Music

East Bay Beats

A new Oakland music festival aims to bring art downtown. Plus: If you still believe in college radio, KUSF still needs you

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esilvers@sfbg.com

LEFT OF THE DIAL Dayvid Michael, a West Oakland native and member of the Cali Made hip-hop crew, clearly has some mixed feelings about his debut record, Frienemy.

"I mean, I wrote those songs when I was 18," says the rapper, drinking boba milk tea during an interview in downtown Oakland. "I'm still proud of them, but I've learned so much since then."Read more »

All (really, all) are welcome

Composer Mark Growden finds his calling with the Calling All Choir

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By Whitney Phaneuf

arts@sfbg.com

Mark Growden had a passion for jazz and classical music from a young age, growing up in the small northeast California mountain town of Westwood. So he set out to be a composer. He only learned to sing as an adult — out of necessity, when his instruments were stolen — and only then did his rich baritone vocals become a way to book gigs and get his music heard.Read more »

Soul power to the people

Sharon Jones kicks cancer and hits the road with the Dap-Kings

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By Rob Goszkowski

arts@sfbg.comRead more »

On the Rise: Avalon Emerson

A playful combination of house and techno, preferably listened to on a big club sound system

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That delectable boom you hear on dance floors across the city and SoundCloud mixes throughout the cloud-cosmos, overlayed with an earworm diced-diva sample and frenzy-inducing keyboard clang? It's "Pressure," the January release from DJ and techno wiz Kahley Avalon Emerson (who goes by her last two names) on local label Icee Hot.Read more »

On the Rise: Friction Quartet

Post-classical determination

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Opening for infamously iconoclastic, 40-year-old Bay Area contemporary music heroes Kronos Quartet, as the young Friction Quartet did earlier this year, might launch even the most experienced string player into a bow-snapping fit of nerves. But the Friction foursome was built on determination and fearlessness. "I wanted to start a contemporary string quartet since I was in high school," co-founder and violinist Kevin Rogers explained. "Doug [Machiz] and I decided that if he ever moved to San Francisco, that we would form one together. Read more »

On the Rise: Rocky Rivera

"Golden Gate gangster of love"

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Take it from this one: Most music journalists are not secretly very talented musicians, toiling away in writers' clothes. Most emcees, of course, are not Rocky Rivera -- a San Francisco-born rapper whose love of hip-hop first took the form of a journalism career, including covering the Bay Area's hip-hop scene for this very publication, Rolling Stone, and others.Read more »

On the Rise: Astronauts, etc.

"Supermelodic pulp/arena pop"

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It'd be easy to resent Anthony Ferraro, the force behind Astronauts, etc., if he didn't seem like such an agreeable guy. In the months following his graduation from UC Berkeley last summer -- a time when many of us are flipping coins to decide between the barista job or the unpaid internship -- Ferraro had just become Toro y Moi's new keyboardist, and was juggling prep for their international tour with writing songs for his second solo EP. Read more »

On the Rise: Nu Dekades

"Sometimes the beat has a life of its own"

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"If Rakim and MC Lyte had a baby" is the short version, when you ask the Oakland duo Nu Dekades -- made up of writer-emcees RyanNicole and K.E.V., for Kickin' Every Verse -- for a description of their sound. But the longer version is worth hearing, too.Read more »

On the Rise: Tony Molina

Teenage Fanclub-inspired pop from a Bay Area hardcore veteran

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Hedonistic breakdowns and riffs similar to Thin Lizzy? Check. Songwriting and vocal delivery reminiscent of Guided by Voices and Weezer? Double check. These traits (along with a few other things) are what make for the musical genetic makeup of Tony Molina's bedroom pop solo project.Read more »

On the Rise: Annie Girl & the Flight

"Slow, hypnotic folk and/or loud, trance-inducing art-rock"

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The first time I saw Annie Girl & the Flight play, I started thinking about what it is, exactly, that makes a frontwoman: Annie Girl's voice is a disaffected sing-song (Mazzy Star meets Kathleen Hanna?) that belies a dark, jagged well of feeling at the heart of the music; that's surely front and center, layered over bandmate Josh Pollock's slow-building wall of guitar. Read more »