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Sizzle & Fizzle: Highs and Lows from the Last Week in S.F. Music 

Wednesday, Sep 28 2011


Bon Iver brought its woozy falsetto magic to a sold-out Greek Theatre and proved entrancing, casting songs from both Justin Vernon's lauded debut and this year's follow-up in rousing volume and increased presence — aided greatly by a nine-piece band. Vernon kind of stuttered through his between-song chatter, but the crowd ate it all up.

More than three years after going on hiatus, S.F. duo Two Gallants returned to the Independent, letting off their spare, grungy blues to an adoring crowd over two nights. Hearing Adam Stephen's desperate wailing matched by Tyson Vogel's heated pounding — and knowing they're going into the studio soon to record a new album — made for a poignant homecoming.

Maybe you know him as Tom Waits' sax man, but Ralph Carney is a delightful local artist in his own right — and one of the few jazz men who could double as a character in a James Joyce novel. His Serious Jass Project will perform music from its excellently old-timey (and surprisingly not really weird) new record this Friday at BeatBox.


After 13 years, Berkeley indie label Absolutely Kosher plans to stop releasing new music this fall, owner and founder Cory Brown announced. Best known for dropping important albums by the Wrens and the Mountain Goats, Absolutely Kosher was done in by titanic shifts in the music industry and the stagnated economy. Brown's last AK release will be a delicate folk album from Himalayan Bear called, appropriately, Hard Times, and due out Oct. 11.

R.E.M. proved just how classy and smart its members are and broke up, 31 years after it rose from obscurity to bring underground (or "college") rock to mainstream America. These guys issued adventurous rock 'n' roll like no other, and all but cemented their status as vaunted elders by throwing in the towel before totally spoiling their legacy. Take note, U2.

Facebook announced a partnership with Spotify, and plans to allow users of various streaming services to share the music they're listening to. You don't have to connect up and share, but if you do, be prepared for all the world to know how frequently you still listen to "SexyBack."

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