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Monday, May 11, 2015

Prince Debuts New Song "Baltimore," Plays Baltimore Concert

Posted By on Mon, May 11, 2015 at 11:08 AM

Prince released a new song about the unrest in Baltimore, as promised, over the weekend.

Starting the song off with the Ice Cube reference, "Nobody got in nobody's way / so I guess you could say it was a good day" and ending it with an audio clip of a radio announcer reporting on the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Prince is clearly drawing a parallel between the unrest in Baltimore and the L.A. riots. Perhaps he's also trying to show how pervasive and alive institutional racism still is (more than 20 years have passed since the LA riots, but here we are).

The song itself is a light, bouncy, guitar-driven track. Prince's vocals provide a smooth forefront to the tracks protest-styled "If there ain't no justice then there ain't no peace" chants. There's a soothing vocal assist from Eryn Allen Kane, who harmonizes with perfectly with The Purple One.

The song must be personal to Prince, since he decided to re-record every instrument himself at the last minute. Or maybe he's just a micro manager — who knows?

The lyrics also contain a plea for more gun control laws with lines like, "We're tired of the crying / the people dying / let's take all the guns away."
Prince performed the song at an emotional Baltimore concert over the weekend.

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

SF Supervisors Pass Legislation to Protect Music Venues

Posted By on Thu, May 7, 2015 at 9:53 AM

San Francisco's music venues won a major battle in the noise wars, Tuesday.

The city's supervisors successfully passed legislation to help protect San Francisco music venues from noise complaints. The venues, mostly situated in mixed-use neighborhoods, have made San Francisco a hub for live music for the last 150 years. The recent increase in condos being built around the venues has kicked off a noise ordinance war between new residents and raucous venues.

As SF Weekly writer Gary Moskowitz recently reported in an in-depth cover story, Supervisor London Breed has been on the forefront of protecting venues. Breed's legislation, passed Tuesday, aims to prevent noise disputes by improving relationships between venues and neighbors, and working more closely with developers who are building new residential properties close to music venues. The legislation helps prevent venues from being shut down if they are operating within city entertainment permits, requires developers to work with venues before they begin construction, and ensures that all potential tenants of a new development know about local entertainment venues before they move in. It also asks developers to include sound attenuation specifics in their development plans for new housing.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Sounds of Pop/Sounds of Protest: A Conversation with Greil Marcus and Gina Arnold

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 5:34 PM

Students at the University of San Francisco were treated to an engaging discussion yesterday between music journalist and author Gina Arnold and revered cultural critic Greil Marcus on the sounds of pop music and protest. Hosted inside a classroom but open to the pubic, the event celebrated the life and work of USF Media Studies professor (and SF Weekly writer) Andrew Goodwin

The two music minds explored various topics relating to the idea of art as more than just entertainment, but an instrument for political action. The duo discussed the racial connotations of Pussy Riot dramatizing Eric Garner's death in its "I Can't Breathe" video at length, and questioned whether using music to react to single incidents was more or less effective than vague lyrics critiquing larger issues.

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Run the Jewels' Killer Mike on MLK: "He was a Revolutionary"

Posted By on Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 4:01 PM


There’s a different tone to MLK Day 2015 than that of recent years. Our country is reeling in the wake of highly controversial cases of police brutality across the nation, while mass protests take over highways to demand basic concessions — like a justice system that values human rights.

This is a tumultuous time for America, and the memory of Dr. King, a freedom fighter of the highest order, is omnipresent today. In ever-so-eloquent fashion, Killer Mike (one half of Run The Jewels) wrote an op-ed to shed light on what Dr. King’s legacy means to him and how we, as citizens of America, can make sense of his teachings today.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

5 Bay Area Artists Whose Tours Have Been Disrupted By Sandy

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Sandy is disrupting pretty much everything on the East Coast -- including the plans of Bay Area artists who have shows scheduled there. Granted, canceled concerts aren't the worst problem in the world, with dozens reported dead and NYC subway tunnels still flooded, but they're worth noting. Especially for smaller West Coast artists, whose long-anticipated appearances in big cities like New York are a very big deal. Here are five local musicians whose tour plans have been screwed up by the superstorm.

Aesop Rock, in sunnier times.
  • Aesop Rock, in sunnier times.

Aesop Rock

S.F. rapper Aesop Rock decided to cancel the remaining dates on his East Coast tour, which was about to swing up from North Carolina to Connecticut. He canceled six show in all. "We don't know if we could make it to the cities, or make it out, or if y'all could make it to the shows," notes a release on the Rhymesayers website. "As is - some of us can't get home"

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Don't Blame Heavy Metal For Alleged Baltimore Shooter Bobby Gladden

Posted By on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 1:20 PM


Bobby Gladden's Facebook photo
  • Bobby Gladden's Facebook photo
On the alleged 15-year-old Baltimore shooter's Facebook page, only one unobscured face looks out at the visitor: Rammstein singer Till Lindemann's. Meanwhile, Bobby Gladden's own face is obscured by a sheaf of black hair.

