I’m Rick James B*tch! Win 2 Tickets to See Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe Channel Rick James


SFCritic is lucky enough to offer you and one of your “super-freakiest” friends tickets to check Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe with The Very Jane Girls Friday August 8th at the world famous Fillmore.

Those of you who don’t compete in a fantasy saxophone league may be unaware of Karl Denson, but the initiated know him as a jazz and funk saxophone/vocals legend. And if that doesn’t sell you, he also plays a mean flute. Read More


CYMBALS Makes SF Debut With High Energy Set at Rickshaw Stop


Wednesday night we were treated to, UK based, CYMBALS’ first ever stop in SF at RickShaw Stop. While the crowd may have been a bit hesitant, as the Wednesday crowd often is, vocalist and guitarist Jack Cleverly looked to get the crowd going early by immediately hoping off the stage and preforming the beginning of “The End” amongst the fans. As he put it, “…might be Wednesday out there, but we are in here.”

Usually billed as a four-piece, they appeared as a trio dropping a dedicated bassist for the show. Cleverly was joined by Luke Carson, on keys and bass, and drummer, Neil Gillespie. The group played a mix of upbeat dance rock, mixed with darker, more brooding songs like “Winter ’98.” The reverb on the guitar was cranked in that very 80s, drawn-out style that hung in the air after each pluck. Add the pounding drums, synth and keyboard and you got a very rich sound. Every song was a jam, with some pushing the seven or even eight minute mark. You could compare CYMBALS to LCD Soundsystem, Duran Duran or New Order depending upon which song you were hearing at that moment.  Read More


Win Tickets to See Real Estate at The Fillmore


Catch New Jersey chillwavers, Real Estate, perform their latest LP, Atlas, at The Fillmore next Friday and Saturday. Following up their SFCritic favorite albumDays (2011)the group kicks off their US tour here for two nights.

You can win a pair of tickets to see them Friday night (Aug. 1st) by entering below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We’ll email the winner next Thursday, so hang tight. Below you’ll find their single, “Talking Backwards” as well as their additional tour dates if you can’t catch’em in SF.
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Outside Lands Announces 2014 Schedule & Playlist


With the announcement of yesterday’s Outside Lands schedule I can now officially state that I’m more excited than a fat kid at a cake factory. As of today there are 16 days until the party begins. Fortunately, this year’s line up doesn’t have me doing a lot of running around to see my favorite bands.

Build your dream OSL schedule here. 

Friday in particular, I’ll be at the Land’s End stage all damn day. Besides sneaking away for a moment early in the day to check out Phosphorescent at the Sutro stage, I’ll be camping out, waiting for Kanye West. I saw his Yeezus tour in Oakland last October, and I wouldn’t dare miss him perform again.

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Photos: Craft Spells Unleash New Album on Sold Out Crowd at The Chapel


Last Thursday, we had the pleasure of checking out Craft Spells fresh off the release of the new album Nausea. With Nausea, an odd name for an eccentric album, Craft Spells has definitely matured technically since 2011′s praised album Idle Labor. The often surf-like guitar is bolder, drums replace drum machines, and the synth and keyboard melodies are stronger, especially in songs like “Breaking the Angle Against the Tide,” and “Komorebi.” The vocals are discounted and are often delivered monotone in a style some might called “bummer rock.” The overall experience is a musical journey that keeps you guessing at what’s next. Read More

The Tropics

The Tropics Show Why They’re One of SF’s Most Promising Young Pop Acts


Last Wednesday, local act The Tropics sent a bolt of lightning through the chapel in their opening set for the extremely talented Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas. The Tropics, a five piece act, are a band that several of us here at SFCritic took notice of with the release of the group’s first single “Sleepless.” Playing a blend of folk rock and pop, the group is highlighted by smooth and haunting lyrics from singer Claire George. A firm bass line and looping guitar and keys provide the perfect architecture for George’s voice, which often transcends lyrical delivery to become an instrument of its own.

Going into the show, I knew I liked the sound of “Sleepless,” but I was a little nervous about the overall show, because it’s their only song currently available. Thankfully, the tropics easily exceeded my expectations and surprised me with a well-developed catalogue of music and refined stage presence.

