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Our Top Picks for Noise Pop 2011

Trust us: with the amount of activity going on all around the city next week, you won't have time to be bored. Here are our picks for the best sights to see and the best noise to hear:

DAY ONE: Feb. 22nd


Yo La Tengo @ Fox Theater, 8 pm, $25.

It's a no brainer. This venerable indie power trio is splitting their set in half: one in which they play whatever they want, the other in which they play whatever the winds of fate want, Wheel Of Fortune-style. After all, a string of 12 studio albums makes it kind of hard to decide, you know. Tickets here.

DAY TWO: Feb. 23rd

This Is Noise Pop @ Roxie Theater, 7 pm, $10.

The story of SF's best fest comes to life on screen in a documentary capturing the past ten years of Noise Pop in all its raucous, rough-around-the-edges glory. You'll drool over never-before-seen performances by Stephen Malkmus (of Pavement), The Shins, Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips, Guided By Voices, The National, & more, whether you're new to the festival or have been there since its birth. Tickets here.

Versus @ Cafe Du Nord, 8 pm, $15

This NYC-based, Merge Records-nurtured 90s indie act is back to simultaneously confuse and delight your ears with its signature combo of sensitive alt-rock and grunge. Merge labelmate Telekinesis opens. Tickets here.

DAY THREE: Feb. 24th

Way Behind the Music @ Makeout Room, 7:30 pm. $10 advance tix, $15 the day of.

Celebrity autobiographies really get people foaming at the mouth these days. Wait, did you just say you've been dying to read the new Justin Bieber memoir First Step 2 Forever? Not only will you get a dose of this literary gem at Way Behind the Music, your ears will be treated to poignantly hilarious excerpts from the "writings" of Gene Simmons, the mother of a Backstreet Boy, Marilyn Manson & more, by local luminaries like Thao Nguyen and Bucky Sinister.

Film School @ Cafe Du Nord, 8 pm, $14

With electro serenades that blend the soaring vocals and driving guitar of The Shins and the twee melodies of the Postal Service, Film School, who formed in the very late 90s, will charm you into cutting a rug on the dance floor. Rising local band Melted Toys opens. Tickets here.

Ted Leo @ Bottom of the Hill, 8 pm, $12 

A indie veteran usually bolstered by his band the Pharmacists, Ted Leo is a fiesty frontman who has been rolling solo under to the limelight as of late. His conversationalist lyrics, political leanings and everyman appeal, usually yelped onstage in a ball of sweat, will be reborn in an intimate, acoustic live set on a pro like Ted Leo could make amazing. Tickets here.

The Family Jams @ Viz Cinema, 9 pm, $10

In 2004, filmmaker Kevin Barker began chronicling the budding "freak folk" scene by joining Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom and Vetiver on tour, when all were based in SF at the time. It's a story of a tight-knit family of young artists as they begin to capture the attention of the press, travel the country and all the weirdos they meet along the way. Told almost without interviews or narration, it's a true fly-on-the-wall documentary. Tickets here.

DAY FOUR: Feb. 25th

Shannon & the Clams @ Bender's, 5 pm, free.

You can't not pay attention to the powerhouse pop voice of Shannon Shaw. Soulful and vulnerable yet unbreakable, this Oakland band's oeuvre of 60s sock hop-inspired garage is perfect for getting the party started early on a Saturday. Noisyniks-who-play-restless-garage-pop Wet Illustrated open.

Nick Zinner's 1,001 Images @ Public Works, 5 pm, free.

As if being the guitarist for one of the 2000s' coolest bands, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Nick Zinner is also a studied photographer who has four photo tomes to his name. This exhibition, comprised of exactly 1,001 photos, showcases a keen look at rock stardom from an angle the rest of us would kill to have.

Young Prisms @ Independent, 8 pm, $13 

These tiny maestros have been rising through the ranks of the SF music scene quickly, which is impressive for a bunch of self-proclaimed slackers. Their dark, dreamy shoegaze music starts off subtle before blooming into full-blown, hypnotic opuses; you don't quite know where their songs will go next. Tickets here.

