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Friday, December 26, 2014

DJ Benjamin Vallery on Two Decades of Playing Undergrounds and Embracing Young People in Dance Culture

Posted By on Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 4:27 PM

MICAH WEISS
  • Micah Weiss
For the past two decades, DJ Benjamin Vallery has been spreading his love and knowledge of playing solid house grooves up and down the West Coast. Growing up in Seattle in the ‘90s, he was exposed to a melting pot of music and rave culture just as it was hitting the Northwest. In 1999, he moved down to L.A. where his musical career truly took form when he became roommates with Marcus Edward. Together they formed the BodyrockDJs, who notoriously threw underground parties for almost a decade.

Moving up to San Francisco in the summer of 2009, Vallery took a solo approach to his career, and has since become a local favorite and is an esteemed resident of local collective ForwardSF and Slinky. We caught up with Vallery about his DJ history, favorite DJ gig, and some New Year’s resolutions. He plays Friday, Dec. 26 at Underground SF and New Year’s Day at Mezzanine for Sunset’s New Year's Day Dance Party.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Our Favorite Local Hip-Hop Releases of 2014

Posted By on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 10:40 AM

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As promised (for a cranky mini-dissertation on how lists are dumb, check this list first): Here some of SF Weekly's favorite hip-hop releases from the past calendar year. Want to support the local music scene? Go straight to these artists' websites and buy the actual records. (And go here and here for lists of the rock and electro-ish variety.)

Souls of MischiefThere Is Only Now

Oakland represent! Twenty years after the release of the iconic 93 ’til Infinity, the East Bay kings of hip-hop put out their sixth studio album. There Is Only Now is ambitious, and it succeeds largely on the effort of producer Adrian Younge, a producer who’s quickly becoming a go-to name in hip-hop. Dude is J-Dilla good (real talk) and drops classic soul samples throughout. But A-Plus, Tajai, Opio, and Phesto are still steppin’ to the mic with conscious rhymes, tackling relevant themes like police brutality and the justice system with multiple appearances from Busta Rhymes and Snoop Dogg. This is a money hip-hop release — bump the deluxe version of the record with a second disc of instrumentals. Adrian Spinelli

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Our Favorite Local Electro-ish Records of 2014

Posted By on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 9:28 AM

On the freshman class honor roll for sure: Cathedrals. - HONEYUCK
  • Honeyuck
  • On the freshman class honor roll for sure: Cathedrals.

First, go read this cranky mini-dissertation on lists. And now that we've gotten that out of the way: Below are some of SF Weekly's favorite records from the past calendar year in a category we've decided to call electro-ish (a direction many a synth-happy indie-rock band went this year). Want to support the local music scene? Go straight to these bands' websites and buy the actual records. For a seasoned expert's thoughts on the local EDM scene over the past year, check out Chris Zaldua's column in this week's paper. (And go here and here for lists of the hip-hop and rock 'n' roll variety.)

TychoAwake


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Our Favorite Local Rock Records of 2014

Posted By on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 7:52 AM

Mark Kozelek: Haters gonna hate. Sometimes they also write beautifully dark rock records.
  • Mark Kozelek: Haters gonna hate. Sometimes they also write beautifully dark rock records.
Lists! Who doesn't love lists? Well, this writer, for one. As I wrote in this week's issue, there's something inherently ridiculous about year-end lists that claim to pick a supposed king of all records. Taking someone else's opinions to heart on the subject of which music is better than other music requires ignoring everything we know to be true about the meaninglessness of hierarchy in art, not to mention the limits of genre, and the vastly uneven playing field of branding, internet marketing, streaming services, and hype on which bands now must attempt to make their music heard.

With that in mind: We have some lists for you, duh. Here some of SF Weekly's favorite rock records from the past calendar year. Want to support the local music scene? Go straight to these bands' websites and buy the actual records. (And go here and here for lists of the hip-hop and electro-ish variety.)

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Last-Minute Gift Ideas From Bay Area Rappers: Boots Riley's Screenplay and E-40's Sluricane

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Sluricane. As E-40 says, drink responsibly. Also maybe blindfolded. - VIA E-40 ON FACEBOOK
  • via E-40 on Facebook
  • Sluricane. As E-40 says, drink responsibly. Also maybe blindfolded.

One of the best things about the Bay Area's rich history in hip-hop is the vast spectrum of styles it encompasses — and there's no more timely illustration of that breadth than two brand-new non-musical items released this month by two veterans of the East Bay scene: The Coup's Boots Riley, whose anti-capitalist stances and revolution-centric lyrics have made his politics known far beyond his native Oakland, and E-40, the Vallejo-born rap godfather who presided over the hyphy movement's ascent to the mainstream in the mid-2000s.

