Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Your Daily Lick: VIR

Shadow of a Mountain (self-released)

by Nate Seltenrich
Tue, Jun 17, 2008 at 10:51 AM

Finally, someone makes this shoegaze revival thing work. Oakland's VIR, formerly called Montana, lays U2-size vocals, melodies, and song structures over sinister, flatline backdrops à la Joy Division. The resulting tension, anchored by singer Sam Sloane's excellent guitar work, creates songs that don't stale.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Your Daily Lick: Miggs

Unraveled (Rock Ridge Music)

by Nate Seltenrich
Mon, Jun 16, 2008 at 10:50 AM

Everyone knows it: Mainstream modern rock is dead. So what could possibly compel an independent San Francisco group to play the sort of uber-earnest, studio-slick, unoriginal ("timeless") rock that ruled Top 40 radio in the mid-'90s? A shot to open for Jon Bon Jovi? To woo ailing Goo Goo Dolls fans? Miggs isn't bad, just unnecessary.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Your Daily Lick: Ricky Lee Robinson

Secret Love Tricks (Hypnodisk Records)

by Nate Seltenrich
Fri, Jun 13, 2008 at 10:53 AM

Oakland's Ricky Lee Robinson dresses sharp in a bright white tux and can play drums and guitar simultaneously. Yet his debut leaves something to be desired. The songwriting is sharp but uneven; highlights "Psychic Woman" and "Jeans On" shine as superb examples of the weird, bare-bones rock 'n' roll he strives for.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Your Daily Lick: Tippy Canoe & the Paddlemen

Parasols and Pekingese

by Nate Seltenrich
Wed, Jun 11, 2008 at 3:09 PM

Tippy Canoe is one Michele Kappel, songwriter and lead singer for this Oakland quintet. What attempts to pass for old-timey pop is really a mélange of country, jazz, and folk from various bygone eras. With such an assortment of styles and Tippy's trademark ukulele lost in the mix, it's hard to say quite where the band lands.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Your Daily Lick: Aprilsrain

Stellar Transmission (PVP Records)

by Nate Seltenrich
Tue, Jun 10, 2008 at 3:08 PM

Three years of recording at the Plant in Sausalito yielded Aprilsrain's debut, a pleasant collection of distilled dream-pop and shoegaze that leans more toward the mainstream than perhaps it should. The crisp, clean production will appeal to Pinback and Death Cab for Cutie fans, but even those bands take more chances.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Erykah Badu Gets a Second Chance in Oakland Tonight

by Rachel Swan
Mon, Jun 9, 2008 at 4:28 PM

Erykah Badu doesn't have the "six and change" vocal range of a more lush balladeer like Lalah Hathaway or Rachelle Ferrell, but it's easy to fall in love with her for a number of other reasons: the Austin Powers outfits; the nasal, Billy Holiday texture of her voice; the Afro that careens in every direction. Unfortunately, such attributes didn't quite cut it at last night's Paramount show, even though Badu had everything set up to really manhandle an audience -- from the cute back-up singers to the choreographed dance moves to aptly chosen drummer Chris Dave (who's also held rhythm section duties for Mint Condition and Bilal). The problem was that she chose to ignore those assets, and instead build an entire show around wailing, drawn-out high notes. The result was a bit like watching a jazz saxophonist who tries to cram as many notes as possible in the space of a single measure, if only to show off his chops. It just made everyone tired.

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Your Daily Lick: Experimental Dental School

Jane Doe Loves Me (Cochon Records)

by Nate Seltenrich
Mon, Jun 9, 2008 at 3:07 PM

It may seem obvious, but "experimental" is a fine description for this time-tested Oakland act. Its third record, fittingly, is an apocalyptic math-rock fit. Mashing tortured melodies against fractured noise, it restlessly bounds between toe-tapping and confounding across all twelve tracks.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ahmad Jamal Descends on Oakland Tonight, Plays Yoshi's San Francisco This Weekend

Jazz Standard-Bearer Plays with Economy, but Still Kills

by Rachel Swan
Fri, Jun 6, 2008 at 3:14 PM

A lot of Ahmad Jamal's appeal lies in his use of blank space between notes — he plays in a style that's closer to Monk, or some of the old stride players, than to most of his contemporaries: frequent glissandos; rickety two-handed runs; a left handed comp rhythm that's like a kick drum beat, played on one chord. Jamal must plot out his solos from a drummer's perspective, because the phrasing sounds like it's based on a groove, rather than melodic or harmonic ideas. That actually doesn't matter because, as Jamal proved last night at Oakland Yoshi's — where he took the stage alongside bassist James Cammack, drummer Idris Muhammad, and percussionist Manolo Badrena — he's a phenomenal performer.

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Your Daily Lick: Tyler Jakes & the Bootleggers

Rocking Hoarse Calypso (self-released)

by Nate Seltenrich
Fri, Jun 6, 2008 at 3:06 PM

Through no mistake is Tyler Jakes' nickname "Three Chords." His San Francisco-via-Minneapolis trio plays simple, cliché-ridden garage rock with Southern flair and a Western frame of mind. None of it's particularly effective, at least until aptly named closer "I Can't Take Anymore" finally eases into a groove.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Podcast Test

Wed, Jun 4, 2008 at 3:39 PM

This is a test.

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