Aesop Rock & Kimya Dawson @ Great American Music Hall, 8 pm, $20

An underground MC who loves collaborating with his fellow indie musicians, Aesop Rock's poetic rhyme slaying will mesh well with Kimya Dawson's (of the Moldy Peaches) quirky, lo-fi punk singer-songwriter style. In fact, we can't even imagine what these two might come up with onstage, which is why we'll be in the front row to be as fully immersed as possible in the bizarro world they'll conjure up. Tickets here.

Tamaryn @ Cafe Du Nord, 8 pm, $13

Take one listen to local lady Tamaryn's stony, sensual, fuzzed-out showgaze world and you'll be addicted. Regal, and mesmerizing, songs like "Love Fade" and "Mild Confusion" will remind you of any mind-altering drugs you've ever taken, while her older jams dwell in the vein of the Cocteau Twins. We're putting our money on this show as the most solid line up, with The Black Ryder, The Soft Moon, and Wax Idols there as excellent pre-gaming before the main act. Tickets here.

DAY FIVE: Feb. 26th

Noise Pop Culture Club @ Public Works, 12 pm, $10

The community and cutting edge artists join forces for a day of discussion and cool collaborations. Talk about independent culture in all its forms and get your hands dirty on DIY projects like filming music videos and recording songs in Noise Pop's mobile recording studio. The festival's Pop & Shop will provide retail therapy by featuring dozens of local designers. Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Kid Koala and more will be there. Tickets here.

How To Dress Well @ Cafe Du Nord, 8 pm, $12

Tom Krell's sumptuous bedroom falsetto pays homage to 90s R&B so well you'd never know he's a skinny, bespectacled white guy. But there are no covers here; Krell's taken this baby-making music and mixed it with synths and his own emotional lyrics, like a diary set to a rhythm and blues soundtrack. Awesome pop duo Dominant Legs opens. Tickets here.

Best Coast & Wavves @ Regency Ballroom, 8 pm, $20

Aside from the killer opening acts (who just about eclipse the artistry of the headliners) Royal Baths and Hunx & His Punx, it might be worth checking this show out to see what these two all-the-rage indie bands will decide to duet on live. They are boyfriend and girlfriend, after all, and the couple that plays together stays together. Tickets here.

No Age @ Rickshaw Stop, 8:30 pm, $15

This hard-touring art punk duo somehow mixes hardcore, shoegaze, noise and still comes out making complete sense. It's a combo that both creeps into the realm of the nostalgia and surges forward to the unknown. Once you've pounded the band's anthems into your brain via headphones, catch them live. We dare you to not let their unbridled energy send you spiralling into euphoria. Grass Widow opens. Tickets here.


Peanut Butter Wolf @ Public Works, 9 pm, $15

LA producer Peanut Butter Wolf brings his heady, funked-up hip hop back to his Bay Area fans this Noise Pop, and thank goodness––there definitely needs to be some street cred injected in this indie-heavy lineup. A DJ unafraid of the spotlight, PB Wolf's influenced the dancefloor in so many ways since he began 20 years ago, this is your chance to pay your respects. Dam Funk's Soul Train beats and grooves co-headline. Perhaps a DJ battle may ensue? Tickets here.

DAY SIX: Feb. 27th

Fresh n' Onlys @ Bottom of the Hill, 1 pm, $12

We only love this band more after their last disc, Play It Strange (In The Red), so naturally this show is one of our top Noise Pop priorities. A blend of gorgeous, kaleidoscopic 60s psych and brooding garage rock, these prolific dudes are completely committed to their craft. They aren't afraid to explore their ever-evolving sound on stage, making this show a guaranteed Sunday spellbinder. Tickets here.

Miroir Noir @ ATA, 4 pm, $10

The newly-crowned Grammy kings in the Arcade Fire are obviously one of today's most compelling bands (despite the general populace's confusion over who they are), and Miroir Noir––Neon Bible Archives captures just that. The band's endured years in the trenches before the top of the charts, and this Vincent Morrisset documentary looks back at the making of the excellent Neon Bible album and the tour behind it. Tickets here.

Check Noise Pop's full schedule here.