Fuckboys Beware, Run The Jewels Duo Killer Mike and El-P Recently Dropped Their Sophomore Album RTJ2 and it’s Exactly What Hip Hop Needed


RTJ2 is grown up gangster rap. These men give a damn and make indifference look embarrassing. They muse over politics and power with verses that are refreshingly original. The album is blunt and goes straight for the throat. In “Close Your Eyes (and Count to Fuck),” they place themselves on the inmate side of a prison riot; defending violence as a natural reaction to police brutality. Killer Mike spits, “even if some good ones die, fuck the lord will sort em” with no apologies.

The album was released simultaneously with Tag The Jewels, a street art initiative. Over thirty artists around the world created their interpretation of the album artwork, reinforcing a culture behind the music.

It’s no surprise that RTJ2 has a song dedicated to getting filthy in the bedroom. What is shocking is that it’s strangely progressive. “Love Again (Akinyele Back)” features the hook “dick in her mouth, dick in her mouth all day.” It’s seemingly conventional until Gangsta Boo’s verse tips the sexual power scale and flips the track into a feminist anthem; something unique in a hyper-masculine hip hop world. Read More


High on Harmonies from a Tim & Nicki Bluhm and Scott Law House Concert


Sunday night, in an intimate KC Turner House Concert set at the doorstep of the grand Pacific, Tim & Nicki Bluhm along with friend Scott Law filled about fifty people with true blue delight. The show was not mystical, not heavy, not wound up in too many emotions. It was the lighter side of Americana — a good time, a couple of acoustic guitars, crazy tight and beautiful harmonies, and unfalteringly great musicianship as the trio wandered through a setlist drawing not only their own tunes but some well-placed covers as well. File under: Americana, blues, bluegrass, renegade or classic country, with hints of CSNY-styled classic rock.

There was also free beer. Thanks to Sierra Nevada, two coolers full of Pale Ale cans were nestled in the kitchen waiting for us all. “Lotta problems go away with free beer,” said Tim. “Lotta problems start with free beer,” said Nicki. Read More


Giveaway: Tickets to Slick Rick w/ DJs Supreme & Pos Red at Public Works November 14th!


From Beowulf to Breaking Bad, well-told stories have always had the ability to capture our imaginations, and among the great storytellers there are few with as much style as Slick Rick. With a voice as distinct as his signature eye-patch, Slick Rick has remained a prominent figure on the hip-hop scene for more than three decades. He is a certified rap legend. Rick the Ruler has decided to grace San Francisco with his presence, and he will be sharing his tales of the streets at Public Works on Friday the 14th (Tickets). Besides bringing enough gold chains to concern any chiropractor, he will bring the charisma of the best storyteller in hip-hop, so it will not be a show to miss. Joining Slick Rick are DJs Supreme and Pos Red. To make sure you can see it in person we are teaming up with Public Works to put a pair of tickets in your pocket. Enter below and good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway Read More


The Stone Foxes @ The Chapel


The French Cassettes had the job of warming the crowd up on Saturday for the second night of The Stone Foxes residency at The Chapel, in San Francisco. This was not a problem for them as they came equipped with their fresh-faced and danceable brand of indie pop. Catchy tracks with tasty rhythms, like “We Were Fun,” got the crowd moving quickly. They gave way to Annie Girl and The Flight who took the stage and created a hypnotic concoction of velvety vocals, and fuzzed out guitar riffs that fully captured the audience’s attention for the main event.

The Stone Foxes brought all the warmth of a family reunion to their hometown audience, but without the cheek pinching and mysterious casseroles. The whole thing felt like one big rocked out celebration. They came out the gate with the irresistible single “Psycho,” then launched into two new tracks from the forthcoming album, Twelve Spells. The Foxes performance of “It Aint Nothin’” was so tight and funky, that you would never guess the band had just released the song a day prior as part of their #FoxesFirstFriday’s campaign, in which they’re releasing one track from Twelve Spells  on the first Friday of each month for a year. Read More


Deafheaven Orchestrates Beautiful Chaos at The Chapel


The Converse Rubber Tracks Live tour commenced with a bang at The Chapel Wednesday night. San Francisco’s Deafheaven is headlining the five stop tour that will span the month of November. I had the pleasure of chatting with Deafheaven vocalist George Clarke before the show Wednesday. He was thrilled to be working with Converse … and extra stoked that he got to hand pick all the tour’s opening bands. If you snag one of the free tickets to this tour, you’re in for a treat.

This was the band’s first time playing at the Chapel, and the small venue hosted a sold out crowd eager to feast upon the energy that is expected of a Deafheaven performance. As the guys took the stage, Clarke summoned the mass of fans up to the front. Their set began with “Dream House,” and Clarke’s passion and ferociousness were showcased right from the first note, sustained through a series of equipment malfunctions that led to the bass and guitar cutting out, and only disappearing when the band left the stage after a killer performance of their closing song, “Unrequited.”

