Now a nationwide buzz-band thanks to signing with Conor Oberst's Saddle Creek Records, releasing one of the year's best records, and being tasered and arrested in Houston, Two Gallants have enjoyed an eventful 2006. They'll cap it off well with a pair of shows at Bimbo's 365 Club on Dec. 29 and 30. The first night will be a typical rock show, dancefloor and electric guitars included; the second will be a special seated acoustic show. On both occasions, opening act Vetiver warms the crowd at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15.
It's a fact that jokey-ass shit is terrible. Morning radio show cover songs and Bloodhound Gang singles are so mind-numbingly inane that listening to them for more than a minute, let alone a whole album, could drive anyone to bash their temples with a large wrench. Which is why Philly-based Plastic Little is so fresh. Their latest album, She's Mature, is rampant with sex, party, drug, and straight-up doo-doo rhymes so ridiculous, Plastic Little could just as well be dismissed as a joke band. There aren't too many rappers who could fit multiple references to feminine hygiene products in one album, but the audacity is so extreme that lyrics end up far craftier than any rapper they could possibly be dissing. Not to mention that the beats are bangin', managing to infuse ample bump to Smiths, Cure, and Studio54-era disco samples. They even get Ghostface Killah on a track to add some cred. This album is perfect for occasions such as evenings at strip clubs, parking lot pimpin', or any instance involving coke dick. Peep "Bum Rush The Set" for a taste. -- Oscar Pascual
Listen to These: "Bum Rush the Set," "Drizzhollering"
Remember the music video for A-Ha's "Take on Me," where a guy chases a girl through the pages of a comic book? Oakland new wave/indie rock group Maldroid certainly does. It wisely appropriated the concept for its "He Said She Said" video, which surpassed 2,200 other entries to be named best music video in a recent YouTube contest for independent bands. Hundreds of thousands of YouTubers cast votes in the competition. Maldroid, which has only been together since March of this year, was awarded a trip to NYC, an appearance on Good Morning America, and a whole bunch of Gibson gear. The band returns home from its trip to the Big Apple tomorrow. Update: We've got the whole scoop on Maldroid on the cover of our 2/14 issue.
Albany's Ivy Room is reopening under the ownership of Kingman Yee, owner of Kingman's Lucky Lounge in Oakland, on Friday, December 15. As the Express reported back in September, the Ivy Room was sold by Bill MacBeath, whose family had owned the Ivy since 1992 and turned it into a happening scene for blues, rockabilly, country, rock, and swing acts like Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys, Jim Campilongo, the Loved Ones, Deke Dickerson, and Chuck Prophet. Since the Ivy Room closed its doors on September 17, speculation circulated about the club's future. But according to a recent press release, the newly named Kingman's Ivy Room will feature a "custom-created martini menu and a swanky lounge feel that harkens back to the bar's original era." The newly remodeled club will feature DJs seven nights a week and no cover charge. "We wanted to preserve the character and history of the landmark lounge, but we also wanted to update it so that new generations can fully appreciate and enjoy it," said Yee in the press release. In other words, don't expect Dave Gleason to play anytime soon.
"This Is Your Brain on Music" by Dr. Dan Levitin provides profound insounds ... Silversun Pickups -- tan-free Silverlake stars fuzz up the Fillmore ... dead prez opens for Oakland rappers the Attik at their Jungle Electric release ... Reviewed: Isis, This American Life, Depeche Mode ... Critic's Choice Previews: Hot Toddies ; And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead; Anoush ; Chow Nasty ; Moggs ; Tom Russell ; Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.
For some, the black metal genre's tendency to howl about D 'n' D imagery -- mythical battles, orcs, dragon-slaying, etc. -- can prove an impassable barrier. That's where Ludicra steps in. The San Francisco band seemingly forged its own subgenre when vocalist Laurie Shanaman decided to explore more modern, albeit depressing, themes -- like drug addiction and suicide. To boot, the band's compositions, lack of cheese (i.e., synths), and hair-raising vocals courtesy of Shanaman and Christy Cather, puts it well ahead of the dime-a-dozen metal bands. Ludicra's strong, clear vision is prominent on its fourth album, Fex Urbis Lex Orbus (meaning "dregs of the city, law of the earth"), released back in August on Alternative Tentacles. Listen to "In Fever."
