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

Sizzle

• Theatrical pop-rock band Fun. played two S.F. shows last week, and showed that it's got more going for it than hit single "We Are Young" (which you probably heard first on Glee or a commercial during the Super Bowl). With a dynamite singer like Nate Ruess and inspiro-anthems like "Some Nights" up its sleeve, expect this outfit to have a bright future.

• Bay Area rhyme acrobat Gift of Gab was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, but it isn't slowing him down. The Blackalicious rapper put out another studio album last week, The Next Logical Progression, and has many more projects in the works. Meanwhile, a friend has offered a kidney donation, and Gab is planning to have the transplant within the next year.

• Local label 4 Men with Beards has given itself a difficult task: Rescuing worthy but obscure albums from larger labels' archives and reissuing them. Since 2001, the San Rafael outfit has put music by artists like John Lydon and John Cale back into circulation on 180-gram vinyl, where it deserves to be. Props to founder Filippo Salvadori, the one man with a beard.


Fizzle

Earl Scruggs, legendary banjo player and a regular at San Francisco's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival, died at age 88 in Nashville. Scruggs was a pioneer of the instrument, developing a three-fingered plucking style that was eventually named after him. He was also a favorite of late Hardly Strictly founder Warren Hellman, who invited Scruggs to play the festival every year from 2005 to 2011.

• Due to nasty, homophobic connotations overseas, Berkeley-founded indie poppers The Morning Benders were forced to change their name. Unfortunately, their new moniker — Pop Etc. — is one of the worst band names we've heard in a while. It's vague and nonspecific, but a way that reminds of halfassed music blogging. "Music Etc." would have been way funnier.

• In a feat of batshit list-making, the city of Concord was claimed to have one of the country's top 10 music scenes. The website Livability compiled a list of music towns that aren't L.A. or N.Y.C., skipped a bunch of obvious ones, and started off their list with a suburb that has summertime concerts in the town square. The website's favorite thing about Concord? "Its residents are a mere 30 miles from San Francisco!"

 
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