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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Earworm Weekly: Fun's "We Are Young"

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 11:11 AM

  • Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
  • The boys of Fun.

When Fun’s song “We Are Young” first broke in early 2012, I took an instant dislike to it. This was partly because it sounded slow, heavy and ponderous. The other part of it was that Nate Ruess' braying voice is just not my cup of tea. Plus, the subject matter – tales of blackout drinking to numb feelings of heartbreak – does not appeal to me (I'm a lifelong teetotaler). Admittedly, my knee-jerk music-snob reaction to watching something rather “blah” become a monster hit might also have played a role in my distaste for the song.

But “We Are Young” ended up being a huge hit anyways. It was everywhere – on the radio, in television commercials (during the Super Bowl, twice), on talk shows, during the closing credits of movies and season finales, and in relentless live appearances by the band. It was used on Wrestlemania. It was covered by Glee. It topped the US charts for six straight weeks and went to number one in the UK, Australia and Canada. It currently sits at number 99 on the all-time Billboard Top 100 list. A still from the video is now in the dictionary next to the word “ubiquitous.”

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Greetings From Your New All Shook Down Editor

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 4:20 PM


Dear All Shook Down readers,

I’m all shook down to be the new editor for this blog.

No, that sounds dumb. Let me try again:

Yo, All Shook Down readerz,

Whaddup? Howzit? Guess what?! I’m the new editor 4 this blog! Like, OMG!

Ugh, nope. Last try:

Hey, readers,

As you probably have been able to surmise by now, I’m the new editor for All Shook Down. And I suck at introductions. I guess I’m just not used to writing about myself. I mean, sure, there was that time when I wrote about wearing pasties at Electric Daisy Carnival, or that other time when I wrote about hanging out with Lil Debbie backstage before one of her shows, but those stories weren’t really about me. And this, apparently, is. Or, at least that’s what it’s supposed to be about.

So, here goes.

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Tonight's Best Bet: Lila Rose, Yassou, and There's Talk at Starline Social Club

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 2:13 PM

  • OIM

Starline Social Club
has been a bit of a haunt for me lately. Even living in San Francisco, I've found the BART ride to Downtown Oakland and short walk to Starline to be totally chill. Walking in to the comfortable main bar area, with tables lining the walls, a DJ playing mellow tunes, and bomb cocktails at the bar, is an inviting experience. 

The facility has been totally remodeled from it's grungy past and now feels like, well, a social club. The upstairs show-space has a smaller bar setup of it's own and a large stage in the corner. Tonight, this will be the scene of Oakland-based label Oaktown Indie Mayhem's showcase featuring Bay Area artists Lila Rose, Yassou and There's Talk. Better yet, it's only $10. Here's some ear candy:

Oakland's Lila Rose makes sultry indie pop and her set is tabbed as a "Full Multimedia Theatrical Performance." Peep the video for "Confessions":

Yassou is led by mesmerizing vocalist Lilie Bytheway Hoy and are premiering their new EP at the show. They've put together some artistic videos like the Ocean Beach dream-like sequence of "To Sink":

Olivia Lee's There's Talk project creates gazy atmospheres through Lee's comforting vocals and digital instrumentation that shines. I dig the drum sequencing in "the Salt" (below) and they'll be dropping a new single at the show:

Oaktown Indie Mayhem Presents
Lila Rose
There's Talk
Starline Social Club
Friday, November 20th, 8pm-12am. Tickets $10

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Take A Plunge Into Them Are Us Too's Synthy "Noise Bath" This Saturday

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 1:39 PM

The ladies of Them Are Us Too - KRISTIN COFER
  • Kristin Cofer
  • The ladies of Them Are Us Too

On a red-lit stage inside a hip, suburban Los Angeles venue, Them Are Us Too concludes the final stretch of its three-part tour. Over the past month, the Bay Area alt-rock duo traveled from San Diego to Texas with Dais Records labelmates Drab Majesty, crossed the Rockies back west, then journeyed across the country and back again with dark rock purveyors Wax Idols.

"I kind of like the brutality of it," says singer/synthmaster Kennedy Ashlyn, 22, of the touring life. "I feel like I'm being stripped to my core, and all of a sudden, this raw energy kind of comes out in a way that I kind of dig."

Though the road takes its toll — Ashlyn says she wakes up with new bruises every day — there is no sign of weariness as Them Are Us Too hit the stage tonight. Best described as a minimalist shoegaze band, the duo sounds like a mix between experimental artists like Godspeed You Black Emperor and the dramatic pop of Kate Bush. Ashlyn hits high notes one after the other, as her eyes roll into the back of her shaved head. At one point, she shifts to guttural screams before banging the shit out of the small drum kit next to her. Cash Askew, 21, is no less visceral when she doubles over her guitar, wavy locks veiling her face as the sequined trim of her jacket glitters under the stage light. On stage, the girls take what Askew calls “a noise bath,” their guitar-synth sounds washing over the crowd, and, on Saturday, Nov. 21, they'll be bringing that same "bath" to Oakland's Good Mother Gallery.

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This Week: Tragedy at The Bataclan

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 1:09 PM

This time last week, coordinated terror attacks across the city devastated Paris. Of the 129 people senselessly murdered, 89 were at an Eagles of Death Metal concert at The Bataclan Theatre. As survivors and first responders share full details of the horror that unfolded inside the venue, the music world has spent the week publicly struggling to comprehend how and why this happened — and how to move forward now. Bands also paid tribute to friends they lost in the attack, like British merch guy Nick Alexander, as well as three Universal Records employees. In place of our usual end of week quotes blog, this week, we'll focus on the aftermath of the Paris attacks.

