A tribute to the cowbell


Indulge us for a moment as we pay tribute to one of the greatest elements of the percussive world: The Cowbell. Many successful Indie Dance Songs feature steady, driving beats influenced from either from rock or from dance music. DJ Blondie K from Fringe says that “the ones that really move people on the dance floor are the tracks that mix steady beats with looser percussion elements. The push and pull of the rhythms is what makes people want to get out there and dance.”

DFA recording artists like LCD Soundsystem and The Rapture took this technique to great success with songs like “House of Jealous Lovers”, which feature cowbell and other dance percussion mixed with punk rock grooves. Remixes of songs by the Twelves, MSTRKRFT and RAC use live percussion to transform straight ahead songs by artists like the Two Door Cinema Club and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs into dance floor favorites.

DJ subOctave who was been a drummer long before becoming a DJ says, “We love all percussion but there is something about the cowbell that can cut through a mix and has a attitude that is edgy and fun. ”

Fringe DJs Blondie K & subOctave will be playing an indie rock tribute to the Cowbell and percussion based grooves this Saturday January 30th at Pops Bar. Check out the promo video:

Check out this week’s full entertainment line up at Pops Bar:


Why are there so many good summer jams coming out right now?

First there was the new song by Still Flyin’, and now there’s this:

The full Still Flyin’ album came out on Friday and it is tiiiight through and through fyi, and Ben Pearce (with drummer Nate Brown) has a record release show at Brick & Mortar Music Hall here in the Mission on Wednesday evening.

Just close your eyes and pretend it’s summer!

[via The Bay Bridged]

Peaches at Pop’s!


This Friday at Pops Bar, we are thrilled to welcome back the supergroup of all female, bay area, hip-hop DJs: Peaches! DeeJays Pony P & Smokey Rose from the Peaches Lady DJ Crew are holding down a Tag Team DJ Set All Night – Dropping hip hop classics, club bangers and bay area rap. Guaranteed to keep the dance floor jumping!

Check out the rest of this week’s entertainment line up at Pops Bar:


Cavalcade of weirdo punk this weekend at the Ss Records 15th anniversary party


Here’s all about the very special lineup:

Friday January 15

100 Flowers: The original line-up of this legendary band will be playing their songs. Morphed from the legendary Urinals, 100 Flowers made one perfect LP and a handful of stellar eps, singles, and comp tracks. They ended in 1983 and have since played only a handful of times, most recently for the reissue of their lone album on Superior Viaduct. This is the original line-up of the band 100 Flowers reassembled just to play SS15.

Spray Paint: Our Texas friends will be back on the West Coast recording with Chris Woodhouse, so I convinced them to do one show while they are here. Spindly avant-punk of the Nth degree, the yolksters always come through live. This will be their one and only West Coast appearance.

Pony Time: Luke and Stacy are Pony Time, a splendid and inventive rock & roll duo who remind me of the Troggs and Wounded Lion and something I have yet to figure out, which is why I am crazy about this band. They have two records on Per Se and their third will be releases February 2016 on Ss.

Screature: Shimmering guitar, brooding organ, stripped down kerplunk,a nd a hellish howl makes Screature the Central Valley’s best band going. Their most recent album – Four Columns on Ss Records – has gotten raves from all around the interweb (Noisey, 50thirdand3rd, TheQuietus, etc.). Great live band, too.

DJ: Ryan Wells

Saturday, January 16

Lil Bunnies: Fathers of Hippity Hop, legends in their own minds, the world’s first super group consisting of nobodies, masked revengers, Lil Bunnies walk among us for the first time since 199???. What to expect…

Life Stinks: “San Francisco’s last punk band” – though truth be told, Life Stinks has spread their disease across the Bay Area. Their first album is one of Ss Records’ favorite releases and their second is coming any day. Great live band that just keeps getting better.

Ozzie: Man, I was surprised when these guys said Yes. Ozzie started in the mid-Seventies and ended in the 1980s (documented on the Ss release The Parabolic Rock). They created some classic proto-punk/glam/new wave tunes and are one of the greatest rock & roll bands in the history of my hometown Sacramento. They played once seven years ago when Parabolic Rock was released and were great! This will be their first time playing since then and the first time they’ve played San Francisco since 1979 (at Mabuhay Gardens).

