The Red Flag of the VMAs: Should We Help Miley Cyrus?

08/25/2013

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“What is happening?” That’s what the Smith family was thinking as Miley Cyrus lewdly paraded around in a leotard with a teddy bear face. Many of us, including our posses of stuffed animals, probably felt violated after her VMA performance. Even if you were aware that Cyrus promised a ‘crazier’ show than 2003′s VMA kiss between Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Madonna, you couldn’t have anticipate this (right, Billy Ray?). Before stripping down to nude-colored panties, Cyrus had already stuck her tongue out more frequently than Jordan would have in a 40 minute game, slapped one of her dancer’s ass, and repeatedly gyrated while grabbing her crotch–all while supported by a group of giant teddy bears.

True to her words, Miley’s performance was something beyond Madonna’s. Read More

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Getting “Closer” and Getting Through Outside Lands Day 2 + 3

08/14/2013

Day 2:

I could have never anticipated that while listening to NIN play “Closer,” curiously trying to gauge the crowd’s excitement, I’d look straight into the eyes of a random girl as she sang “I want to fuck you like an animal.” Well it happened–and I’m writing about it because in addition to saying “I saw Paul McCartney,” I can now say I saw NIN and a girl sang to me “I want to fuck you like an animal.” Drops the keyboard and walks away…

Outside Lands always seems to attract musicians five years or more from their pinnacle, and NIN and Jurassic 5 are no exception. Typically, this trip down Nostalgia Lane is short for me, but with the aforementioned performances, it was a pleasant surprise. From “Quality Control” to “Concrete Schoolyard,” I had forgotten how many underground hits Jurassic 5 had. Each track was flawlessly performed, avoiding the sometimes-pitfall of larger hip hop groups that vie for vocal recognition (not sure what that means?). Similarly, while I was never an avid NIN fan, I was quickly taken back to my days as an angsty teenager staring blankly while the world failed to understand the ‘complex’ troubles from all my ‘responsibilities.’ Live, Reznor is clearly a perfectionist. He didn’t fill songs with banter. He played intently, eyes closed with a sneer sometimes crossing his face as he finished singing progressions (as though unknowingly expressing “yes, I just fucking killed that line”).

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Day 1 of Outside Lands Music Festival Review Not About Paul McCartney

08/10/2013

This Day 1 of Outside Lands Music Festival review will not be about Paul McCartney. Okay, well beyond the next two sentences–this overview will not be about the legendary Beatles seventy years old singer because I didn’t have to see him. After thirty minutes of his set,  his sullen cheekbones and pop contrived chord progressions we’re enough for me to get the gist: the man is a legend, but I wasn’t sticking around for “Hey Jude.” By the time he mentioned the “strange smell” (come’on Paul–it’s called ‘marijuana,’ Sajay Gupta was just talking about it on CNN) I was back tracking towards the food trucks.

Because food, wine, micro-beers and the chance to catch some premiering U.K. singers at 3pm on a Friday afternoon is why I attended Day 1 of Outside Lands. With The Heavy and Jessie Ware, fans were treated to a taste of some bigger name bands overseas getting their footing in the U.S. It wasn’t until The Heavy played “How You Like Me Now” the title track from the film The Fighter that the crowd began to bob their heads and dance in acknowledgement “Oh these guys!” But with Jessie Ware the dispersed crowd packed closer in. Her gentle rise to popularity seemed to lift off after A$AP Rocky remixed her “Wildest Moments.” Eager fans were treated to a fun and engaging set, as the singer joked with the crowd between songs and seemed honestly excited by her warm reception. Midway through a song, a beach ball drifted increasingly closer to the stage before being directed away. “I was going to kick that shit,” Ware joked as the song concluded. “I was going to hit it on the beat too!”

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SF Outside Lands Playlist of Bands You Might Not Know

08/08/2013

Outside Lands 2013 – The Lesser Knowns from theSFCritic on 8tracks Radio.

Let’s be honest: You’re going to see Paul McCartney–or at least, you thought about seeing Paul McCartney, but Pretty Lights seem much more Friday!! Maybe you’ll do both. But what about at 12:30 or 3pm, when the festival is just getting under way? Most of us know the headliners, but many of the bands performing earlier in day might be–’new.’ (Other words to describe it might be ‘baffling,’ ‘surprising,’ ‘interesting,’ or ‘not-as-good-as-last-year-at-the-same-time.’)

Don’t fret. We put together a small list of the bands we’d suggest checking out during the early parts of the day. Our favorites, or not to be missed, include Rhye, Jessie Ware, Gary Clark Jr, Ms Mr, and The Heavy. (We’re excited for Friday.)

Who are you excited for?

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King Krule “Easy Easy” Video (Official)

08/07/2013

From the press release:

After recently announcing the forthcoming release of his debut LP last week, King Krule is unveiling his brand new video for the first single “Easy Easy.” Directed by the renowned Focus Creeps (who have also directed acclaimed videos for the likes of Girls, Cold Cave, Arctic Monkeys and more), the video for “Easy Easy” distills the chaotic London backdrop around 18 year old Archy Marshall to offer a dazzling and at times surreal kaleidoscopic vision of contemporary life. But whether he’s in a suit on a rooftop, or roaming around the streets of south east London, Archy remains undoubtedly, immutably himself – a unique, idiosyncratic figure cutting a dash across the modern musical landscape.

The album is scheduled to be released August 24th on True Panther Records/XL Recordings. You can pre-order the album here.

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Listen to This Mixtape–NOW–ft. Nicolas Jaar, Angel Haze and More

08/03/2013

Making playlists to make you dance. Listen to songs featuring Nicolas Jar, A-Trak, Angel Haze and more featured on our “Bumpin’ Playlist” for your Saturday booty shakin’.

Not for the feint of heart. If your ears are sensitive bass (and not in that Skrillex dubstep-orgasmic way), this may not be good for your health. Press play, and enjoy. Read More

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Run the Jewels drops a gem at The Independent

08/01/2013

During last night’s show at The Independent in San Francisco, Run The Jewels dedicated their performance to Oscar Grant and Trayvon Martin. Killer Mike told the predominantly white crowd that it was about “us against them.” The tension immediately swept over the sold out venue, and for obvious reasons. You don’t have to watch the news to know that Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant were victims of serious injustices against African Americans. Both events provoked protests and overwhelming outcry, pushing racial tensions. However, Killer Mike made it clear that his reference to “us against them” was about the people in this country who are attempting to seize control of the rest of us. One might say that his brief explanation of the “us against them” campaign won the fans over. But the fans were already on board with his music well before he graced the stage.

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Photos of The Postal Service Performance at The Greek Theater in Berkeley

07/27/2013

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since Give Up.

Seeming more like a sing along than a concert, The Postal Service led a sold out UC Berkeley Greek Theater through 2003′s masterpiece Give Up. It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade since Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello’s debut (and only) album. According to about 8,500 last night, the material still holds up.

Big Freedia opened the night. Even The Postal Service got into the mix. As they took the stage they manage to put up a decent fight in what looked like a twerk off with the entire Big Freedia crew.)

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