Although Hot Chip’s precision beats sound rather different from Fleetwood Mac’s brand of dad-rock, the acts share one trait in common. They’re multipolar projects whose respective members have embarked on solo careers only to return to the mothership, and for Hot Chip co-frontman Alexis Taylor, a piano-centric independent career is now four albums strong. While Beautiful Thing, released in April, is certainly not a Hot Chip record — based on its dramatis personae alone — it bends back toward the source. Taylor’s unmistakable, affect-less voice can give listeners the false impression that he’s an art-school scenester having a laugh, but Beautiful Thing is set up as a vehicle for his unabashed love of pop schmaltz. It’s very circa-1980 Paul McCartney, with the synths that open “Oh Baby” sounding like the ex-Beatle’s “Temporary Secretary” before diving right into Wings territory.
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Once referred to by Iggy Pop as “the only current punk band I can think of that sounds really dangerous,” Iceage has proven in their decade of existence that there is more substance to their brooding post-punk than their rough and detached exterior would lead one to assume. The Copenhagen quartet formed in 2008 when all four members were frustrated teenagers who found inspiration in New York no-wave groups like Mars and avant-punk bands like Crass. Iceage’s 2011 debut album New Brigade introduced listeners to the blistering exuberance this young band could provoke, mixed with moody goth undertones. The group soon gained a reputation for their proudly chaotic and occasionally violent live shows, along with infamously awkward interviews, all of which earned frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt the title of “Rock’s Most Difficult Frontman” by The Fader. Iceage’s newly released fourth album Beyondless hears the band expanding into new sonic territory that incorporates elements of jazz and pop, but not at the expense of their now trademark ferocity. The band’s eagerness to develop their sound shows how Iggy Pop’s proclamation of Iceage being the only “dangerous” punk band is true, but perhaps in a different manner than he originally intended. - SF Weekly
One of the leading players in the Bay Area’s revival of psychedelic sounds that emerged in the wake of Comets on Fire and Six Organs of Admittance in the late ’90s, Wooden Shjips play their first San Francisco show in several years at Slim’s Friday. - KPIX / CBS Bay Area
California surf-noir combo The Buttertones just released Midnight in a Moonless Dream on Innovative Leisure, featuring more sonic vignettes inspired by film and early rock n’ roll. One of the standout cuts on the album is “You And Your Knife,” which is thick with moody atmosphere like a night drive down a lost highway. We’ve got the premiere of its music video, directed by Zack Bernstein, that makes good use of funhouse mirrors and a rooftop set. Watch that, and listen to the whole album, HERE. - Brooklyn Vegan
The Philadelphia band Sheer Mag channel the classic rock of the ’70s with the mustaches to prove it—and their live shows are out of this world. When I saw them a few years ago in the lobby of a tattoo shop, both guys and girls danced topless in the front row.
One thing about Sheer Mag is that despite sounding like 1976 Cleveland arena rock, they’re staunchly punk in spirit; they refuse to sign a record deal, they book their own tours, they put out their own records—and I like to think it’s paid off by preserving a lot of the fun that makes them special. - KQED Arts
Few death metal bands have had as much history under the belts as Morbid Angel do. Although they have had endless line-up changes over the years, they are now in their thirty-fifth year as a band and not only continue to churn out records but tour the world in support of them, all while remaining one of the most influential bands in death metal history. They recently released their ninth studio album Kingdoms Disdained, and are currently touring behind it, stopping off at Slim’s in San Francisco recently to deliver the metal to their longtime Bay Area fans. - SF Sonic
While still a relatively fresh name in hip-hop, elusive Brooklyn rapper SAINt JHN is no stranger to the music industry. Since 2010, he has lingered in the shadows, writing lyrics for the likes of Usher, Jidenna, and Hoodie Allen before taking the stage himself in 2016 with his debut single “1999.” Born in Brooklyn, JHN spent much of his formative years in Guyana, which influenced his artistry and flow, claiming in an interview with Billboard, “To have the background of being in Guyana gave me a really specific type of influence. Because dancehall music is really melodically driven. Sometimes, the subject matter is a bit harsh, so I can borrow from both of those things.” Collection One, JHN’s debut studio album released in March, is just as much of a reflection of JHN’s upbringing as it is of his career in the music industry. Stylistically, JHN’s flow balances rapping and singing, with standout track “Reflex” exemplifying the strength of his voice. Lyrically, JHN bounces between braggadocio and confessional thoughts, never giving the false pretense he is rapping as a character. - SF Weekly
