in a University of Wisconsin poetry workshop; they named the group after German poet Rainer Maria Rilke -- the band…
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    Music, Reviewed Irving


    It's rather galling to us Northern Californians that the lower portion of the state produced so many praiseworthy albums last year, among them Rilo Kiley's The Execution of All Things, Queens of the Stone Age's Songs for the Deaf, and…
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    Music, Reviewed Sigur Rós

    Sigur Rós

    In the Oct. 3 issue of Rolling Stone, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin named Sigur Rós' 1999 effort, Ágætis Byrjún, to his current top 10 album list, summing up the music with a simple statement: "I don't understand a word, but…
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    Music, Reviewed Low


    Since its inception in 1994, the slocore outfit Low has fashioned music that could easily put listeners to sleep, its spare instrumentation and long-sustained notes begging for a joint and a comfy chair. If those people did succumb to slumber,…
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    Music, Reviewed The Black Heart Procession

    The Black Heart Procession

    Upon first hearing this marriage of band name and album title, many may ask, "Is this some bizarre combination of goth rock and Brazilian tropicalia?" And the answer would be, well, yeah -- and the band has piled even more…
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    Music, Reviewed The Apples in Stereo

    The Apples in Stereo

    Over the years, the Elephant 6 Collective has become a highly drop-able name among the indie rock intelligentsia. So drop-friendly, in fact, that the musical alliance showed up in last fall's Vanity Fair Rock Snob's Dictionary, described thusly: "Loose collection…
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    Music, Reviewed Sleater-Kinney


    Despite what Greil Marcus and other critics might tell you, Sleater-Kinney is not for everyone. With a plethora of articles in the mainstream press, including a 2001 piece in Time that proclaimed the group America's best rock band, you'd think…
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    Music, Reviewed múm


    Bred in a notoriously cold clime, the Icelandic quartet Múm seems like the perfect candidate for making "intelligent dance music" -- that rubric of frosty electronica pioneered by the likes of Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin. But in contrast…
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    Music, Reviewed Deerhoof


    Though Deerhoof's latest release is bereft of brass, the aptly titled Reveille evokes the kind of emotion induced by a bugle call at sunrise: You may appreciate the sentiment, but the jolting nature of the noise leaves you feeling edgy.…
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    Music, Reviewed Thee More Shallows

    Thee More Shallows

    Recorded in a Tenderloin rehearsal studio between midnight and 9 a.m., Thee More Shallows' A History of Sport Fishing dutifully captures the mood of a city stumbling into morning. Whether you're coming down from all-night revelry or a caffeine-stoked cram,…
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    Music, Reviewed Mary Timony

    Mary Timony

    On Mary Timony's first solo effort, Mountains, the former Helium frontperson flitted so far into her enchanted forest that many listeners got lost in the mist. Luckily, on her new album, The Golden Dove, she leaves some bread crumbs to…
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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.'"

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