Worldly beats abound in S.F. this week: Halou, Gilles Peterson, One Block Radius, and the Cocteau Twins' Robin Guthrie

Those looking to ease their friends into the sounds of hip hop without scaring them off in a haze of gangsta posturing might do well to bring them to see L.A.'s One Block Radius, a trio that seamlessly crosses the boundaries of rap, dance, and rock without intimidating anyone, as evidenced by its recent debut, Long Story Short (Avatar Records). Singer Marty James (who rocks a delicious falsetto when he's getting extra funky, as on the Oran "Juice" Jones tribute "Black Mercedes") and DJ/producer MDA used to be in Scapegoat Wax, a band that worked with the Beastie Boys' now-defunct Grand Royal Records. Meanwhile, off-the-wall rapper Z-Man hails from San Francisco and released his solo debut, Dope or Dog Food?, last year via Hiero Imperium, the label run by famed Oakland hip hop collective Hieroglyphics. Thanks to a creative new video for the single "Loud and Clear," which is receiving airplay on MTVu (the station's college-focused network), One Block Radius may soon transcend its growing regional buzz, so check the crew soon, as in this Friday, Oct. 14, at the Elbo Room; call 552-7788 or visit www.elbo.com for more info.


Gilles Peterson is a DJ on Radio One, and he grew up idolizing the BBC station's late broadcaster John Peel, whose recent passing has left a void on the airwaves. Peel hosted frequent live performances (aka "Peel Sessions") that are now emulated in spirit by Peterson's "BBC Sessions" on his internationally syndicated program WorldWide. And while there will never be another John Peel, it is of some certain comfort that Peterson exhibits a similarly intrepid spirit, roaming across musical genres to assemble his weekly free-form playlist. The forthcoming Gilles Peterson Presents the BBC Sessions (Ether Records/BBC Radio) features diverse program highlights from folks like Beck, the Roots, Matthew Herbert, N.E.R.D., Zero 7, and Detroit-based soul singer Dwele, who joins Peterson for this tour, which features DJing and live music. Gilles Peterson waxes eclectic on Saturday, Oct. 15, at Mezzanine; call 625-8880 or visit www.mezzaninesf.com for more info.


Staying in is the new going out, except of course when talented recluses -- in this case local triptronica three-piece Halou and Cocteau Twin Robin Guthrie -- venture into the night for the rare live show. Halou's husband-and-wife songwriters Ryan and Rebecca Coseboom and its mysterious producer Count haven't put out an official release since 2003, but they've recently completed the score to Quality of Life, a film about one man's struggle with his graffiti art that opens locally Oct. 12. This show marks Halou's first public performance this year, and the group will be accompanied by Rasputina's Zoe Keating on cello. The audience can expect to hear a lot of new material but, alas, probably not Count's remix of Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" In what must be somewhat of a wet dream for the band, Guthrie, whose work as part of the Cocteau Twins is one of Halou's prominent influences, will also appear on the bill. Guthrie is readying a solo album, Continental; has remastered the collected Cocteau Twins singles for a forthcoming box set; and recently collaborated with Harold Budd to write the music for shock filmmaker Gregg Araki's Mysterious Skin. For this show he'll be presenting brand-new songs not on Continental with his laptop and guitar, which will be recorded for future release. Catch these infrequent performers on Monday, Oct. 17, at Mezzanine; call 625-8880 or visit www.mezzaninesf.com for more info.

 
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