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Music + Nightlife

Album Review: Yo La Tengo’s ‘Popular Songs’

Time can be so unkind to rock bands as they stick around, age and refuse to break up: Some burn out – others fade away. Still others like Yo La Tengo manage to mine remarkably rich new veins in the ground they’ve broken long ago. Much like the rock-solid coupledom of bandmates Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley, this group refuses to call it splitsville, especially since it continues to find new songs to sing, popular or no.

Listen Up: Phish, Ziggy Marley, Rock The Bells

It’s fairly quiet in the land of music, but after last week’s shenanigans we’ll be glad to sit back, relax and enjoy the special performances rolling through this week. We’re especially excited for the highly anticipated and much-hyped traveling hip-hop festival, Rock The Bells this Sunday. Check out our other picks.

Phish, Shoreline, 8/5: For those who are super into 30-minute guitar solos and just straight improv jam sessions, then Phish is definitely for you. On tour for the first time in five years, these guys have one of the most impressive followings we’ve seen since the Grateful Dead. If you go it’ll definitely be an experience, and make sure to say hi to the Furthur bus for us.

Sonic Youth Gets Intimate With The Independent

When Sonic Youth announced last Monday they'd be playing a show at the Independent last night, tickets sold out in about 30 seconds. It wasn't their only show in the Bay Area this tour—they played the Fox Theater Sunday night—but it was a rare opportunity to see them play somewhere as small as the Indy. The intimacy of the packed venue felt like we were seeing the band at a New York club in the 80s, except it's San Francisco, 2009 and the fans are all grown up.

Jackson Browne: Live and Litigious

Still not really over John McCain's slimey presidential campaign? Reason enough to go see Jackson Browne play at the Paramount Theater August 19.

Remember how McCain irritatingly mocked Obama's fuel efficiency ideas? Before the election, McCain snarkily handed out tire gauges which read, "Obama‘s energy plan," a stunt meant to deflate the Obama suggestion that Americans improve their gas mileage by keeping all tires properly fully-inflated.
 

So You Think You Can Dance Like Michael Jackson?

If you missed the Michael Jackson flash mobs around SF, you can participate in the next home-spun tribute to King of Pop at the upcoming Oakland Art and Soul festival on August 16. Area and national hip-hop dance companies (dancers from So You Think You Can Dance and America's Best Dance Crew will be there) will stage a dance tribute to MJ – which is a far finer way to remember Michael than to peer into his private boudoir via tabloid TV.

 


Listen Up: Zion I, Or The Whale, Gomez, Sonic Youth Headline This Week

Amidst this bizarre summer cold and heavy ghost pirate fog plaguing the City, this weekend’s lineup is really going to heat things up. Unfortunately, most of the good stuff completely conflicts with each other. Make good choices ladies and gents.

N.E.R.D., The Warfield, 7/30: Meet Snoop Dogg’s self-professed therapist and master producer, Pharrell in his most creative state – on stage with buddies Chad and Shay at The Warfield. We think you’ll be surprised by the beats they’ve created for mainstream pop and rap. It’s surprising how much they’ve put together for artists these days.

Breakout Band: SF's Deerhoof at Great American Music Hall

Disregard the title of Deerhoof’s latest album, Offend Maggie (Kill Rock Stars, 2008), the Bay Area band never offends.

Rather, the up-from-the-underground foursome specializes in subverting your assumptions of what constitutes a rock-out number and what kind of unholy, Maggie-outraging roar guitars, drums, and bass can generate – all with a playful wink and friendly nod to indie’s avant-garde, as well as rock standard bearers like Radiohead, who Deerhoof toured with a while back.

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

The Jewish Film Festival is entering its first weekend, the Red Vic is celebrating its 29th birthday, and David Byrne's Talking Heads are taking the stage (in a manner of speaking) for two nights only. It's looking like a promising week for moviegoers seeking an alternative to the mindless savagery of Orphan and the magical incantations of Harry Potter. Here's a list of some of the finest films arriving at an indie theater near you.

The Surreal Life: Maus Haus And Rainbow Arabia At Bottom Of The Hill

Eclectic, electric surrealists in full flower – you must be talking about Maus Haus and Rainbow Arabia, both playing one of the final shows produced by the Bay-bred Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival on Saturday, July 25, at Bottom of the Hill.

Sweet! The Pains Of Being Pure Of Heart At Rickshaw Stop

How do you explain the Pains of Being Pure at Heart? Is it a case of a great name that speaks to every geek and freak with earnest thoughts in their heads and deeply cherished hopes in their breasts, fearful of having that fragile idealism crushed and spindled? Or does POBPAH signal a backlash against indie chaos and a return to pop conservatism -- a revival of the easy, the tried and true, and the innocent?

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