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Why I Said Yes to Proposition Chicken at Outside Land’s Summer Pairings


We’re weeks away from Outside Lands Music Festival (August 8th-10th), but we’ve already gotten a taste. This past Wednesday Proposition Chicken (1750 Market) hosted the second of the festival’s Summer Pairings, a Bay Area pop-up food and music series. Guests were treated to a four-course dinner and a chef-curated musical playlist of the festival’s lineup, along with beer pairings by Firestone Walker Brewing Company.

Proposition Chicken, from the owners of Hayes Valley’s Straw, is led by husband and wife duo, Maura and Ari Feingold. Unlike the couple’s kooky, carnival themed restaurant, Ari explains that Proposition Chicken is themeless. But he’s selling himself short. Dinner consisted of a kale salad, matzo ball soup, either fried or roasted chicken and a chocolate popsicle egg that Ari says is his attempt at a Cadbury Creme Egg. It’s comfort food. It’s your mother’s Friday night Shabbat (minus the Easter candy). When I took a bite of the soup, Disclosure’s “Help Me Lose My Mind” prophetically playing in the background, I became Anton Ego, the esteemed food critic in Pixar’s Ratatouille, sent instantly back to childhood memories. It was that good. I told Ari my step-mother would be jealous, and internally, wondered if she’d think I’ve betrayed her.

Four years ago the city debated the benefits of this “noisy” and “overcrowded” festival, but today that seems silly now. Thanks to the Outside Lands’ Summer Pairing series, I’ve discovered a new family run business in San Francisco. With hundreds of featured Bay Area restaurants, artists and vendors alike, the festival not only provides attendees a way to discover new musicians, but also the city’s other cultural offerings.

The final Summer Pairing will take place Tuesday, July 29th at the Beast and the Hare (1001 Guerrero) in the Mission. The dinner centers around a rather intriguing, worldly pairing: Italian delicacies such as charcuterie, offal, and grilled meats served alongside Japanese-style rice wine from Portland purveyor SakéOne. To purchase tickets, go here.

For a refresher on Outside Lands’ lineup, check out why we can’t wait. Also, we’d love to hear what you’re most excited to try or hear at Outside Lands this year.


Wolves In The Throne Room @ Slim’s (Live Preview)


The Olympia, Washington black metal band Wolves In The Throne Room is currently on a Summer west coast tour for their new album Celestite and will be at Slim’s on Thursday July 17th.  Though the music of brothers Aaron and Nathan Weaver checks all the genre’s boxes — heavily distorted flying-V guitars, long unkept hair, and Scandinavian influences — Wolves have also gained a dedicated following by breaking the mold.  You won’t see these guys in corpse paint, or leading Satanic prayers, and moshing and flash photography are frowned upon for their audiences.  WITTR’s music is about more than aggression.   Between the shrieking and bass drum sixteenth notes, the music has a strong foundation in Washington’s natural beauty, as evidenced by the band’s arboreal album art and tendency to go glacially minimalist.  They’ve been described as “eco-metal” and “astral black metal.”

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Basement Jaxx Fires Up Public Works


On Saturday, SF was treated to a rare sold-out DJ set at Public Works by London’s original cheeky house monkeys, Basement Jaxx (Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe). They’re releasing their first record in five years, called Junto, on August 25th, and we were lucky enough to catch one of only four appearances nationwide on this run.

Basement Jaxx are well-known for their risk-taking eclecticism and sense of humor, qualities often sorely missed in electronic music. In any given song, you’re bound to hear an army of bongo drums, goofy vocal repetitions, handclaps, and maybe even diva, Lisa Kekaula, belting out the last proud goodbye of a spurned lover, a la Gloria Gaynor. Since they’re so good at mixing genres, with everything from Latin, to lounge, to hip-hop and funk represented in their sound, you never really know what you’re going to get. Only two things are certain when you go to a Basement Jaxx show: you’re going to DANCE and you’re going to have a LOT of fun. Read More


Jurassic 5, Quannum Projects, and Dilated Peoples Come Home to the Greek – Review and Photos


As we settled into a warm summer evening at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, we couldn’t help feel we were about to witness something uniquely epic. The Word of Mouth tour, which is circling the U.S. this July and August, is no doubt historic. It celebrates the 20th anniversary of Jurassic 5; the first time in 10 years that the legendary Quannum Projects collective from Davis, CA (DJ Shadow, Lyrics Born, Gift of Gab, Chief Xcel, and Lateef) is back on stage all together, as well as the upcoming LP from underground champions Dilated Peoples, dubbed Directors of Photography. By the time the night wound to a close, the epic feeling was cemented in our minds.

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