The Rural Alberta Advantage are about as rustic as the throbbing synth that opens its newly re-released 2008 debut, Hometowns (Saddle Creek). But you don’t need to listen long to immediately glean the band’s backwater charm as the chimes and strings kick in. Like an indie-rockier American Analog Set, a more stately and minimalist Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, or a folkier, filled-out Matt and Kim, the Rural Alberta Advantage’s earnest feistiness shines through the homespun, lo-fi production of Hometowns.
One of the greatest pleasures of “Art and Power in the Central African Savanna” at the has to be the moment you come across the almost-16-inch-high figure said to represent the Chokwe hero Chibinda Illunga. Curator Constantine Petridis of Cleveland Museum of Art saved it for last, when a few weeks ago he walked a slew of media mavens and African art specialists through the new de Young Museum exhibition of 60 or so sculptures created by Luba, Songye, Chokwe, and Luluwa artisans working in Central Africa.
Lend an ear to the Heavenly States’ most recent album, 2008’s Delayer, and you realize, this Bay Area band has it. And what, pray tell, is “it”? Imagination, guts, and the wide-angle ambition to put together a great, layered, multi-textured indie-rock album. Add the fact that Heavenly States was the first to tour Libya -- an adventure captured in the as-yet-unreleased feature-length documentary, Borderline -- as well as a super-energized live show, and you have a slice of heaven right here in the Bay.
The sound of hot, lazy summer days spent basking on a warm stone beside a swimming hole, or dangling from a rocker on a front porch, listening to cricket cackle and sucking back cans of Old Style -- that’s sound of Deer Tick, the most soulful indie rock boys to come down the pike since the Black Keys. The band plays the Independent on Wednesday, July 1.
Not far from the hopping cultural crossroads of 16th and Valencia, Intersection for the Arts has been making a name for itself for decades as another kind of meeting place -- and the site of riveting collaborations with literary heavyweights such as Denis Johnson, stage productions like the fierce, hip-hop-laced Angry Black White Boy, and such ambitious interdisciplinary endeavors as the Prison Project.
Kim: The marketing tag line for Herb and Dorothy goes, “You don’t have to be a Rockefeller to collect art,” and Megumi Sasaki’s film proves you just need an eye and a genuine passion -- to build a world-class art collection on the meager salaries of a postal clerk and librarian.
David: You also have to be surrounded by starving artists as well. They were so happy to sell stuff that they would let them pay for art in installments.
Make sweet, sweet love to the air -- and generate some potentially embarrassing YouTube footage in the process? Somewhere Andy Warhol is smiling, counting the 15 minutes of fame parceled out for the contestants lining up for the Air Sex World Championships, which makes a pit stop at the Independent on Wednesday, June 24.
Montreal’s Wolf Parade obviously became far too small to satisfy its members’ creative cravings. Witness vocalist-guitarist Dan Boeckner raging onstage alongside wife Alexei Perry at Handsome Furs’ recent Great American Music Hall show. Likewise vocalist-keyboardist Spencer Krug has been slowly, steadily gathering steam as the leader of Sunset Rubdown.
Michael Cera is a geek poet and he knows it. He’s the stealthily saucy secret sauce - a cunning mixture of naivete, vulnerability, and nerdiness - that made Superbad, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Juno, Arrested Development and the online Clark and Michael shorts that much better, healing the wounds of 90-pound weaklings and cubicle-bound bookish waifs with his empathetic portraits of brainy goofballs with love in their hearts and stars in their eyes.