I'm mid-interview with Sam Brown and Zach Cregger from the sketch comedy troupe The Whitest Kids U'Know, searching for the words that might explain what makes them hilarious, as if they needed one more testimonial. They don't, of course — their IFC show and millions of YouTube video fans are proof that something they're doing is working. But what is it, exactly, that runs through all of their sketches?
For one, they know when to not say "When." They'll often take ideas and extend them and milk them until no surplus jokes remain, and then they'll milk it a bit more.
This minimalist duo has won praise from folks at NPR and Spinner while perfecting a specific blend of Americana, 1950s classic folk and compelling narrative. They've been compared to Ryan Adams and Iron & Wine, and it fits — their soft hush affects on multiple levels, a mind/body/soul trifecta.
We hope some noise canceling earplugs were in your Christmas stocking, because the sounds of the Bay are gonna amp up a notch or two this week with New Year's concerts cropping up everywhere. Here's our our top 7 picks for ringing in the New Year with a ring in your eardrums:
Scanning the local concert calendars on this particular pre-Christmas week is usually a good way to find some of the hardest working musicians in the game. There’s a certain amount of dedication required to brave the winter road, away from home and family. It’s also a great time to find local acts squeezing in gigs while home for the holidays. Here we are again, at the end of December in 2011, with dependable examples of both, five of which make us especially grateful for this calendarian coup de tat.
This is usually the time of year when music fans hibernate until NoisePop rears its eclectic, beautiful head. Not this year. Here we are, in the middle of December, and venues are still spelling out recognized and beloved names on their marquees. Here’s this week’s roster:
If you’ve ever watched the Discovery Channel trivia game show “Cash Cab,” and found yourself thinking “hey, this host is kind of funny,” well, that’s because he is. Ben Bailey, he of the mighty testosteroned voice, shaved head and 6’6” frame, got his start in showbiz by standing up on a stage telling jokes to strangers — before he made a living driving a casino-lit NYC cab around asking strangers questions.
Not many rock bands seem wholly comfortable in their mid-career britches, when the street cred can begin to fade and the artistic edge becomes susceptible to dulling. But count My Morning Jacket — which played a sprawling 23-song set Friday night at the Bill Graham Civic Center — among the impervious rock bands aging gracefully and suitably (see also: Wilco, Radiohead, and, incidentally, another band who played Bill Graham over the weekend, The National).
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