It’s only appropriate that the Los Angeles duo No Age wrapped up Noise Pop ‘09 at Bottom of the Hill on Sunday afternoon with their noisy brand of Thurston Moore-inspired dissonant punk rock. The following are optional at a No Age show: wailing in tune, bass guitars, lead guitar solos, and tracks over three minutes. Guitarist Randy Randall, who looked disturbingly like Val Kilmer as John Holmes in the movie Wonderland, and drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt wasted no time in putting the noise back in Noisepop, jumping into “Teen Creeps” off Nouns, their Subpop debut album. Every time one of No Age’s songs veered toward pop melody, they made sure to interrupt it with a crunching power chord progression or a wave of distortion. But pop compromise is not what No Age is all about.
The clowns have left the building. On our last visit to this Columbus Avenue burger joint—which was soon after the Myth folks took over and changed its name from Clown Alley to Pickles—the burgers were terrific, but some of those creepy clowns still lurked about the place. Now, restaurant designer Michael Brennan has done his magic and, along with adding upholstered booths and a gas fireplace, has banished the Ronalds.
Pizzeria Delfina might defiantly blast their punk music, but their punkest idea yet is their staff t-shirts, which had somehow bypassed me until I ran into Anne Stoll (co-owner and wife of chef Craig Stoll) the other day. We got talking, then gossiping, then bitching and lo and behold, the topic of Yelp came up. Yelp's been making some juicy headlines (see Jeremy "Big Papa" Stoppelman respond here).
At first, Noise Pop Happy Hour at Benders Bar and Grill on Saturday felt like an indie rock version of an antique sale. The aging of the 90s Pacific Northwest-SubPop Records-heyday set was evident. The opening acts (the aptly named Aim Low Kid and Audio Out Send) struggled through poor sound on a tiny stage. The lead singer of Aim Low Kid pointed to a crowd member and said that Starbucks and Pabst Blue Ribbon was a dangerous combo. It used to be heroin-chic and meth. Now it’s Starbucks and PBR.
The Syracuse band Ra Ra Riot has always been tough to categorize. No matter what you call them (champer pop, orchestral crooners, shoe-gazing mods), their sound has a way of evoking a range of past hitmakers from Pat Benatar or Talk Talk to Belle and Sebastian or Joy Division. At the band’s sold-out show at the Independent last night, ever-earnest lead singer Wes Miles made sure to let the crowd know that he loved San Francisco and the crowd let the band know that San Francisco reciprocated.
Here's a list of some of the finest films currently in rotation at a San Francisco indie theater near you.
1. Two Lovers
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Rumors of Charlie Kaufman’s reclusiveness have been greatly exaggerated.
Kaufman, the soft-spoken New York native who began his career in television churning out scripts for short-lived Fox sitcoms like Get a Life before graduating to feature films with the Oscar-nominated screenplay for 1999’s Being John Malkovich, is, according to his IMDb.com biography, a voracious reader notorious for avoiding the press. And yet here he is, cordial and seemingly at ease as he lounges in a conference room at San Francisco’s Prescott Hotel, ready for a rigorous day of interviews.
The entire lineup of last night’s Noise Pop show at Slim’s was perfectly billed. From Rademacher and The Mumlers to co-headliners, The Submarines and Bay Area sweethearts, The Morning Benders, everything flowed pretty smoothly for the bouncy, indie pop show. The vibe was light and fun and every band carried their weight. The Submarines even played their infamous iPhone commercial song, “You, Me & the Bourgeoisie,” much to the crowd’s pleasure and cheers.
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