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Sizzle and Fizzle: Highs and Lows from the Last Week in S.F. Music 

Wednesday, Jul 9 2014


For a festival built on nostalgia — for garage rock, girl pop, and hardcore punk — the crowd at Oakland's Burger Boogaloo was remarkably focused on the present. There was none of the usual obsessive phone-holding we've come to expect at music festivals. Even watching twentysomethings get down to Ronnie Spector felt like a celebration of right now, not 1964. It was a refreshing change.

On records, Deafheaven's music can seem very personal, even isolating. Onstage at Great American Music Hall, though, the quickly rising S.F. black metal band led a mass catharsis, with singer George Clarke surrendering himself to the churning crowd. The performance was so overwhelming that clapping felt like an inadequate response.

One of our favorite new local events, the Bay Area Record Fair, is throwing a second edition on Sept. 27. The all-day event at Thee Parkside will bring more than 30 local labels, like Flenser, Castle Face, and Fat Wreck, out to ply their records. There'll also be live music, raffles, and day-drinking, of course.


We talked with Hannah Lew, leader of Cold Beat and a member of Grass Widow, about her anti-gentrification compilation, San Francisco Is Doomed. "I wanted to have an outlet for people to talk about what is going on," she says. "We're not going to make the rent go down or anything, but at least we can be part of the conversation."

Pioneering S.F. hippie Stephen Gaskin died last week at age 79. Though best known for leading Tennessee commune the Farm, Gaskin also founded the Farm Band, an overlooked part of psychedelic music's heyday. Though its songs were hit-and-miss, spanning various styles as they became popular, the Farm Band remains an important overlooked part of Bay Area history.

ABC just launched another singing competition show, Rising Stars, which features Kesha, Ludacris, Brad Paisley, and Josh Groban as judges. Let us warn you: It's terrible. The concept is tired, the judges have no chemistry, the rules are convoluted, and — worst of all — the show is somehow managing to ruin Kesha for us.

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