As the fable goes, Kristine Flaherty’s transformation from bookish Stanford student to hip-hop dervish K.Flay started on an innocent dorm room dare. While studying for degrees in psychology and sociology, she was lamenting the sorry misogynistic state of modern rap to a classmate, who challenged her. Read More
Comic book superheroes have been plagued by an existential dilemma for decades: Where does, say, fictional millionaire Bruce Wayne end and his vigilante alter ego Batman begin? Or vice versa? It’s the same problem that scholarly, mild-mannered musician Chris Carrabba is confronting. For the past 12 years, he has recorded and performed as outgoing Dashboard Confessional, and has been branded the tattooed tough guy of the emo movement. “Dashboard is a strong reflection of who I was as a young adult,” says the serious songwriter, 36. “But I’m not a young adult anymore.” Read More
Jamie Scott is only 27. But on “Colours” — the upcoming debut of Graffiti6, his duo with producer TommyD — the Brit has the poise, vocal delivery and soul-steeped songwriting skills of an older, wiser artist. Yet tracks such as “Free,” “Stare Into the Sun” and “Annie You Save Me” sound mature because Scott, a showbiz vet, recorded his first solo CD, “Soul Searching,” at age 20. Two albums later, Graffiti6 is not his first rodeo, Scott admits. “I’ve done this a few times before. But this one feels good, feels different than the rest of them.” Read More
Living a secluded life in rural upstate New York, 10-time Grammy nominee Meshell Ndegeocello has happily divorced herself from the pop-cultural zeitgeist. Her neighbors are farmers, she says, “So I’m learning to plant things myself, and I have no interest in TV anymore because anyone who does is just an automaton.” Still, the bassist’s career is booming. Read More
Phoning from his home in Los Angeles, English Beat bandleader Dave Wakeling — who plays Bimbo’s in The City on Saturday — yawningly apologized for sounding a tad tired.
“But last night, I had to do two songs for a ‘Scooby-Doo’ cartoon, and I’m absolutely exhausted,” he explained.
“This was my first opportunity to do anything for television as a gun for hire, and I actually managed to record and mix two songs in 12 hours. It was like running at double speed with no brakes, but it was exciting, and Warner Bros. really loved them.” Read More
Rapper Asher Roth loves retelling a heartwarming true holiday story that’s going around his native Philadelphia.
Outside a subway stop, an old man is accosted at knifepoint by a street thug, who demands his wallet. The fellow complies, but calls the kid back to offer him his coat, too.
“He says, ‘If you’re out here jacking and stealing, you might as well be warm,’ and then he invites him out to dinner,” says Roth, who appears in The City today, likely playing material from his 2009 debut, “Asleep in the Bread Aisle,” featuring the hit “I Love College.” Read More
She never used to think of it as a yuletide custom. But this season, Exene Cervenka, frontwoman for legendary Los Angeles punk band X, decided to make it official. “Now it’s become a tradition that X plays the Bay Area for Christmas and New Year’s, and that’s just the way it is,” she says. Read More
When The SF Examiner spoke to young British belter Adele last January, she was laughing about crazy promotions she was doing for her then-upcoming sophomore recording “21” — like flying on a snowstorm-buffeted puddle jumper into the Midwest to perform for executives of Target and Best Buy, chains that supported her debut, “19.” Read More
That was it, thought Primus leader Les Claypool on Jan. 1, 2011. He had played 20 annual New Year’s Eve concerts in San Francisco, and enough was enough. Everybody around him, including his wife and kids, told him, “OK, now it’s time to stop, because you’re usually stressed about the holidays.” But the madcap bassist, who just released “Green Naugahyde,” the first new Primus studio album in over a decade, simply changed his mind. “I thought ‘I’ve crossed the finish line, to an extent. Read More
A few years ago, Oakland-bred rapper Kreayshawn — who was born Natassia Zolot — was an at-risk kid, living a sketchy existence of “trapping” — dealing drugs on the fly from the trunk of her car — and gradually sinking into even shadier pursuits.
Left to her own devices at 15 when her musician mother Elka (of Bay Area garage-rockers The Trashwomen) moved to Canada, the high-school dropout was beelining straight to juvie, jail or maybe something far worse. Read More
On March 11 of this year, Japanese art-metal mavens Dir En Grey were hard at work on their eighth operatic effort, “Dum Spiro Spero,” in a studio just outside Tokyo.
The next day, everything changed. The great East Japan earthquake hit, a devastating 8.9-magnitude temblor that sent 133-foot tsunami waves traveling up to six miles inland, claiming nearly 16,000 lives. And the band was suddenly faced with an incredibly grave decision: whether or not to even continue the sessions at all. Read More
Chris Cornell should be thoroughly exhausted right now. He just wrapped a sprawling reunion tour with his legendary Seattle grunge combo Soundgarden, and is currently tracking their 2012 comeback album, as well. On his own, he also recorded a new song called “The Keeper” for the soundtrack to Marc Forster’s “Machine Gun Preacher” biopic. Read More
For American-born, British-based keyboardist Tori Amos, there’s no such thing as playing it safe.For her new 12th album, “Night of Hunters,” the erudite daughter of a Methodist minister uses Robert Graves’ book “The White Goddess” — and a shapeshifting character called Annabelle — to examine the fall of female-centered Celtic mythology (and deities like Morrigan and the huntress Arduinna) to male-dominated monotheism. Read More
What a difference a year makes. At the close of 2010, members of Auckland rock combo The Naked and Famous were innocents abroad, wide-eyed Kiwis who – thanks to sudden international interest in their debut “Passive Me, Aggressive You” – finally were being invited to tour the world.
They come back to San Francisco for two sold-out concerts as seasoned vets, underscored by a recent triumphant return to their homeland, where they won five New Zealand Music Awards, including Album of the Year for “Passive” and Single of the Year for the synth-frothed smash “Young Blood.” Read More
It’s a small but classy touch that Kooks acolytes might not even notice at first: the large-print words “thank you” adorning the booklet of the British quartet’s ebullient comeback recording “Junk of the Heart.”
But the heartfelt message is directed straight at them.
“It sounds a bit corny saying it out loud, but the fans have been so there for us through this whole time, when we were going through hell,” says frontman-songwriter Luke Pritchard. “And we truly do appreciate it so much. To still come back to the U.S. and sell out venues is really cool.” Read More