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2010 Music Lists

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Top 10 Best Big Concerts I Saw in 2010, with Gaga, Green Day, Sir Paul, Pavement, and LCD Soundsystem

Posted By on Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 11:34 AM

It just didn't seem right to lump in Oracle Arena and HP Pavilion fare with the cozy goings-on at S.F. dens like Bottom of the Hill and even Great American Music Hall. So, in search of an even comparison, I'm breaking it up: Today, here are the best concerts I saw with more than 5,000 of my fellow humans, including festivals; next week, look for a list of the best smaller shows (from theaters on down) I saw in the Year of our Lord, 2010. And we're off:

Gorillaz' Damon Albarn went as a crazed zombie rockstar for Halloween - CHRISTOPHER VICTORIO
  • Christopher Victorio
  • Gorillaz' Damon Albarn went as a crazed zombie rockstar for Halloween
10. Gorillaz @ Oracle Arena
What better time to see a band of imaginary, gremlin-like misfits than Halloween, really, and this was Damon Albarn's once-cartoon cast at the height of its powers, touring behind the still-amazing Plastic Beach with Bobby Womack, Little Dragons, and De La Soul. No Del, but plenty of other musicians, and a big wide, distracting screen on which to watch the cartoon characters. Albarn wore zombie facepaint and hopped like a crazed goblin; the World Series-era crowd was packed with Lincecums and Brian Wilsons, making this one Halloween to remember, indeed.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Best Bay Area Concert Photos of 2010

Posted By on Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Given the dizzying array of musical acts that tramp through San Francisco every year, and the number of those shows our hard-working photographers attend, it was no easy feat to round up their best shots. What follows is a sampling of some of the most exciting, interesting live music photos All Shook Down and SF Weekly captured in 2010, starting with Lady Gaga at the HP Pavilion.

  • Christopher Victorio

X Japan at the Fox Theater

  • Christopher Victorio

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Pitchfork's Best Albums List: What It Got Right, and What It Got Wrong (So Far), in 10 Sentences

Posted By on Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Some music website called Pitchfork is unveiling its list of the year's best albums this week. Since this site and its opinions are marginally important to the music world, and since the whole point of lists is to agree and/or disagree, here's our reaction -- in the form of 10 brief sentences -- to the albums on the list so far. (That's 20 honorable mentions and Nos. 50-21 of the best albums of the year.) We'll continue the glibness tomorrow, when Pitchfork unveils its Top 20 albums of the year. And we'll be posting our own list of the year's best albums next week.

Things We Can Agree On

1. S.F. locals The Fresh & Onlys' Play it Strange (No. 29; "a non-stop hit parade") deserves to be among the best 30 albums of the year.

2. S.F.'s Girls' Broken Dreams Club (No. 22) is (far) superior to Hot Chip's One Life Stand.

3. Grinderman 2 (honorable mention) is ridiculously enjoyable, but certainly not one of the year's 50 best albums.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ten Albums We Dug That Didn't Get Their Due in 2010

Posted By on Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 11:54 AM

A proposition: Finding gems of underdogs far down in the CD pile is way more fun than picking the best of anything. Look around at most Top 10 Albums lists this year, and you'll likely be bored by the (admittedly warranted) sameness. Glaze over at our Top 10 soon (there will be some surprises!) but before that here's something we're really excited about: Records that we heard, that we loved, that aren't going to top any "best" lists but don't deserve to be forgotten just yet. Some of these were praised mightily but didn't catch on; others were unfairly dismissed; still others were barely paid any pixels at all. Ten albums, all good, a few great, not the best, but nonetheless:

The Mynabirds -- What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood (Saddle Creek)
Our status: Obsessed.
Fame profile: Politely praised, largely ignored.
Regarding: Laura Burhenn (formerly of D.C. outfit Georgie James) aimed to start a band that sounded like Neil Young playing Motown; she did so, and appropriately named it after a project the famous Canuck had back in the '60s with a then-unheard-of dude by the name of Rick James. The resulting piano-driven soul grooves are as snappy as you'd hope. Burhenn's whiskey-thickened purrs lend her songs a timeless hue, and her plain-as-day lyrics ("You know that the numbers don't lie/ Two wrongs do not make a right") convey every cliched grain of Real Feeling. The only thing better than Richard Swift's spacious, velvety production on What We Lose is the edge Burhenn and crew give these songs on stage. 
Conclusion: Gorgeous American comfort music.

MP3: The Mynabirds -- "Numbers Don't Lie"

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Top 5 Songs To Help You Survive Christmas Shopping

Posted By on Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 11:49 AM

We feel your pain. We know what's going on. Christmas is bearing down on all of us, and gift-purchasing season is kicking our asses this week. It's the same every year: It creeps up like a post-Thanksgiving death knell, and if we don't submit, our entire family and most of our social circle will despise us for not going out and getting everyone a bunch of awesome shit like they do for us. (But if no one ever gets you anything cool, just disregard this and put your feet up). So, fully aware of the pain of going downtown and trawling for gifts, here's a pile of songs to keep you motivated during this shopping season. They may not be pretty, but they should keep you pumped enough to make it through the end.

5. "Eye Of The Tiger," Survivor

If you can't stay ripped and alert during this opening riff, your soul is black and your heart is dead. Picture yourself, fresh and alert and moderately sweaty, emerging from Powell Street Bart, listening to this, wearing a beret and walking with purpose in cripplingly tight jeans, through bathroom warehouses, ready to take on the shopping gods like Survivor in this video. Be careful not to get too hyped though - we don't sanction any smacking of shop assistants, Rocky-style (even if you really want to), regardless of how perky they are during this holiday season. And if the music fails, find comfort in the fact that this video was filmed in North Beach. Didn't you hear? North Beach is tough, yo!