Chris Corner’s synthpop / dark electronic pop project IAMX stopped by San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall this past Monday, May 7th, in promotion of their latest album, ‘Alive in New Light’. Touted as, ‘An Evening with IAMX’, the show featured moody, minimal electronic music and projections setting the tone before the band hit the stage, as well as an extended performance celebrating the band’s discography. - Geoffrey Smith II / SF Weekly
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“This ain’t jazz rap, this that spaz rap,” Ritchie with a T angrily spits into the mic on “Oh Sh*t!” the opener off Injury Reserve’s 2016 debut album Floss. For the Arizona hip-hop trio, the line is a tongue-in-cheek response to the often-repeated observation that the group shares superficial similarities with legendary jazz rappers A Tribe Called Quest. While all members admit to the inspiration, the similarities end there. Injury Reserve works in a bizarre realm of hip-hop, and hardly sounds like any other contemporary group— let alone one from the Golden Age. In a 2017 interview with Complex, Injury Reserve they spoke candidly about their sound — and all three members claim Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is their biggest influence — but their unique style comes from the mere fact that “Phoenix doesn’t have a hip-hop scene,” Ritchie claims. The group found themselves at house shows playing alongside EDM DJs and punk bands in equal number, seamlessly fitting into every niche to be found in Phoenix’s music scene. Through the internet, Injury Reserve’s unusual yet innovative style found a passionate and growing fanbase, and the group’s new EP Drive Like It’s Stolen shows the group’s unmatched potential. - SF Weekly
An all-star punk-metal quartet that reunited two virtuoso members of the legendary experimental band Fantômas returns to the Bay Area when Dead Cross takes the stage at the Great American Music Hall Wednesday night.
The quartet performed its first live shows last summer, headlining small theaters (including its local debut at the UC Theatre in Berkeley) and making several festival appearances that earned Dead Cross kudos for ferocious blasts of intensity the band delivers from the stage. The group plays the Great American Music Hall Wednesday night ahead of a scheduled date in Mexico and a planned summer tour through Europe. Opening the show will be Mamaleek, a shadowy, experimental black metal outfit allegedly made up of two anonymous brothers who arrived in San Francisco via Beirut and mix elements of jazz, electronic and Middle Eastern music into their eclectic, menacing stew.
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British art rock quartet Django Django appears at the Great American Music Hall on Saturday, April 28, hot off the heels of two weekends in the desert at this year’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival (or the first-ever Beychella, if you will). The group — producer-drummer David Maclean, vocalist-guitarist Vincent Neff, bassist Jimmy Dixon and keyboardist Tommy Grace — is known for its genre-bending ethos, featuring strong rockabilly, Jamaican dancehall and pop influences.
The band is on tour following the release of its third full-length album, “Marble Skies,” which recalls much of the homespun charm that characterized Django Django’s 2012 self-titled debut, an album recorded in Maclean’s bedroom. With the latest work, the group steps away from the expansive sound of its second album, “Born Under Saturn,” to create new material that is well-honed and attentive. Los Angeles indie pop artist Ofelia K supports. - SFGate
Near the end of a 20-minute phone call from Los Angeles, Alice Glass, the former frontwoman of the electroclash band Crystal Castles, goes quiet. She says she has been feeling “a little bit frazzled” throughout the interview.
(That’s only been occasionally apparent with a few hesitant pauses and asides like “Does that make sense?” or “No, wait …” or “I’m just trying to put into words ...”)
“I really didn’t do a lot of interviews before,” Glass says. “It’s just something I really want to do more of because I remember reading different music magazines and things when I was a kid, and it made me really interested to learn about new music.”
Given the circumstances under which she left Crystal Castles, that sentiment has a deeper significance: Alice Glass has found her voice, and she’s ready to use it.
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Hip-hop relies on constant experimentation, and the brutally intense punk hip-hop duo Ho99o9 (pronounced horror) sound unlike any other artist either in hip-hop or punk. Rappers and longtime friends theOGM and Eaddy formed the group in Newark around 2012, equally influenced by figures like Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Rob Zombie — and these unlikely antecedents can be heard in the duo’s blistering releases. Ho99o9 earned a cult following with two thunderous EPs in the years leading up to their 2017 debut album, United States of Horror. It’s 45 minutes of unhinged aggression, with a sonic range that includes hardcore punk anthems to heavy industrial beats, with both theOGM and Eaddy taking turns spitting violently unforgiving bars. Although technically a hip-hip duo, Ho99o9’s mosh-friendly sound is likely to appeal to those who follow hardcore punk rather than hip-hop. But hip-hop fans should still give the duo a listen, as Ho99o9’s shocking and socially critical lyricism along with their boisterous presence make them unique in either genre. - SF Weekly