Gladden was arrested Monday after allegedly opening fire in the lunchroom at Perry Hall High School. Police say he critically injured a fellow student, Daniel Borowy, before guidance counselor Jesse Wasmer tackled Gladden and took the gun away.

It wasn't long before press caught wind of the fact that Gladden considers himself a metalhead. "Teenager who allegedly opened fire in Baltimore area high school was heavy metal misfit," claimed the New York Daily News. Even the relatively objective NBC noted Gladden's love of Rammstein and Slipknot one sentence before alleging that he was bullied, suggesting the spurious chain of causation endemic to coverage of teen shootings.

We've been down this road before. After the Columbine High School shootings in April 1999, media jumped quickly on a portrait of the shooters as outcast goths who listened to Marilyn Manson. Things didn't improve when reporters discovered Eric Harris' love of heavy German bands, including Rammstein. It wasn't until much later that Harris was revealed as a psychopath -- a much more likely explanation for the shootings.

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Journey's Show Outside Republican Convention Is a Paying Gig, Not a Political Statement

Posted By on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 8:59 AM

Journey in 2008, via Wikipedia
  • Journey in 2008, via Wikipedia

We know they (publicly) frown on pot, gay sex, arugula, elite education, and public transportation, but apparently there is one thing from San Francisco Republicans will pay to enjoy: The Band That Sings "Don't Stop Believing," aka, Journey.

The '70s power-rockers, still famous for their inescapable karaoke anthem, will be paid $500,000 to perform at an off-site fundraiser near the Republican National Convention, numerous sources are reporting today. Other RNC performers include Kid Rock -- whose "Born Free" has become a Mitt Romney campaign song -- Dave Navarro, Zac Brown, 3 Doors Down, and Taylor Hicks.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pussy Riot Trial: A Worldwide Outrage, Thanks to the Internet

Posted By on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 8:40 AM

Pussy Riot in Moscow. - FLICKR/CATCUSBONES

Three members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot, having been sentenced to two years' hard labor for the crime of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" have seemingly lost their battle for free speech against President Vladimir Putin's regressive regime. Their crime: performing an anti-Putin "Punk Prayer" in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Though there is still an appeals process in effect, and the US State Department officially issued this statement last Friday, it's looking likely that Pussy Riot will do time. Despite the best efforts of Amnesty International and a concerned international populace, the fight to free Pussy Riot so far has failed.

But is their own freedom of speech all that they fight for? Hardly. In a day and age where Western egalitarianism is increasingly viewed as the norm, one galvanizing issue of the Pussy Riot trial was the means by which it came to the world's attention -- the social Internet -- and how online dynamics so quickly and forcefully subverted the story told by the Russian government. In the face of Putin's obsession with maintaining the general complacency of his nation's populace, the Internet practically screamed.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

This "Game On" Song Supporting Rick Santorum Is a Comedy of Horrors

Posted By on Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 3:13 PM

"...There will be justice for the unborn/ Factories back on our shores..."
  • "...There will be justice for the unborn/ Factories back on our shores..."

Say what you will about Obama -- it is impossible to imagine the current president inspiring a song as terrifically awful as "Game On," which this Oklahoma group called First Love just released supporting the candidacy of Mr. Rogers' evil twin, Rick Santorum.

From the first line ("We've finally got a man who will stand for what is right") to the second ("We've got a man who understands that God gave the Bill of Rights") to the third ("Oh, there is hope for our nation again/ maybe the first time since we had Ronald Reagan"), "Game On" comes across like a cruel parody, or a bad joke. It can't be real, you think. Surely, this was penned by a cynical New Yorker with ties to Saturday Night Live, trying to make Santorum supporters look facile.

But no. It actually appears to be a cheerful, sincere song sung by a pair of Tulsa ladies endorsing a grinning bigot who wants to force his medieval values on their vaginas and the entire country. But they're so damn happy about it. They want you to stand up, and sing, people! Hope is here! Rick Santorum is running to save the world, return white males to their rightful position of omnipotence, and ensure that the nation's women are left free to cook, procreate, and write dopey folk songs!

View this terrifying glimpse of our eight-children-per-family future (and read its entire lyrics) after the jump.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Boots Riley: Oakland General Strike Is "Like Us Flashing Our Guns"

Posted By on Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 5:00 AM

Boots Riley at Occupy Oakland - VIA EKA PHOTOGRAPHY
  • via EKA Photography
  • Boots Riley at Occupy Oakland

The Occupy movement doesn't have a leader, but Oakland activist-rapper Boots Riley is serving as one sort of de facto spokesman for his hometown's defiant occupation, lending the collective grievances a high-profile voice.

Inspired by public gatherings in Greece and Spain, the self-described "outspoken Communist" visited Occupy Wall Street in September, went to Occupy Oakland on its first day, and performed there on the protest's fourth day. Last week, when crowds marched to retake Oscar Grant plaza after being kicked out, Riley was there with them. And today, as the Occupy movement attempts to shut down Oakland in a rare "general strike," Boots Riley will be out marching again.

"This is just a warning," he says of the strike, "like us flashing our guns and saying, 'This is the power that we have.' We're going to shut the city down, we're going to close the port, and from there, we're moving on."

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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.'"