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Hip hop's first agitprop supergroup has arrived, and so have four teenage siblings from Texas who play indie pop. Yippee!

Wednesday, Feb 2 2005
In this time of great political peril, the music industry is simply not doing its part. Consider the slew of politically minded documentaries that were released last year, and now try to find their corollaries in the music world. There are very few, until now. Hip hop's first agitprop supergroup in nearly a decade, the Perceptionists are MCs Mr. Lif and Akrobatik and DJ Fakts One. Whether they're criticizing the hypocrisies and inhumanities inherent in our war on terrorism or lamenting the dehumanizing effects of institutionalized conformity in the workplace, the Perceptionists use their music as a platform to confront listeners. While all of the members are talented, the superstar among them is Berkeley-by-way-of-Boston lyricist Mr. Lif: Fifty years ago, the U.S. government imprisoned people for expressing the sort of politically volatile rhetoric that this man spews. But today we can catch him and the rest of the Perceptionists on Thursday, Feb. 3, at the Bottom of the Hill; call 621-4455 or go to for more info. -- Sam Chennault

As the leader of nearly two dozen recordings in the past 20 years, six-string virtuoso Bill Frisell has explored a range of material, from American roots and hybrid world musics to blues-rich jazz traditions and hypnotic solos. But not since his 1995 soundtracks to a trio of Buster Keaton films have his efforts come across with the excitement and adventurousness of his new album with the 858 Quartet (which features violist Eyvind Kang, cellist Hank Roberts, and violinist Jenny Scheinman, a respected S.F. expat now living in NYC), Music of Bill Frisell. Inspired by Gerhard Richter's Abstract Pictures, 1999 -- a series of oil paintings on aluminum and linen now in SFMOMA's permanent collection -- Frisell's compositions and structured improvisations match the blazing colors, visceral textures, and clean (if skewed) lines of the visual art. By transposing the emotional intensity of Richter's vision onto his group's string canvas, if you will, the guitarist has created riveting soundscapes as evocative as their point of origin. Catch Frisell and the 858 Quartet in action on Saturday, Feb. 5, at the Noe Valley Ministry; call 454-5238 or go to for more info. -- Sam Prestianni

Don't hold it against the members of Eisley that they named themselves after a fictional city in Star Wars. This band from Tyler, Texas, is way more indie-cool than its geeky name suggests. Comprised of four DuPree siblings and one family friend, the group started in 1998 when singer Stacy (then just 8 years old) began writing three-chord ditties in her bedroom. Like the Cranberries crossed with a spookier Sixpence None the Richer, Eisley spins moody dream-pop that has yet to break out of the college radio circuit, although mainstream success could be in the band's future thanks to the exposure it received playing Coachella and opening the Coldplay tour a few years back. Plus, teeny-bopper mag YM named Eisley its band of the month last July, probably because Chauntelle has, like, the cutest haircut ever. Eisley's debut full-length, Room Noises, drops Tuesday, Feb. 8, the same day as the group's Slim's show with the Elected and the Colour; call 255-0333 or go to for more info. -- Maya Kroth


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