Silversun Pickups | Carnavas
Caught a killer SSPU set last night at the Rickshaw. Really loved their set, much better as a headliner than an opener. Don't know too many of the song titles, save for Sammy's "song of last year" called "Kissing Families," but pretty much liked everything they played, love the energy created by yelling in my face mixed with subtle melodies. They were so excited by the headlining slot, they played an extra long encore and even took requests. I think it's easy to make that comparison to the sound of the Smashing Pumpkins on first listen, but the more you listen, the more they grow into their own. Songs like "Lazy Eye" perfectly mix the bass, guitars and vocals and at this time, this is the favorite on the album. Plus, the female bassist Nikki is sublime, so quiet and shy yet dropping nimble bass bombs, she rocks. - TK

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My Morning Jacket | Okonokos
It would not be a lie if I said we had been waiting 318 days for the double live album to come out, since the two MMJ shows at the Fillmore that this CD was recorded at were the best of the year. Wait no longer, Okonokos sounds as good as the shows were last year. Two-Tone Tommy's bass just pops when "It Beats For You," right in sync with Patrick Hallahan's drums, showing this is the best rhythm section in the game today. Bo Koster's bouncing keyboards make "Anytime" a good time. The guitar intro is beautifully pronounced on favorite "Lowdown" but screams while keeping it "Off The Record." Carl Broemel's guitar screams "Lay Low" but he shows another side of his musicianship with a killer sax solo in "Don Dante," I can remember right where I was standing at that point, next to sister Rachel, the stage awash in green leaves. So, yeah, for the memories this music continues to conjure, this is a top 10 record of the year. Everything Jim James touches turns "Golden." - TK

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Up From The Catacombs: The Best Of Jane's Addiction
Dynamic synergy made them one of the most influential metal-funk-rock bands of the '90s. This best-of collection confirms that the whole is certainly greater than the sum of its parts, as Dave Navarro's crunching, psychedelic-tinged guitars seamlessly fuse with Perry Farrell's funky vocals, Stephen Perkins' arresting rhythms and Eric Avery's pulsating bass work. The compilation amasses tracks from their 1988 debut to 2003's Strays. Highlights include the alluringly erratic "Three Days" and a live Lollapalooza version of "Jane Says." - Steph B

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The Black Crowes | Freak 'N' Roll... Into The Fog
I love it when sick local shows get remastered and released as CD/DVD combos! Taken from The Black Crowes' five-night run at our local shrine, the Fillmore Auditorium, in August 2005, Freak 'N' Roll... Into The Fog features the four-piece Left Coast Horns (superb on "Only Halfway To Everywhere") and a pair of backing vocalists augmenting the band's definitive lineup. With jaw-dropping interplay between guitarists Rich Robinson and Mark Ford, sparkling keys from newly departed Ed Hawrysch and an exceptional vocal performance from Chris Robinson, the Crowes make the case for being the greatest rock band of their generation. This double album is two hours of proof. - S.G. Zwickel
One Band Cover: "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"

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Ratatat | Classics
Ratatat is coming to SF! Can you rock it on a Monday night? If so, do yourself a favor and meet me at the Great American on the 18th! Yes, every cool band seems to be a duo right now, but this one will blow your mind. Flavorpill writes, "Brooklyn duo Ratatat garnered well-deserved hype for their eponymous debut album, but no one was sure how they would top those soaring tracks...Fortunately, the boys hitched up their pants and turned the dial to "epic": their latest is a hazy mirage of unabashedly anthemic tunes, with acoustic and slide guitar, cello, and what we swear are harmonizing buzz saws swimming amid dizzying, layered atmospherics." True dat, the record is kinda great, and it's about time these Brooklyn electrohipsters came to the west coast. Let's turn it out on Monday and maybe next time they return on a weekend for a blowout. - TK
One Track Recommendation: "Wildcat" Grrrrrr!

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TV on the Radio | Return to Cookie Mountain
The last two weeks have been the two busiest weeks of the year for new albums. Not sure why TV on the Radio pushed their US release date to this week, but the Return record is eclectic enough to stand out- it's got heavy drums and strange whistle/clap/fuzzbox noises from David Sitek, plus the requisite dual-layered vocal attack of Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone. Here's what McGuirk wrote in his Rhapsody review:
Blonde Redhead, Roxy Music, Outkast and god knows what else are on the list of influences you'll find on this second record from these indie rock subversives. Along with Arcade Fire and Animal Collective, TV On the Radio are recording highly avant-garde pop music that threatens to make indie rock worth listening to again. And they're garnering attention from such big shots as David Bowie, who contributes backing vocals on "Province," and Trent Reznor, who took them on tour with Nine Inch Nails. - MMcG
One Track Recommendation: Beach Boys meet Beelzebub on "A Method"

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Dr. Dog | Takers and Leavers EP
Dr. Dog was so freakin amazing last Saturday at the Du Nord. The band evokes some kind of bursting feeling inside, whenever I see them perform "Wake Up" it is like an epiphany that just makes me want to hold hands with the shoegaziest of the indie rockers and tell them like the things in your head, they are only what they seem, and embrace them for their ways, for we are only part of a dream. The band's label just loved what S.G. Zwickel wrote about their Takers and Leavers EP in last week's SF Weekly:
"Smug indie rockers, bare-footin' post-hippies, hooked-on-hooks pop junkies — can't they all just get along? Dr. Dog says yeah, they can, and the Philly five-piece offers this six-song EP as the soundtrack to the icebreaker. Like with any first encounter, there's gonna be some initial awkwardness, and in this case it comes in the form of unabashed exuberance. Dr. Dog's hazy, harmonized pop is sunnier than summertime, played with what could be considered lethally low levels of irony. This exuberance, young hipster, is to be savored, not feared. As is the deliciously sticky songwriting, compact but swollen with pithy turnarounds, tiny guitar solos, and surprise crescendos — like a new brand of bubblegum that somehow makes you smarter."
Give it a whirl, if you only have time for one song, and you live where I live, and you love like I love, then stream "California" now! Trust me, you'll like the whole thing, 'extended play' means it's only six songs long, every track tasty in it's own way, Philly-style. - TK

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The Format | Dog Problems
Not sure why I just heard about this record a month ago, but since I popped it in, it's been in heavy rotation in my world. Pretty much every song is catchy in a Ben Folds-meets-Freddie-Mercury kinda way and worth a few listens (am I becoming a power-pop fan? or is this just good music?) The harmonies and orchestration are sure to win you over, if you can discern them, then the witty lyrics will (I also hate corporate magazines). First grabber is probably "Time Bomb" and I love how it flows into "She Doesn't Get It." In fact, that is one thing I totally love is the sequencing, how songs move from one to the next, also present after "Dead End" into "Snails" too. And who doesn't love songs about happy snails? Snails see the benefits, the beauty in every inch. - TK

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Pinback | Nautical Antiques
Through the first half of the '00's, the interlocking guitar lines and harmonized vocals of Pinback quietly became one of the most in-demand indie rock sounds in America, even if this feat was overshadowed by bigger boys like Modest Mouse and Death Cab. This collection of outtakes and rarities probably won't lure any new fans, but existing acolytes will find plenty to enjoy, including an early demo of "Seville" that reveals the band isn't always airtight, and a charming little ditty in "Versailles" based around some piano chords (rare for these guys). -GK

Also Worth Streaming: the 2004 Pinback masterpiece Summer in Abbadon is also now live in Rhapsody. Really such a perfect album all the way through, bookended by "Non-Photo Blue" and "AFK." Find me a better pre-sunrise album and I'll blog that too. - TK

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