Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Middle Class, TV Ghost, and Dead Meat at Bottom of the Hill! 10/14/11

The Middle Class played San Francisco for the first time in decades Friday night. I was lucky enough to DJ the gig, so I snapped some photos. Check 'em out.
Dead Meat

TV Ghost

The Middle Class

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Quick Aside: Victim's Family/Street Eaters at Cafe Du Nord 9/30/11

Victim's Family, Bay Area weirdo punk institution, is back and playing shows these days. Kelly Kaos, friend of the blog, decided to head over to Cafe Du Nord on Friday to check them out with Street Eaters. Here's what she saw...

As I walked up to Cafe du Nord on Friday night, I heard what sounded like a girl band already blasting out of the doors from downstairs. It was rather early and I hadn't expected the show to start right at the stroke of nine. I sauntered down into the club and discovered that Street Eaters had already taken the stage. What I thought had been a girl band turned out to be the falsetto of John Geek and his life partner, Megan, who was pounding the drums as if she a guy three times her size. For a two piece, they made a lot of noise. Attendance was sparse (it was still early after all) but the few audience members there to enjoy it were appreciative all the same.

Next up was a band called Two Headed Spy. They were more of a straight up rock group, who seemed fairly competent. I could see why they were booked with Victim's Family. They had a similar sorts of guitar licks between lyrics, kind of a swooping, if you will. I can't say I minded them all that much, but they weren't my cup of tea. I went outside to smoke.

At one point I thought that I saw my friend Janna, so I went up behind her to give her a hug and it turned out to be a woman I don't think I ever met, but she and I went with the pretense of it and we spoke to each other like we had met at Thee Parkside in the bathroom line or something. Now I have a new best friend called Belinda, who followed me around. Always make sure you know who you're about to hug.

Victim's Family, the band I came to see, lived up to the expectation. The crowd was pretty excited too. Many of their most rabid fans were there to pay respects to one of the most long-lived old school punk bands in the Bay Area. The combination of punk/jazz and funk via Larry's git-down guitar slappin' style and Ralph's frenetic intellectual lyrics was intoxicating to both the crowd and the band themselves. You could tell they were having a really good time. Ralph was sweating profusely and drummer Tim was banging it out while Larry preformed a never ending dance with his bass. It was sublime for a Victim's Family fan. Even Jello Biafra was there, not surprising because Ralph is also presently playing with Jello Biafra and the Guantamano School of Medicine. It seemed that the sound was better way in the back of the club, even though you wanted to be up front where the pit was going on. You could even really hear Larry slap that bass from the ladies' room.

I hung out with John Geek and Megan from Street Eaters after the show and John told me that The Fleshies (John's old band) have a show coming up at some warehouse in the Tenderloin on Dec 9th. Keep your eyes out for that. I know I'll be going.

-Kaos Kelly

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


The first family man of hip hop is back with some video reviews! Without further ado....

Gym Class Heroes w/ Adam Levine "Stereo Hearts"

I’m a grown man so no surprise that I think this song is wack. You know who doesn’t think this song is wack? My 5 year old daughter. That’s clearly who this song was made for: girls ages 5 to 13. Its all good, they need music too. Gym Class Heroes need to check their hip hop pass at the door tho. They are about as hip hop as Linkin Park. This is one of those feature songs totally void of any real soul or emotion behind it. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say I bet Adam Levine and Travie McCoy spent zero time together in the studio working on this one. Levine sang a hook, shopped it, and these dudes had the highest bid. Insert pop hook here. I actually think Levine is a pretty talented singer, however.

Gucci Mane "Round One (Salem Remix)"

Have you ever liked something that sucks? Me too! Its called "Round One" by Gucci Mane. I guess that’s the true definition of a guilty pleasure. Just to clarify, Gucci Mane sounds like he’s drunk and cant hear the beat at all, however I do like the hella 80’s synthed out beat which adds a dark cinematic feel to the song. I picture this playing during that scene in a movie when the main character is going through a hard period in his life when he’s zonked out on some illegal substance heading for rock bottom before he comes out on top at the end. It has the feel of Miami Vice on Codeine.

Pusha T/Tyler, The Creator "Trouble On My Mind"

Pusha knows new hip hop math. Odd Future = YouTube views. This song is nothing special and has three million views. In my humble opinion, they deserve the attention. These dudes are one of the more interesting things happening right now in hip hop. I know the comparisons to Wu-Tang are well documented, but Tyler has to share some genetic connection with ODB. Seeing him hitting two wheels on a handicap cart while wearing a cast and making out with an old lady harkens back to some of the crazy shit Dirty did in his day (ie picking up a welfare check in a limo). Pusha is a member of one of the most slept on groups of the past decade and he is an afterthought in his own song due to the presence of Tyler. Also kind of weird to see the more veteran rapper try to be like the new dude on the block. Big brothers aren’t supposed to wanna be like their little brother. Come on Pusha, at least wear different socks.

Frank Ocean "Novacane"

We really are living in a drug culture when even R&B songs are about drugs. I doubt Smokey Robinson sang about poppin' Quaaludes. He is a member of OF so I guess its not too surprising. It is kinda sad though that dudes so young (some under 18 I think) are into such hard drugs. Aren’t you supposed to be smokin' weed in your parents garage at that age? The song is ok; has an "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins vibe. The video is crazy. Its a really good low budget video. I've never tripped but it appears to be a very genuine representation of what it must be like, as opposed to the spinning spirals and color changes usually used on TV. Now I know why they call it getting melted.

I realize that I write about what I don’t like quite a bit in the reviews so let me share a "try this instead" suggestion.

Aceyalone "Book of Human Language"

As crazy as it is to pick one song as a favorite, this might be mine. The perfect storm of music/beat, flow, and writing. Acey's ability to describe basic things in the most poetically creative ways is rare if not unparalleled. Most MC's are either very literal or try too hard to be abstract and end up being totally unintelligible (see Aesop Rock). I think real genius is easily understood. "Even though I trail with bread crumbs, I'll take it the Max Headroom" for example as a way to describe his trait of being both cautious and aggressive is real lyricism in my mind. Or describing fear as "your spacesuit's got a tear." Not the most common metaphor for fear but I can’t think of anything that would make me piss my pants more. The lyrics are delivered with genuine passion that only true MCs have when they write something they know is next level. Enough gushing over another dude, check it out for yourself.