Old Grandad
It's not often that Satan giggles like a schoolgirl. And you don't find many bands that claim humans are the other red meat or document drug dealers running from drug users. But San Francisco's metal threesome Old Grandad makes all of the above into weekly events that can be savored by fans and feared by Christians. Over the last five years, heartfelt ditties like "Urine Angel," "Blatant Drug Song," and "Don't Call Me a Deadhead" have breathed life into the local scene. Old Grandad's guitar riffs sear, their guttural vocals moan, and their great sense of humor keeps the band's heavy sound from collapsing on itself. The group's double-EP release, OGD EP and San Fran666co Bootleg, plays like a cross between The Satanic Bible and Marijuana Grower's Guide. The record starts with "I'm Frying on Acid," a heartwarming tale about a boy's search for marbles, and then touches on metalhead topics like pot, Satan, and, well, more pot. The second half of the record contains six live cuts from their first release, Vol. 666. The footage perfectly captures the experience of Old Grandad live: Singer/drummer Will Carroll does his best hellhound bark, guitarist Erik Moggridge stirs up sludgy metal leads, Max Barnett pounds his bass, and the audience chants in approval. Live, Old Grandad is the heavy metal equivalent of knocking back Ripple: You grimace when it goes down, but two hours later you're speaking in tongues.

Spike 1000
In the six years since Spike 1000 relocated to San Francisco from Bakersfield, their sound has been transformed into a blunt and heavy instrument. By staying intact through years of continuous gigging at the lower rungs of the local ladder, their constitution has been proven and their teeth cut sharp. Now, opening for bands like Korn and God Lives Underwater, Spike 1000 is finally starting to turn some heads. If they decide to smash those heads with a fusillade of heavy munch 'n' crunch rock, well, who can blame them? There are four members of Spike 1000 and all are accomplished players and good fun to watch, but the band is undeniably anchored by the presence of vocalist Shannon Harris. Sharing far more with Tool's Maynard James Keenan and the Deftones' Chino Moreno than with any of her female contemporaries, Harris has a voice that can blast your hair back one minute with volume and grit and then smooth it forward again with soul and sexiness. Of course, it wouldn't mean a thing if her band couldn't swing, and that's no problem for guitarist Bill Thompson, bassist Mike Hennick, and drummer Jeff Jones. As a group, Spike 1000 confidently stretches out heavy grooves into engaging four-minute ruminations on anger, frustration, and pain. Like the blues, heavy music about pain doesn't make you hurt -- it makes you feel better.

Hip Hop/Turntablist

The Coup
After a four-year hiatus, East Bay rappers the Coup are once again raising their political voices with wry commentary, stinging rhymes, and laid-back beats. The 6-year-old band took time off to raise families and fight what they see as racially unfair laws in Oakland, like the ban on cruising around Lake Merritt. The time in the trenches served them well: They've since produced 14 galvanizing new tracks for Steal This Album. The record starts with "The Shipment." DJ Pam the Funkstress drops a low-key harmonica line that slowly merges with rolling, funky beats with a country-funk feel. MC Boots punches out rhymes like a well-trained boxer, weaving and bouncing yet always coming in for the kill. On "20,000 Gun Salute," Boots tells the story of the only armed chapter of the NAACP and the relevancy that 1950s group has today. Politics aside, the new material still contains plenty of the Coup's incisive humor. (These are the same guys who parodied Snoop Dogg with "Genocide and Juice.") "See me rolling about town/ You might think I'm a star/ Every three months in a different car/ Like the other day in my '81 Datsun/ With my alternator ridding shotgun," Boots rhymes in "Cars and Shoes." Through both direct attack and sarcastic humor, the Coup definitely practice what they preach.

Invisibl Skratch Piklz
Not many five-piece bands can layer sound thicker than a full-on opera with one instrument. Then again, the Invisibl Skratch Piklz aren't your average band. They're the world's premier DJ collective in the emerging realm of turntablism, the genre of hip hop that uses snippets of other records to produce unique collages of beats, scratches, and voices. DJs Q-Bert, Shortkut, Yogafrog, D-Styles, and Mix Master Mike began rocking house parties 10 years ago, making a name for themselves by spinning everything from Eric B. & Rakim to Rush. Together, they essentially took scratching into a new realm. The collective entered and won every DJ competition for three straight years until contest organizers asked them to retire and allow other DJs a chance. Now the Piklz are at the top of their game, touring the world to showcase their talents and judging the very competitions they once ruled. When not on the road, members of the Piklz can be found injecting serious turntablism into both massive and critically heralded acts like the Beastie Boys and DJ Shadow. The latest full-length to come out of the collective is Mix Master Mike's Anti-Theft Device. To hear the CD -- and any of the other Piklz's musical collages -- is to immerse oneself in the future of hip hop, a place where deep beats envelop bits of funk and spacey vocal samples.

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