Peace. Love. Metal. 

  • Eagles of Death Metal

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

DJ Xander on His Darkwave Party Dancing Ghosts and Why He Takes Requests

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2015 at 3:59 PM

  • Angyl Nihthasu

Every third Friday of the month, fans and lovers of darkwave music convene on the shadowy dancefloors of SoMa’s Cat Club for a party aptly named Dancing Ghosts. Started by DJ Xander in 2007, the event showcases artists such as The Cure, Joy Division, and Bauhaus, and also takes song requests from attendees. Guest DJs for Dancing Ghosts have even drawn from oft-featured artists, such as Andy Rourke from The Smiths and, most recently, Jello Biafra from Dead Kennedys.

We got a chance to talk with DJ Xander about the spooky dancefloor atmosphere, popular requests, and what’s coming up for Dancing Ghosts. The party takes place this Friday [11/20] when it will be partnering with The Witching Hour for a battle of the decades at Cat Club.

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The Top 5 Parties in San Francisco This Weekend: Joey Anderson, Pachanga Boys, Gesaffelstein and More

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2015 at 3:48 PM

Joey Anderson brings psychedelic house music to Monarch on Friday, Nov. 20.
  • Joey Anderson brings psychedelic house music to Monarch on Friday, Nov. 20.
We Are Monsters presents Joey Anderson at Monarch, 9:30 p.m.-3 a.m. Friday, Nov. 20. $10-$15;

What is "deep house?" That's a difficult question to answer, and it depends who you're asking. These days, it's common to see the term bandied about with little rhyme or reason, adorning flyers for bottle-service club nights, or used to describe the pop-house crossover plied by hugely popular artists like Disclosure. For purists, "deep house" belongs to a specific sub-type of house music that incorporates influences from soul and jazz, adding heady, conceptual flair to music otherwise designed to move the body. These days, artists producing this kind of soulful, cerebral house music are much more rare than the widespread overuse of "deep house" would suggest, but they're out there, if you dig a little bit below the surface — like Joey Anderson, part of an extended family of New York artists that includes Levon Vincent, DJ Qu, Fred P, Jus-Ed, and more.

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Noise Pop Festival Announces First Wave of 2016 Lineup

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2015 at 7:25 AM


Noise Pop announced the first wave of its 2016 lineup yesterday, and even though no big headliners have been announced yet, you can still go ahead and color us effectively excited about this first slate. Noise Pop Fest isn't just something you must hit up, but also one of the year's most vibrant events in the local music scene. Here's why:

Now in its 24th year running, February's Noise Pop Fest has always been an intimate festival where you can see artists playing before they get huge. I'm talking shit like Modest Mouse and The White Stripes at Great American Music Hall, The Shins at Bottom of The Hill, and Grimes at Rickshaw Stop. All of these were Noise Pop Fest shows in years past. Even at last year's fest, Ben Gibbard played an intimate solo set at the brand new Swedish American Hall.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Moment of Truth: Catching Up With Peanut Butter Wolf

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 1:18 PM

  • Isaac Sterling

Peanut Butter Wolf and his Stones Throw Records label are a part of the very fabric of hip-hop today. Among the label's hundreds of releases are classics like Madvillain's Madvillainy, J-Dilla's Donuts and Lootpack's Soundpieces: Da Antidote. Wolf is Chris Manak, a San Jose native who owns and operates the Stones Throw label in L.A., but graces the Bay Area with appearances on the regular. And every show promises something unusual, engaging and intriguing for hip-hop heads.

The last time Manak was in the Bay, he dropped a “Breaks and Beats” set at Brick & Mortar Music Hall of all 45rpm vinyl recordings. It was a unique explosion of funk, soul, and hip-hop that left a memorable PB Wolf imprint on the crowd. This Sunday, Manak is dropping a set at Social Hall SF. We caught up with him after a show he played in El Paso. He shed light on the state of the vinyl industry, Kanye West appearing in the Stones Throw documentary, and some exciting upcoming releases for the label. Check it:

You cool with me calling you Chris, or should I call you Wolf?

Anything but Peanut [laughs] The French call me Peanut, The English call me Wolf, and the Japanese call me Peanush Buttah.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

We Talked to Ian Astbury of The Cult About Budweiser, Reincarnation, and OK Computer

Posted By on Tue, Nov 17, 2015 at 3:20 PM


Ian Astbury is not shy. Ask him about a bass player being replaced, and you'll get his thoughts on reincarnation, Francis Bacon, and U2. At one point he asks whether singers need thesauruses anymore, and at least in his case, the answer is assuredly no. The lead singer of The Cult spoke with me on Friday, hours before the devastating attacks on France took place. I can only imagine the scope of our conversation had we spoken after those tragic events. Touring ahead of the release of their newly-announced tenth studio album, Hidden City, which lands on February 5, 2016 from Cooking Vinyl, Astbury gave me his thoughts on the new record, the two that precede it, and just about every other topic one could possible conceive. Our 15-minute interview last an hour, and I'm grateful for every minute of it.

The Cult plays tonight at the Warfield with Primal Scream. 

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