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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, Hear This Hear This

    Hear This

    The Drive-By Truckers are the kind of band that makes big-city sissies wish they'd grown up in the South. And for those who did, the act's music is an authentic representation of the homeland -- full of conflicted charm, heartbreaking…
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    Music, Grumpy Old Punks

    Grumpy Old Punks

    "It's like interviewing three Robin Williams at once," warns Ernst Schoen-Rene. "We have never in the history of our band answered an interview question," seconds Scott Healy. And they don't, really. Over two hours lounging in guitarist/vocalist Schoen-Rene's modest but…
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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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    News, Dog Bites

    Brain Drain

    The last time Dog Bites took an IQ test, we were 4 years old and classified as "gifted." Figuring we had nowhere to go but down, we were always deathly afraid of taking another one. So it was with some…
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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, Funk Soul Brothers

    Funk Soul Brothers

    On a balmy night in August, hordes of vintage scooters -- 100, easily -- line the alley leading to 330 Ritch. Inside the nightclub, a crowd looking alternately like motorcycle-gang members and tight-sweatered hipsters has gathered for the King's Classic…
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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, Fresh Fruit

    Fresh Fruit

    Shouting over one another and a box full of fried chicken, the members of Loquat declare they are presently experiencing some "band drama." That's tough to imagine for a group like this, whose members are already sipping beers at noon…
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    Music, In the Board Room

    In the Board Room

    There was a time not long ago when Lookout! Records was just four desks in a studio apartment. The few purchase orders that trickled in were simply piled in a corner, while the East Bay punk label's no-name bands remained…
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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, Coat Tales

    Coat Tales

    One day in 1998, a small Southern California label called Darla Records got a love letter in the mail. Along with a hand-scrawled note -- written as if intended for a girl named Darla -- came a tape of bizarre,…
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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, Fact or Friction

    Fact or Friction

    Here Are the Facts You Requested received its first piece of fan mail in 1991. The package -- a note and a blurry photograph of its author -- came from a cello-playing high-schooler named Akire Lessey, and though it was…
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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, Chimerical Men

    Chimerical Men

    The Cost's Stephen Loewinsohn lives in an East Bay apartment straight out of Punk 101: The walls are bare, the bathroom is full of CDs, and the living room offers only a minimal amount of furniture. The guitarist looks every…
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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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