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Monday, December 6, 2010

The Top 5 Most Absurdly Entertaining Songs About Actors

Posted By on Mon, Dec 6, 2010 at 11:14 AM

Seen any good movies lately? You probably have. We haven't, though. Because we've been too busy this week laughing our own faces off at a variety of songs about the stars of stage and screen. Here's a countdown of our favorites. Behold! A bunch of stuff we'd almost forgotten about!

5. Bananarama, "Robert De Niro's Waiting"

So the general crux of this song seems to be that the best way to cure yourself of thoughts of paranoia and hyper-sensitivity is to go home and watch a Robert De Niro movie. Um... What De Niro movies were these ladies watching in 1984, exactly? The Deer Hunter, perhaps? Raging Bull? Taxi Driver, maybe? It's not a course of therapy we'd recommend unless you want to be kept awake all night by thoughts of mirror-play with Travis Bickle and a round of Russian Roulette with ol' creepy chops, Christopher Walken. Bananarama would've had a much better time eating their cardboard pizza in front of Splash, we reckon.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Five Songs So Distasteful They Make Us Want To Puke in Our Mouths

Posted By on Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Last night a new reality show premiered on E! called "Bridalplasty." That's right, "Bridalplasty" - twelve vaguely psychotic (and clearly morbidly insecure) women competing for their dream wedding, and -- good god, we can't believe this is actually happening -- the plastic surgery of their choice. It's hard to know where to go from here, because that sound you just heard was society and/or television hitting rock bottom. We were trying to think of other TV shows that make us want to do some sick in our mouths as much as this one, but it was hard -- so instead we came up with some songs that do the same thing. Prepare to have that bad taste linger on a little longer.

5. "She Wolf," Shakira

So here's Shakira wandering through what we can only assume is a bedazzled vagina, pretending to be a very, very bendy dog and then attempting to put on a one-woman Folsom Street Fair (we get it, love, your S.F. skyline backdrop didn't escape us). Shame on you, Shakira. If you were really a massive masochist, your cage wouldn't be all gold and shiny like that -- you'd be doing that weird my-butt-is-controlling-the-rest-of-me dance in a filthy kennel. And it wouldn't be on a roof in front of Coit Tower either -- it'd be in the corner of a dirty SOMA motel room. Either way, your limbs are creeping us out. Put some pants on, woman!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Six Best Heartbreaking Lyrics on Girls' Broken Dreams Club EP

Posted By on Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 11:03 AM


Broken Dreams Club is the typically anguished title of the latest record (out today!) from San Francisco's Girls -- a six-song, 35-minute EP that polishes the edges and trims the hedges from the achy vintage rock of the group's lauded 2009 debut. On the new songs -- which are actually older Girls tunes and live staples that were only recently recorded -- frontman Christopher Owens gets even better at putting feeling (almost always sadness) into words. We're struck by the effective simplicity of his lyrics -- the emotional penetration he packs into a few basic lines. (Something that Owens has told us is a major goal of his.) Here, then, are what  stand as the six best heartbreaking lines of this new Girls record:

6. "You're the love of my life/ But you're driving me completely insane" -- from "Alright." You only know it's the love of your life when they're capable of driving you completely insane. And that doesn't make it any easier.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

How To Survive Thanksgiving: A Guide in 7 Songs

Posted By on Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Dear turkeys, we're sorry. Seriously. This is a really bad time of the year for you guys and we feel terrible about not being able to really do anything about your plight and everything. But hey, everyone else, we know you're also having a stressful time of it (what with dealing with your family and all) so we've devised a seven-song list to help you survive this most American of holidays. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! (Did we mention we're sorry about the turkeys?)

1. "I Like Food," The Descendents

So here it is. Thanksgiving. Cooking. Stupid, stupid cooking that you're having to do for, like, a million people. It's time-consuming, soul-destroying, and sweat-inducing. So, in the interests of keeping this as painless as possible, we'd like to suggest that all food-preparation be done while listening to this 18-second song by The Descendents on repeat, because it will make you move really, really fast and not waste all goddamn day basting a mother-effing turkey that no one will care about because they're already drunk.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Five Songs That Haven't Offended You Yet

Posted By on Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 10:40 AM

Take the sex and drugs out of rock 'n' roll, and much of what remains is tour stories and censorship. Instances of the latter date from rock's Brylcreem beginnings in the 1950s, forming part of a long bellow of outrage over America's popular culture by the more backward and fearful elements of our poltroonish polity. Everyone's heard how Elvis Presley's hips shook America to its moral foundations, and almost as many know the FBI kept a file on "Louie, Louie." But, let's face it -- few have the time or leisure to get offended by every passing gaucherie, Satanic come-on, or backward-masked Bolshevism in popular music, and there's a chance one or two of you actually missed a few. So, in the spirit of pro bono publico, here is a list of songs with lyrics proven offensive by experts at being offended.

1. "Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)" by W.A.S.P.
Though the title of this track off these L.A. glam monkeys' eponymous 1983 debut was itself prurient enough to land it a spot on the Parents Music Resource Center's "Filthy Fifteen," lyrics like "I'll nail your ass to the sheets/ A pelvic thrust and the sweat starts to sting ya/ I fuck like a beast" doubtless gave PMRC's Tipper (Al's wife) Gore a worse fit of vapors. Sadly, few other songs on the Fifteen meet this platinum standard for filth, with "She Bop" by Cyndi Lauper and "In My House" by the Mary Jane Girls sounding more like church music.

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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.'"