The fans at the front of the stage were screaming every lyric of every song, including their newest single, “From the Kettle Onto the Coil,” although it was difficult to hear Clarke’s crisp vocals due to unfortunate sound mixing. Read More

magicman_ photo credit Gavin Thomas

Giveaway: Win 2 Tickets to Dance Your Head Off To Synth Rockers Magic Man and Smallpools at Sold Out Nov. 20th Show


We are teaming up with Columbia Records to hook one of our readers up with a free pair or tickets to Magic Man supporting Smallpools Thursday November 20th at The Independent. Based out of Boston, the five piece synth rock band has been generating a ton of buzz with their debut album Before The Waves. Their single “Paris” has been all over the radio this summer as they toured with Panic! At The Disco and Walk The Moon.

Now Magic Man is touring with Smallpools and stopping at The Independent for a sold-out, high-energy dance party. We want you to experience it for yourself with a pair of free tickets! Good luck! Enter here for your chance to win! a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Scotland’s Finest: The Twilight Sad & We Were Promised Jetpacks @ Bimbo’s


On Tuesday, the historic Bimbo’s 365 Club in North Beach hosted a dynamic double-shot of live music, with Scottish bands The Twilight Sad and We Were Promised Jetpacks filling the dark room with their distinct brands of affecting indie rock.

First up was The Twilight Sad. You know that paralyzing feeling you struggle with when you’re stuck under the blanket with an intense fever and the chills at the same time? If you could just take a hot shower, you might feel better, but the bathroom seems so. far. away. and the hallway is just. so. cold.

Occasionally, there comes a moment where you stop shaking, your temperature regulates ever-so-slightly, and you feel a splinter of strength- just enough to pry you from the fetal position, ease your death grip on the comforter, and pull yourself out of bed. You’re not better, you’re just strong enough to move and hopeful it lasts. It’s during that delicate moment of fragility, threatening to recoil sharply into freezing paralysis at any second, in which The Twilight Sad’s newest record Nobody Wants to be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave seems to have been recorded. And the live translation is spot-on.

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All Them Witches Conjur the Ageless Musical Mystic @ the Hemlock


Two toms, one wide, shining, brass splash and a high hat, and a stout little kick drum with a hand drawn pattern sit at the back of the short stage. Stage left: a Rhodes piano that must be the first Rhodes. It must be, with that ancient aura and tattered paint. And what the hell is that bass he’s playing up front? Also ancient, also possessed of its own karma. Stage right, a sunburst breaks through probably four decades on the face of a Les Paul pulling down mightily on its player’s narrow shoulders, while behind stands a speaker cabinet covered in Grandma’s old couch. But on all of the players’ faces: youth’s supple skin, in stark contrast. This discord is quickly righted, however, and within minutes it’s clear they are mere conduits channeling the ageless mysticism of music as they launch into a set that is either one or nine songs long. This is All Them Witches.

The first song, “Jam,” was a summoning, immediately attaining 60% head bob from the packed-for-a-Tuesday back room of the Hemlock. Clear David Gilmore-esque guitar tones cut through distorted ambient noise, as dynamic changes waxed and waned straight into the second song, “Mountain.” This is where I started to realize how good this was going to be.

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Tinariwen Heats Up The Chapel


Don’t you love when a song makes you feel as though you’ve been physically transported to another place? You can surf Malibu with The Beach Boys or fly to the moon and back with Pink Floyd, all without leaving the comfort of your couch. Add another to the list: watching Tuareg blues-folk band Tinariwen play The Chapel last Monday in support of their excellent new album Emmaar felt like wandering barefoot across the Sahara with a group of guitar-slinging sonic nomads. Armed with four electric guitars, a bass, two single drums, and seven incredible voices, they took us on a journey of their homeland in 90 minutes flat.
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Shadow Boxer Photography

SFCritic Road Trip: Humboldt County Pops Off with Halloween Special; Talib Kweli and Lyrics Born Rock Intimate Venue


After weeks of anticipation, a charged Humboldt County donned their most eccentric Halloween garb and partied down with hip-hop icon Lyrics Born and the already-legendary conscious rapper, Talib Kweli. I’d been looking forward to this event for weeks, curious to explore the music scene in such a unique pocket of NorCal. Friday’s show did nothing but obliterate any reservations I had about Arcata’s ability to get down. If you’ve yet to experience a show in Humboldt, get there as fast as you can.

What made this sold out show so memorable was the opportunity to see such phenomenal sets featured in an intimate, and uniquely personal venue. Portuguese Hall, an antiquated building established in 1916, essentially serves Humboldt as a modest community center. Old wooden beams lined the ceilings, adorned by slanted dusty chandeliers, giving it this down-home, almost archaic character. Meanwhile, speakers blasted and masses bounced in unison, devouring up familiar freestyles. Amongst the crowd were wildly festive hill-dwellers and city kids, dressed as everything from erotic unicorns, to spirit animals and Jedi masters, all hyped and prepared to rage. Read More

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