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Friday, September 4, 2015

How to Get to Hiero Day Without BART

Posted By on Fri, Sep 4, 2015 at 9:50 AM

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BART sucks — let's just get that out there right off the bat. But, in the bay, its pretty much all we've got, so the announced closure of the Transbay BART system (between SF and Oakland) throughout Labor Day Weekend puts a damper on a lot of plans. Especially for music fans who were headed to the delightfully thorough collection of classic and contemporary hip-hop that the Hiero Day 2015 Festival (put on by Oakland's Hieroglyphics crew) has graciously put together for your enjoyment on Monday, Sept. 7. We told you all about it and highlighted some of our picks earlier this week in our Moment of Truth weekly hip-hop column. 


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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

TIDAL Waves and Positive Disruptions: What Gear Pairs With Streaming Services Best?

Posted By on Wed, Aug 12, 2015 at 10:26 AM

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Even if audio streaming services haven’t been in your headphones over the last few months, they’ve undoubtedly been in your newsfeed.

Sure, you might have missed when, in March, Jay-Z and his cadre of photo opportunists (Kanye, Madonna, Jack White, deadmau5, etc.) took to a stage to relaunch the TIDAL service by signing a symbolic “declaration.” And you could have scrolled past Spotify rolling out action-aware “experimental” features (such as time-sensitive playlists and a tempo-morphing running feature). But if you’ve got an iPhone or a Mac and you keep your software up to date, there’s zero chance you missed the launch of Apple Music forced upon you.

Regardless of where you look, there’s more online crosstalk about how to get your music than there are high-profile releases these days. The one-upmanship unfolds unabated as services rush to marry musical content with lifestyle context. It’s so overwhelming that I’ve sat for almost a month on this write-up, trying to find the perfect way to cover the almost daily announcements concisely. And then I accepted the truth: I can’t.

Every streaming service is trying to tempt new users with some form of exclusive material or feature to the point there is no clear winner, and ultimately the loser might be consumers that can’t afford two to three monthly subscriptions to get all their favorite tracks. So let’s just break out the participation medals, summarize some of the better aspects of each service and then do what I do best: talk about gear that will maximize your trial period no matter where you decide to listen (click here if you’d rather skip straight to the accessories).

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Here's Some New Prince Music You Should Know Before His S.F. Shows

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 11:31 AM

Prince
  • Prince

Granted, if you're seeing Prince at one of his four DNA Lounge shows today and tomorrow, you're probably a big fan. But just in case you haven't been keeping up with what the Purple One has been up to lately, here's a very quick roundup of new songs, a new version of an old fave, and a teaser for his suspected new album, Plectrum Electrum. They find Prince in grunge-soaked guitar-slayer mode -- which should be perfect for seeing him in a small club. According to recent setlists, they've also been figuring into his live shows. So check it out.

See also:

* Prince's Seven Most Dickish Moments... And Why We Still Love Him

* Prince To Play Four Intimate Shows at DNA Lounge in April

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Spin Control: The Dos and Don'ts of Landing a Song on KMEL

Posted By on Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 10:00 AM

KMEL assistant program director Kenard "K2" Karter.
  • KMEL assistant program director Kenard "K2" Karter.

If you're a rising local artist, it's not easy to get a song played on KMEL, but it's not impossible -- and your odds are actually better than you might think if you pay attention to the opportunities the station currently offers to the local community.

Having talent is essential, but it's not enough, in and of itself, to guarantee success. And while KMEL is owned by Clear Channel, which parents stations nationwide, assistant program director Kenard Karter says there is plenty more room for local artists to break through on the air.

But there's an etiquette -- a finesse, if you will -- to getting heard. And there are some pitfalls that it would be smart to avoid:

Do make an appointment on Music Monday

Music Monday takes place at the station from 10 a.m. to noon every Monday, and if you secure an appointment in advance, you can actually go there and play your song for staffers. They listen to about 10 new songs per week in person. "There's tons of opportunity," says Karter, who is also on-air from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays as K2.

Your song will most likely be considered for Home Turf, which broadcasts on Fridays at 11 p.m., but tunes that are successful there have a clear shot at moving to the main playlist. Additionally, each week, three songs are chosen to go on the Home Turf home page and get voted on by the public for a chance at being played on the air.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How to Go See Kiss and Motley Crüe Tomorrow Without Feeling Shame

Posted By on Wed, Aug 15, 2012 at 3:30 AM

That's right, folks. Tonight, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, Mountain View's Shoreline Amphitheatre. Tomorrow, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012, the 107.7 the Bone Bash at Concord's Sleep Train Pavilion is playing host to absurdist rock royalty, Kiss, and its even sleazier counterparts, Motley Crüe. Obviously, it will be a spectacle for the ages. But how does one go and bear witness to this riot of ridiculousness without feeling pangs of shame? Here are some things to keep in mind.

You Are No Longer Financially Supporting Near-Death Experiences

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The days when you knew buying a Motley Crüe concert ticket would go in some way to financially supporting their rampant, flagrant, and legendary drug and alcohol abuse are well and truly over. So don't feel bad about

giving them money anymore. There are ex-wives and gaggles of rock

offspring to feed. That means that buying a Motley Crüe ticket now is actually responsible! (Not that we can say the same thing about supporting Kiss. That probably just goes to plastic surgery or something.)