Last week, Bay Area bands frantically texted, e-mailed, and bribed their friends to vote for them for Live 105's local band contest. The five finalists, announced last night, will compete at a show at Café du Nord on Monday, December 4 for the opening slot at this year's Night So Silent Night. They are: the well-coiffed Thriving Ivory, known for their sappy 9/11 ode "Angels on the Moon;" the Foo Fighters/Rival Schools-inspired Cold-Hot-Crash; LoveLikeFire, who we touted a couple weeks ago; Piedmont's Panda; and Berkeley's sweet-sounding The Morning Benders. Who would you vote for?
-Indie-folk chanteuse CatPower reveals what life is like after rehab. SF Chronicle :::::: -The Byrds' Chris Hillman sets the record straight on what drugs are better to make music, and why you should pick up the band's newly released box set. SF Chronicle :::::: -Oakland Tribune slams John Legend on his lackluster performance at the Warfield. Oakland Tribune ::::::: -A live show of Tenacious D affirms why "rock is not dead." ::::: -A woman is accused of stalking Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington, hacking into his cell phone and into his wife's e-mail. Why? Someone needs to play the last two Linkin Park records over again for this woman to get her priorities straight. Contra Costa Times/ Associated Press. -- Oscar Medina
John Legend brought his personal flavor of hot-buttered soul to San Francisco's Warfield Theater last Saturday, and oh, did it melt over the crowd like breakfast toast. The event marked an occasion for the Bay Area's grown and sexy crowd to dress up, have dinner, and get their romance on. Meanwhile, younger cats took control of the ground level for sing-alongs and slow dancing. Regardless, John Legend commanded everyone's attention with his sharp dress, silky voice, and lovely piano chords from his latest album Once Again and debut Get Lifted.
Legend's performance was a throwback to the days of cleaner, more honest R&B music. John Legend is not just a singer, he's a crooner -- the kind of voice that makes ladies tremble and fan themselves. And in the grand tradition of crooners, Legend did his part by inviting a lady [see John Legend at Warfield pictures] up to the stage for some slow dancing as he performed his latest song titled "Slow Dance". The song conjured up spirits of the doo-wop era as a prom-dress-clad woman dropped it like it's hot while Legend stood behind her, singing softly in her ear.
The whole evening seemed to be dedicated to reviving spirits of older love songs. Legend's performance of new song "Maxine" brought back the feel of Brazilian Bossanova grooves a la "Girl From Ipanema." A sea of digital cameras and cell phones welcomed Legend's latest single "Save Room," which sounds like it could be on Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life. And Legend's rendition of his last album's hit single "I Used to Love U" took the form of a dancehall-reggae remix, although no cheeba smoke was evident all evening.
The evening was capped when Legend's band left the stage as he began to perform "Ordinary People." Serving as this generation's "Imagine," Legend's heartfelt piano melodies were paired only with his voice imploring the crowd to take it slow, as they responded back, This time we'll take it slow. Regardless of the advice, the bulk of the audience left the show to inevitably make some babies. -- Oscar Pascual
When it comes to homegrown East Bay music, Sleepyboy Moe is the real deal. Shaun Wargowsky, the man behind the name, moved to Oakland in 2005 and immediately became active in the local scene. He began performing solo and with drummer Lindsay Cooper (of the nicely named Oakland band Espionage a Trios) at venues such as Epic Arts in Berkeley. He recorded his debut CD, The Sleepyboy Moe Tapes, entirely in analogue in Oakland and Berkeley. And his CD release party will happen tomorrow at the Stork Club in Oakland. As for the music? It's been called sludge-folk, but that doesn't begin to convey the hiss, fuzz, and noise captured in songs like "Lucky Son". Most of it sounds like a third-generation copy of a lo-fi cassette tape. Wargowsky's entrancing rhythms and possessed vocals complement the recording perfectly (or maybe it's the other way around), making this release more art than cheap reproduction of a live performance.