YES. Outside Lands is here, reverent party people. But if you’ve got your ticket, we’ll assume you’re plenty aware of how much fun is in store this weekend at Golden Gate Park. We shall spare you the spoils of OSL previewing. Instead, this week’s Best Bets column serves the folks without OSL wristbands still looking to quench their live music thirst. It’s silly how many other options you have…
Part retro reggae, part soul, part tribal chants, part Afro-funk…forget it, Sierra Leone is just so much more than the sum of its parts. The band has overcome seemingly impossible challenges and surreal hardship to deliver simple, profound messages to the world: Keep your faith, keep your hope, keep your sense of joy. Keep loving your people. And keep the music alive. There’s no way I can do justice to their story, but this documentary does a decent job…
I’ll admit, the first listen to this Chicago throwback rock band’s third album was nerve-wrecking. Expectations were Sears Tower-high after breakthrough album Dye it Blonde, but we can safely report there’s nothing to worry about. Rather, there’s only reason to celebrate. Soft Will, released in June, rocks worlds beyond Earth. There’s a magical realism to the album, each track a journey through some lush, dreamt-up corner of the universe. Just latch onto the huge, sprawling guitar hooks and hold on.
Rebirth Brass Band, Yoshi's of Oakland, Thursday, Friday
The beat goes on (and on…and on…) for this New Orleans-based jazz collective. Its revolving all-star roster and undying positive spirit are capable of healing what ails the cynic lurking inside every jaded music snob. For those unable to see this jazz institution in its natural habitat of a New Orleans street, see them in their second-most appropriate setting, a jazz club like Oakland’s magnificent Yoshi’s Jazz Club. Check your pretention at the door and prepare to smile and laugh and dance like an eight-year-old hopped up on cola.
Glass Candy, Mezzanine, Friday
If you like your dance music weird, conversational, and celebratory, you will like Glass Candy. Lead singer Ido No waxes non-poetical over urgent Johnny Jewel productions. If that name Johnny Jewel rings a bell, congratulations you’re a Chromatics fan! Or a Symmetry fan! Or a Desire fan! Or, even more impressive, you’re aware of the fine work happening at the Italians Do It Better label. Fans of any Jewel side project will cling to the disco 2.0 charms of Glass Candy. The band seems ready for a synth pop-world takeover. Jewel reports the band is working on the long-anticipated Body Work album and has 17 sets of lyrics and vocals ready for that work in progress.
Kyle Thomas, aka King Tuff, knows lo-fi. He knows rockabilly. He knows weird punk. He knows his way around an edgy guitar solo. He knows … zombie apocalypses? OK, maybe we’re reading between the lines too much. But the album title Was Dead makes us think this guy is at least a Walking Dead fan. His work seems to recall dead folks like Joey Ramone and other departed punk rockers of yore.
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