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Noise Pop: 7 Must-Sees

Can you hear the indie drum beats?  Noise Pop 2009 is taking the city by storm.  And like most festivals, it's a breeding ground for scheduling heartbreaks. Like Stephen Malkmus and up-and-comers Maus Haus, for example. Here, we distill the 7 must-sees:

The Bonnaroo Lineup Just Blew Our Minds

After viewing some of the headliners for Coachella this year (Amy Winehouse, c'mon!) we're glad we saved our money for something more worthy. All the whispered rumors of an amazing Bonnaroo lineup have turned out to be true! Not only do the headliners blow Coachella out of the water, some of the best ones from Coachella will also be at Bonnaroo. And this is the best part - catching onto the collapsing economy, the Bonnaroo peeps are offering the recession special of INSTALLMENTS for paying the full $250. Genius. There's absolutely no excuse not to enjoy this music wonderland. Here are some of the acts that we're totally stoked on (there's definitely going to be some heartbreakers if schedules collide):

-Nine Inch Nails

The Grouch's Latest Music Video

The Grouch (Living Legends solo phenom) finally released a music video for "Hot Air Balloons," the hot track off of his newest album Show You The World. While we're not usually huge fans of these videos, this one has some artistic elements and even features two of Living Legends' other superstars, Bicasso and Scaru. 

The Bluegrass Festival: Putting the Appalachia in SF

There’s bluegrass, but there’s also newer-grass and jazz-grass.

At the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, there’s green grass and that other kind of grass. But while it's free and open-air, the Golden Gate Park festival has pretty much outgrown its lazin' on a sunny afternoon appeal. It’s a massive crush of bodies and bicycles and the parking is hellish.

Slipping under the sonic radar is the San Francisco Bluegrass & Old-Time Festival, a non-profit, grassroots festival that runs for 9 days in local bars and small venues San Francisco, Berkeley, Piedmont and Fairfax.

Goh Nakamura to Play Sad Songs Tonight at Café Du Norde

While guys like Rufus Wainwright, Conor Oberst, and Sufjan Stevens rule the genre of sad-eyed, Beatles-influenced folk singer/songwriters, Bay Area troubadour Goh Nakamura probably deserves greater notoriety than the one-time success of “Embarcadero Blues,” a Youtube sensation (over one million viewers last year) and an ode to the SF service industry (watch it below). In his second album, Ulysses, Nakamura is up to his old tricks, singing about lost loves and impossible crushes over melodies that are as precise and sweet as they are complex. At his best, Nakamura will make you miss Elliot Smith badly. Goh Nakamura plays a birthday show tonight at Café Du Nord.

Wavves Barely Make Ripples at Great American Music Hall

While their show at SF’s historic Great American Music Hall was underwhelming in attendance, their sound left behind no doubt that a power duo is impossible these days unless carried by a lame, “are-they-married-or-siblings” mystery. No, Wavves won’t leave you guessing. Straight forward and balls out, the San Diego twosome are the ultimate mash-up of Ramones meets Beach Boys meets anything else simple, sunny and riffy.

Department of Eagles at Cafe Du Nord

Romantic oddity Department of Eagles played sold-out back to back shows (two hours apart) last night at Café du Nord, proving that they've graduated from a budding hipster obsession to a full-blown sensation.  Playing from last year's lauded album, In Ear Park, their performance was delightfully delicate and compellingly haunting. Daniel Rossen's vocals scatter but simultaneously remain immediate, sweet and eerie - the perfect compliment to a blustery San Francisco weekend.

The Dap Kings at The Warfield: A Bit More than Amy Winehouse's Back Up Band

For sheer Dap-ness, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings’ throne may have been usurped by Michelle and Barack – the first couple are no doubt the new king and queen of Dap. But anyone who saw Barack on Ellen knows his dancing genes came from the Kansas side. Meanwhile, Dap-Kings’ front woman Sharon Jones, is all soul, all funk and live at the Warfield tomorrow night.

DJ AM and Travis Barker Back on the Scene at Mezzanine

After a long hiatus, DJ AM and Travis Barker of Blink 182 are back on the music scene.  The somewhat last-minute show last Friday at Mezzanine marks the pair's first San Francisco show since last year’s tragic plane crash. The two reunited on New Year's Eve to play a party in Miami and have since developed an unlikely partnership—a live DJing and drumming set that they plan to take on tour. Props to the fresh concept, but does the act pan out onstage?

Walkmen Fever

There's some serious ticket scrambling and buzzing around tonight's Walkmen show at The Fillmore.  It's well deserved - their new album, You & Me, rocked.  We'll be there, so check back tomorrow to flip through photos from the show.

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