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Friday, August 3, 2012

The Pharcyde's Five-Step Guide To Creating A Classic Hip-Hop Album

Posted By on Fri, Aug 3, 2012 at 3:30 AM

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Twenty years ago, The Pharcyde released a hip-hop classic. Titled Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde, the 16-track album announced to the world the talents of M.C.s Bootie Brown, Fatlip, Imani, and Slimkid 3, plus producer J Swift. With raps that fused a freestyling background with humble and smart songwriting, tracks like "Passin' Me By" and "Ya Mama" quickly became iconic anthems of the era. Now the group has re-banded to perform the project in full at Low End Theory S.F. tomorrow. It seemed like a good excuse to get Slimkid 3 to break down his group's tested method for recording a certified rap classic. Here's his advice:

1. Freestyle To Brainstorm!

We freestyled all the time. We'd run these D.A.T. tapes and we'd freestyle for hours and hours on end. That's where most of the skits came from. It was five guys in a room freestyling to what J Swift is playing, and we'd have J.M.D. on the drum and Quinton just happened to be there. When you freestyle, you talk about what's relevant to your surroundings, so what's relevant was we were ordering food so we can go and record, and, hey, where's Quinton, 'cause he's going to bring over the weed so we can get high. It was the same with "If I Was President." We were going through some hard times, so it was like, "Man, if I was President I would do this and I would do that." I think Romye [Bootie Brown] really hit it on the nose with that one: [Scat raps] "If I was president I would not carry oh no spare change/ I would just rearrange the whole government structure/ 'Cause there seems to be something that's messing with the flucture of the money -- it's not coming to me." And I remember "Pack The Pipe," I don't think I was there when they freestyled it, but the cipher they had going that day was epic.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Singers: Here's How to Advertise Your Celebrity Perfume

Posted By on Wed, Jul 18, 2012 at 8:53 AM

These days, everybody and their back-up dancers has a fragrance out, as if the ability to sing also comes with innate perfumier abilities. For those of you considering a career in pop mega-stardom -- and, therefore, the fragrance business -- here are some tips on how to sell that all-but-inevitable eau de parfum.

Take Something Creepy and Make it Even Creepier

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In her formative years*, trying to make it on the stages of NYC clubs, Lady Gaga was so poverty-stricken that she had to live in a bed-bug-infested warehouse with 17 roommates -- all of them lecherous men. Here, she has combined both of those terrible memories as a means to flog her perfume, Fame. "Buy my perfume," this image pleads. "Don't make me go back there..."

[*Description of formative Gaga years largely fabricated by us for the purposes of trying to understand this image.]  

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Friday, June 22, 2012

New Edition: Learn the Funky Dance Moves Needed for Tomorrow's Show

Posted By on Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Prepare your jazz hands.
  • Prepare your jazz hands.

New Edition performs at Oracle Arena on Saturday, June 23. It's a significantly larger venue than the group's last local appearance at the Paramount Theatre in 2007. And with that capacity increase comes a whole lot more folks who will know the key New Edition dance steps that will still be flawlessly bounding across the stage more than thirty years into this group's career.

However, it could be embarrassing if you're there and don't know this crucial choreography. If you panic, keep the group's basic Motown dance philosophy in mind, and just try illustrating all the lyrics with your hands and feet. If you really want to avoid a panic, though, allow us to be your Debbie Allen for a moment. Master these classic New Edition dance moves, and you'll fit right in on Saturday night.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Top 8 Reasons to Pay for Music, Even If You're Young, Broke, Lazy, and Indifferent

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 12:28 PM

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Over the weekend, NPR intern Emily White raised a stink -- and a very forceful retort from musician David Lowery -- by saying she'd purchased almost no music in her life, even though she considered herself a huge music fan. She meant to illustrate her doubt that young people will ever be convinced to pay for music when virtually all of it can be downloaded for free. Lowery answered her with various facts about the music industry and about how artists (don't) make money, basically giving moral reasons for the purchase of music. Well, we'd like to offer other kinds of reasons -- selfish, image-concerned, semi-factual ones -- why even young, lazy, convenience-obsessed broke people (like us) should spend their money on music, instead of, say, overpriced coffee, iGadgets, and bath salts. Here are eight of them.

8. Because physical album packaging is a cardboard-and-paper universe of wonder.

The packaging and artwork for a piece of music can be almost as iconic as the music itself: When you see a ray of light going into a prism and a rainbow coming out, what do you think of? Even if the art isn't magnificent, the photos, liner notes, credits, and lyrics complete the work. You find all sorts of fascinating things in CD booklets and vinyl lyric sheets. Just yesterday we were going through McCartney II, and found the freaky photos Macca took of himself, in which he was apparently imitating the other members of the Beatles. You don't get new discoveries like that with an illegal download.

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Top 10 Dance Music Albums For People Who Don't Know Shit About Dance Music

Posted By on Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 10:12 AM

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Christoph Kostlin
Paul van Dyk
[Editor's note: Ahead of this weekend's Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas -- of which we'll be bringing you full coverage -- we thought it'd be a good idea to make sure everyone's up to speed on Electronic Dance Music 101. This post comes courtesy of our sister blog in L.A., West Coast Sound. Keep your eyes on All Shook Down throughout this weekend for fresh reports and photos from EDC 2012.]

By ANDY HERMANN

Electronic dance music (you know, EDM) is the hottest thing going right now. But to you, it still all sounds like "oontz, oontz, oontz" -- except Skrillex, who sounds like "wom, wom, wom." Right?

Fear not. You don't have to be a kid yourself to know what the kids are into nowadays. The ten albums below might not convert you into a glowstick-twirling rave monkey, but they will at least help you tell the difference between dubstep and drum 'n' bass, or Chicago house and Detroit techno. Note that while these are great records, this isn't meant to be a definitive "best of" list -- it's just a good entry point for EDM newbies.

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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.'"