Plenty of interesting shows to keep Bay Area music lovers up late this week. In addition to the following shows, we've also got Wilco at the Fox (sold out) on Tuesday, RJD2 at Manor West Wednesday, Martin Sexton at the Fillmore on Thursday, Cold Cave at the Elbo Room on Friday and The Jayhawks at the Fillmore on Saturday. Yes, it's one of those why-we-love-SF weeks.
Tonight: Fujiya & Miyagi @ Independent
We wouldn't dare put this English trio in the same company as LCD Soundsystem, but that's a good place to start explaining the band's understated experimental electronic music — which, incidentally, they've been making since around the same time James Murphy let the world know Daft Punk was playing at his house. They might sound more like Stereolab (see "Ankle Injuries," "Electro Karaoke"), with hypnotic basslines that somehow take on watery-ness when the beat kicks in, a la LCD. Their lyrics read like extended mantras, super odd and meta — repeating words and phrases until dancing becomes the only way to make sense of it.
Tuesday: Reggie Watts @ Yoshi's (SF Sketchfest show)
Underneath Reggie Watts’ Sideshow Bob ’fro are eyes that often open and shut when he’s singing, usually when he’s belting out a fetching falsetto or some other visceral groove. But it’s also possible that he’s just not very good at winking. Nothing is to be taken at face value when the multi-discipline entertainer holds court. Like in his music video for “F*ck Sh*t Stack,” in which Watts pokes fun at some of rap’s more cliched conceits. Approach his live show with the same caution exercised with surrealists such as Flight of the Conchords and comedic-musical forefathers Spinal Tap. That is, expect the absurd.
Wednesday: The Soft Moon & Weekend @ New Parish
If you haven't gotten wind of San Francisco's freewheelin', shoegazin', noisemakin' Weekend yet, now would be a good time. The band's growing critical cred reached a new plateau last year with the release of the EP Red, an inviting yet haunting entry into the band's young discography. They'll open for The Soft Moon, another local outfit making national noise with noise. Band protagonist Luis Vasquez makes dark, cold soundscapes that compare adequately with Nine Inch Nails' industrial aesthetic. Prepare thy ears for the loud.
Thursday: Shabazz Palaces @ Yoshi's
Forget about trying to put this duo into a box. Their sound crosses genres and eras and dimensions on a whim. Vocals come packaged in abstract perversions of watery effects, and beats and rhythms recall the experimental approach once championed by Outkast. Those who saw 'em at Treasure Island inevitably had something like this to say: “it sounded like acid-(hip-hop/trance/soul/R&B/calypso/something).” But they’re really in unchartered waters, painting clever (if indecipherable) hip-hop verses over tripped-out beats.
Saturday: Eleanor Friedberger & Dominant Legs @ Independent
You may know Friedberger as one half of the avant-pop duo The Fiery Furnaces, one of the more predictably unpredictable groups of the last decade. On her solo debut, Last Summer, Friedberger is still the clear-dictioned, uber-expressive singer she was in her role with FF, conjuring surreal but specific worlds and stories and moods. Inspired stuff, this. Opener Dominant Legs fashions a similar pop sensibility, albeit with a more traditional vocal approach. Think Talking Heads — ridiculously fun, accessible, dance, etc.