Andy Human & The Reptoids: Andy and his reptilian pals just played with Timmy’s Organisms and all reports said that Andy & ‘toids left the place stunned. No surprise. The talent here is tip-top, the band is a damn rock & roll bulldozer. Their debut album on Ss was released late Spring 2015 and continues to get worldwide praise. The French love it, the Italians love it, the Japanese love it, ‘mericans love it. Pitchfork called it one of the best records of the summer.

DJ: Mitch Cardwell

RSVP and get tickets!

Please rock out to this new Still Flyin’ song featuring DJ Purple on sax!!!

That sax! Be sure to party with DJ Purple every Thursday at Slate Bar, or also on January 23rd at Rickshaw Stop for the return of Singin’ & Pingin’!

And preorder the whole new Still Flyin’ album here.

All the songs I sang at karaoke in Tokyo on my birthday last week


From time to time I like to share lists of songs I’ve sung at karaoke over a given period, mostly to express to the uninitiated how possible it is to go to karaoke and sing lots of your favorite songs — weird stuff too, not just big hits.

Once you know that, you can start going to karaoke all the time and reveling in its transformative powers, come out of your shell, become a better person, etc.

Here’s everything I sang in a little bar in Tokyo’s Golden Gai district at my birthday party last week:

  1. Rebel Yell – Billy Idol
  2. Touch Me - The Doors
  3. Sunday Morning - The Velvet Underground
  4. Darlin’ - The Beach Boys
  5. Maybelline - Chuck Berry
  6. I’m Not Like Everybody Else - The Kinks
  7. Out of Time - The Rolling Stones
  8. Material Girl - Madonna
  9. Every 1’s A Winner - Hot Chocolate
  10. Young Americans - David Bowie
  11. Reflektor - Arcade Fire
  12. Don’t Think Twice - Bob Dylan
  13. Working for the Weekend - Loverboy
  14. The Boys Are Back in Town - Thin Lizzy
  15. Pink Triangle - Weezer
  16. Minority - Green Day
  17. Red Hot Moon - Rancid
  18. New York City Cops - The Strokes
  19. Perfect Day - Lou Reed
  20. Rocky Raccoon - The Beatles
  21. Alison - Elvis Costello
  22. Burning Love - Elvis Presley
  23. Daria - Cake
  24. Work to Do - The Isley Brothers
  25. Debaser - Pixies
  26. Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding

It was the first time I ever sang a Bowie song. I’d always been too hesitant because it seemed like messing up a Bowie song would be too much of a bummer, but when I saw “Young Americans” in the songbook and I was with a bunch of young Americans and had had a lot to drink, it seemed like a good idea.

If you want to sing some karaoke soon, I might recommend doing it at Pop’s this Friday with Roger Niner (who has an incredibly extensive songbook) or at Singin’ & Pingin’ at Rickshaw Stop on the 23rd with DJ Purple (who puts on a very special “Dance Karaoke” party).

It’s all Bowie all day at St. Francis Fountain

Here’s an approximation of what it’s like in case you can’t make it before closing time:


Hop on Pop’s (home of Roger Niner karaoke this Friday night)!


[Editor's note: Woohoo! Karaoke returns to 24th Street once again! And Roger Niner has TONS of Bowie fyi.]

Time to GO EPIC or GO HOME with ROGER NINER KAROAKE this Friday at Pops Bar! “I’ll open your mind, shake your ass, shuffle your shizzle, cast you off, reel you in, rent out your heart to a loving couple, make tea in your soul, rake your leaves, find you a puppy, melt your brain, solve your puzzles, get you off The Island, take your temperature, sooth your aching nerves, reach your stars, bend your perception of space/time, AND give you back $0.97 in change, all in the name of Rock and Roll BAY AREA KARAOKE!” – Roger Niner

Check out this week’s entertainment line up at Pops Bar:


All the songs I sang at karaoke in 2015


Numbers-wise it’s only a handful more than the time I sang 45 songs in the month of May 2014 alone, but I sang a lot of good stuff in 2015.

