Monday, April 27, 2009

Outside Lands lineup: WTF?

Last year's inaugural Outside Lands festival in Golden Gate Park was certainly not without its problems: overselling of tickets, difficulty in getting from one stage to another, low volume at side stages. But all it really needed to redeem itself was that magical nighttime closing performance by Radiohead.
This year...well let's just say the headliners are not up to the same caliber. Let's look at 5 of the top 7 acts on the bill: Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, Incubus, Black Eyed Peas, and Jason Mraz. If that was the entire lineup, I'd rather go 12 rounds with Manny Pacquiao while wearing a straightjacket than go to this festival. But they complicate things by throwing some bands I really would like to see (MIA, Band of Horses, Q-Tip, Modest Mouse, Atmosphere) and some that I haven't really gotten into but I'm sure would at least be interesting, possibly amazing (Mastodon, Kinky, Deerhunter, Built to Spill). Then there are the complicated ones like Beastie Boys (they've made some of my favorite records of all time but dudes in their mid 40s rapping in jumpsuits seems kind of embarrassing), The Mars Volta (Used to literally be my favorite band but their last few albums have done nothing for me. Edit yourself, Omar! It's not a contest to see how many notes you can play per measure!) and TV on the Radio, who I unequivocally love on record but based on the recordings I've seen/heard of their shows, I really don't think they can recreate their studio sound on stage and I'd probably be left disappointed.
But I'll be interested in seeing how the day-by-day breakdown ends up. I'll probably end up going, and maybe some of these bands I've never heard of will pleasantly surprise me. But seriously guys, TOM JONES?

Swine flu is not antisemitic

So I spent most of this morning reading and freaking out about the Swine Flu outbreak. There have been outbreaks in Spain now, governments are canceling flights and advising against travel to the U.S. But I think back on freakouts over Mad Cow, Bird Flu, SARS, ad infinitum and I don't think it's going to end in a pandemic (I can't say that word now without thinking of The Wire). For me all it's going to mean is another reason I probably won't go to Mexico any time soon. Hopefully they get the situation there under control quickly, but this story from the AP left me in disbelief more than anything else I read today:

Israeli official: Swine flu name offensive

I can't wrap my head around the quantum leap in this logic. There's a world health scare that has killed hundreds of people, which came from pigs, and they think that its name is an antisemitic slur? A swine is just a pig. I don't think I've ever heard Jews or Arabs referred to as such; you could more convincingly argue that the name is offensive to police officers. Or capitalists. But it doesn't stop there. Their proposed inoffensive name change? MEXICAN FLU. Yeah, that doesn't have any negative connotation for any ethnic group. Way to keep things in perspective, Israel. Now let me go back to worrying about the prospect of the fucking Lakers winning another Championship. No offense is intended to anyone who resides on or near a lake.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dub Mission

I also made it down to the Elbo Room last Sunday for Dub Mission, the weekly dub/dancehall/roots reggae night, and I was impressed by all the DJs, along with the tolerant attitude toward indoor blazing, but DJ Sep especially blew my socks off. She cuts up dub in an electronically-informed style to make it nearly unrecognizable but completely awesome. Check out her Myspace page.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sébastien Tellier live in SF

Sébastien Tellier came to the Independent in San Francisco last Saturday, sans Daft Punk robots, but with a kick-ass live drummer, two synth/keyboard players, a polygonal guitar, and a quickly emptied bottle of white wine. The show wasn't as raunchy as the accounts I've read of some of his shows, and he skipped a few of my favorite songs in the brief performance, but I was never bored and I guess he was going for the "leave 'em wanting more" approach. At least he played "La Retournille." Here's a video of a retooled version of his Eurovision jam "Divine" (sans helium.) Chairlift opened with a wonderfully hazy shoegazey pop set and their lead singer set the bar for Tellier to follow when she discreetly lied on her back behind her keyboard and chugged from her bottle of red.

Tellier et bande (click photos to see in full):

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Fever Ray video: If I had a Heart

Now this is how you make a disquieting video. From Fever Ray, AKA Karin from The Knife.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Jager Behavior

I was recently shown this video and still don't get it. It's one big WTF non-sequitor after another, but it's pretty funny and it puts a classic ODB song to good use.

New Zion I

Oakland's Zion I have a trippy, Donnie Darko-inspired video out for their new song "Geek to the Beat." I've seen these guys play at Sac State twice, but this time they're bypassing the campus to play at Empire. Full list of tourdates and a gang of new songs at their Myspace. They also have a different version of the song "Don't Lose ya Head" with Too $hort that was originally over a remix of Radiohead's "Nude" on Amplive's amazing Rainydayz project.

Zion I "Geek To The Beat" from Okayplayer on Vimeo.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Phoenix on SNL

Is it just me or is there a lot of really good music coming out of Paris these days? Phoenix has been around for a while, but now they're apparently big enough to play Saturday Night Live, and even got the rare opportunity to play a third song over the credits. Their new album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix not only has a great title, but it's probably the most consistent album they've put out. They sounded super tight live, hoping they do a full U.S. tour.

And they encored with "Too Young" from their first album. I remember having this on the Lost in Translation soundtrack before I knew who they were. It actually really derails the mood of the soundtrack, but what a great song.

I'm pretty jealous of the lead singer for not only being in a great band, but also having impregnated this woman:

Next week SNL will try to keep up the streak of good musical guests with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who also have a killer new album out. This is a good excuse to post their rad video for "Zero," which Idolator's Jess Harvell sums up better than I could: "There's something very retro about this video to me, but nothing so directly referential that you can pin it to a specific cultural artifact, much like the song itself." If I had to compare it to something I'd say Blondie, but it produces this weirdly visceral nostalgia in me for something I never actually experienced. Shot in SF too, maybe that's part of it.

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