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5 Christmas Songs For Deviants

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 8:47 AM

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If you're the type of person who cringes every time you hear the gentle waft of Michael Buble's Christmas; the kind of human who wants to put your face through a stained glass window every time you catch a couple of bars of Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas is You", well, we sympathize. And we know that, while everyone else feels festive to the sounds of Sinatra and Martin doing traditional favorites, the only effect it has on you is the desire to listen to Slayer really, really loudly. As such, we thought you might enjoy something a little bit different as the big day approaches. By which we mean, the special combination of Christmas and abject filth. That's right — what you're about to hear are five musical renditions that are both festive and NSFW. Enjoy the wrongness! 

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Monday, December 22, 2014

New Year's Eve Around the Bay, By Budget

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Terry Malts will rock the Hemlock on New Year's Eve for a perfectly reasonable $12-$15. - GINA CLYNE
  • Gina Clyne
  • Terry Malts will rock the Hemlock on New Year's Eve for a perfectly reasonable $12-$15.
It’s just over a week away, and you’re still wondering what to do on New Year's Eve this year. Maybe you’re even contemplating staying home in PJs and sipping cheap bubbly straight from the bottle while waiting for the ball to drop on TV because, hey, you just can’t be bothered to sift through the hundreds of events happening all over the Bay — nor are you willing to shell out the $200-plus for one night of bad club remixes, amateurs drinking and stumbling around in high heels and sequins, and the high probability of a fight and/or someone puking in a velvet-roped VIP area.

But don’t give up quite yet! This year's NYE options actually include some pretty sweet-sounding lineups at our local venues. Here’s a guide to events that won’t break your piggy bank.

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R.I.P. Joe Cocker

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Joe Cocker, one of the true greats, 1944-2014.
  • Joe Cocker, one of the true greats, 1944-2014.

Joe Cocker, the British blues-rock singer known for his unmistakable, gravelly voice, wild stage presence during live performances, and soulful covers of popular rock songs — most notably his rearrangement of The Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends," which reached No.1 in the U.K. in 1968 (though anyone born after 1980 probably first encountered it as the theme to The Wonder Years) — died today at age 70 after a battle with lung cancer, his publicist confirmed to BBC News

Born in Sheffield in 1944, Cocker began singing at age 12 and played in bands throughout college. At the helm of the Grease Band, he embarked on his first U.S. tour, appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show and playing Woodstock in 1969. The following year, after dissolving that band, he formed a new group, allegedly to fulfill contractual obligations for another U.S. tour. Thus began the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour, a marathon at sprint-pace through 48 cities with 30 musicians, including band leader Leon Russell, three drummers, and highlighting backup singers Rita Coolidge and Claudia Lennear on vocals — a crew that drummer Jim Keltner later described as "a big wild, party."

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Live Review: Kitka Casts Spells at Old First Church

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 8:11 AM

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Kitka
Wintersongs
Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014
Old First Church, San Francisco


If saccharine Christmas carols about Rudolph and Frosty make your chestnuts grow cold, then Kitka's for you. At the Bay Area choral group's annual "Wintersongs" celebration at Old First Church, veteran bandmate Janet Kutulas called out "Frosty the Snowman" for what it is: a holiday melody so "hideous that when you hear it, you feel like killing someone." The packed house laughed knowingly.You will never hear banal pop tunes at a Kitka concert. For the past 35 years, this internationally recognized women's vocal ensemble has developed a massive repertoire of Eastern European folk songs, presented as a joyous reminder that musicmaking is a sacred act and a communal celebration. "These songs cast spells," said Shira Cion, the group's current artistic director. "They are blessings. They have power." Kitka offers them as an uplift in the darkest hours of compulsory holiday shopping at stores with sorry Pandora seeds.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Listen: Erase Errata's "My Life in Shadows"

Posted By on Fri, Dec 19, 2014 at 4:54 PM

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We've barely had time to catch our breath after jumping for joy when Sleater-Kinney announced their S.F. show (now two dates, May 2 and May 3) at the Masonic. Now, another of our favorite badass lady trios has announced its first full-length in eight years.

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Slideshows

  • Pritkin Mansion 2014
    Browse through the eclectic Pritkin mansion. Photographs by Nathaniel Y. Downes.
  • Rock Scully Tribute 2014
    Moonalice and Fall Risk perform at Slims on December 20th for the Rock Scully tribute. Photographs by Jamie Soja.