It started with a pair of songs at the first Karaoke Underground party in San Francisco, and grew and grew from there. Highlights (besides the KU stuff) included “96 Tears” which was surprisingly awesomely fun to do even though it’s real simple, “Diane Young” because the baby-baby-babys are so fun, “Surf Wax” because the audience loooooved it so hard, “Honey Bunny” because I mean c’mon GIRLS, MAN, and “Police on My Back” because it was my final song of 2015, on New Year’s Eve in Shibuya and it was awesome.

The point of this list and this post is to encourage everyone to do more karaoke! I got into somewhat late in life, like when I was 28 or something, and I hope to help others avoid this pitfall. Karaoke is killer and it will improve your life, I promise. Here’s the full list:

  1. Christina – Oblivians
  2. I’m Not An Animal – The Blind Shake
  3. Brandy You’re A Fine Girl - Looking Glass
  4. Conquest - The White Stripes
  5. I Don’t Wanna Dance - Eddy Grant
  6. Go West - Pet Shop Boys
  7. Victim of Love - Erasure
  8. Motherless Children - Eric Clapton
  9. Back to the Shack - Weezer
  10. Seasons - Future Islands
  11. Fall Back Down - Rancid
  12. Girl U Want - Devo
  13. Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again - Angels, The
  14. 96 Tears - ? and the Mysterians
  15. You Might Think - The Cars
  16. What Do All the People Know - The Monroes
  17. Diane Young - Vampire Weekend
  18. Don’t You Want Me - The Human League
  19. Virginia Plain - Roxy Music
  20. Surf Wax America - Weezer
  21. What Ever Happened? - The Strokes
  22. Army - Ben Folds
  23. Annie Waits - Ben Folds Five
  24. Veronica - Elvis Costello
  25. You’re My Best Friend - Queen
  26. More Than A Woman - The Beegees
  27. Rivers of Babylon - Boney M.
  28. Next to Me - Emeli Sonde
  29. Take Me to Church - Hozier
  30. Dance the Night Away - The Mavericks
  31. End of the Line - The Traveling Wilburys
  32. Cruel to Be Kind - Nick Lowe
  33. She’s Got You - Patsy Cline
  34. Walk on the Wild Side - Lou Reed
  35. Rasputin - Boney M.
  36. Live and Let Die - Paul McCartney
  37. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da - The Beatles
  38. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart - Elton John and Kiki Dee
  39. Someday - The Strokes
  40. Oh Yoko - John Lennon
  41. Getting By - The Rentals
  42. Honey Bunny - Girls
  43. Rich Girls - The Virgins
  44. Myth Takes - !!!
  45. Blank Generation - Richard Hell
  46. Marquee Moon - Television
  47. Someday - The Strokes
  48. Undercover of the Night - The Rolling Stones
  49. Living for the City - The Dirtbombs
  50. Don’t Pass Me By - The Beatles
  51. Shoop - Salt ‘n Pepa
  52. Take Me Back to Your House - Basement Jaxx
  53. Relax, Take It Easy - MIKA
  54. Police on My Back - The Clash

I particularly recommend, if you’re looking to do karaoke in San Francisco, doing karaoke at DJ Purple’s world-famous “Dance Karaoke” party, every Thursday at Slate Bar in the Mission ;)

[Photo by The Karaoke Underground]

Here’s a rare sight: DJ Purple out from behind the decks, on the mic!


Me and my pals at Jameson Irish Whiskey threw DJ Purple a 50th birthday bash-slash-holiday party (at J. Rusten Furniture Studios, which, incidentally, may not be located in the Mission for very much longer; throw yourself a party there asap while you still can) on Saturday night, and it was epic.

As a special treat for himself (and everyone in attendance) DJ Purple got KJ Paul to come in and assist on karaoke duties so that the birthday boy could step out and sing some stuff for once! It was historic.

Here’s some video:

DJ Purple does his patented “Dance Karaoke” party every Thursday in the Mission, at Slate Bar on 16th Street, don’t forget.

Here’s one more pic of the party:


[Photos and videos by Luke Spray]