Listen: Ben Chasny and Donovan Quinn Have an Eerie New Single, "The Killers and Me"

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Well this is creepy.
Ben Chasny, of local outfits-of-note Six Organs of Admittance and Comets on Fire, has a new project with Donovan Quinn of twisted folk-rock outfit the Skygreen Leopards. Together they are New Bums, and have a debut full-length, Voices in a Rented Room, coming out this Feb. 18. The first single from the album is a haunting ballad called "The Killers and Me,' which combines hushed, nearly-whispered vocals, a lonely piano, and beautiful acoustic guitar work under a disorienting storyline. The accompanying black and white visuals are rather nightmarish: there's a messy apartment filled with odd art, guns, and people doing strange things. The whole thing has the air of a crime scene -- which, well, is appropriate:


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Watch: A Mini-Doc on Carletta Sue Kay, Possibly S.F.'s Most Indescribable Band

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Carletta onstage
Describing the particular allure of a performer or a kind of music isn't often easy, but some acts make it harder than others -- and usually that's to their credit. San Francisco's Carletta Sue Kay is such a performer. The plot-level summary of what this act is doesn't really work, because Carletta Sue Kay is so much more than a man in drag singing old-seeming, wounded songs in an incredible voice. The best way to explain it is to simply show it to people. And that's what Out of Focus TV's Loren Risker and Tina Liao have done in a new, 10-minute mini-documentary about Carletta Sue Kay. The final installment in a series called American Music, their Carletta film blends interviews with Carletta's Randy Walker and others -- including fans and noteworthy local musicians -- with electrifying footage of the band onstage. If words often seem unable to capture the spirit of Carletta Sue Kay, this documentary comes closer. Check it out:


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The First Annual Bay Area Record Label Fair (Yes, B.A.R.F) Is Happening Next Month

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A better kind of barf
Barf! It means something to everyone. But to S.F. Bay Area music nerds, it now ought to mean something rather different -- and, we should say, better.

The Bay Area Record Label Fair is reclaiming the acronym B.A.R.F. for its first-ever gathering next month at Thee Parkside. At least 19 local record labels will be plying their output, along with representatives of such fine music retailers as Aquarius Records, Explorist International, and ye olde Amoeba Music. Local bands Cocktails and Dog Party are playing live sets. It's basically a day party with lots of merch. The whole thing is free and all ages.


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CCR Headcleaner Eats Food Out of the Trash While on Tour, But Not Because They Have To

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CCR Headcleaner plays Thursday at Great American Music Hall.
CCR Headcleaner thrives on obstacles. Guitarist Alex Gargile is a quarter short for a cup of coffee. He's a part-time horticulturist up north, but not lately. Drummer Justin Flowers and bassist Mark Treise slouch against Community Thrift on Valencia St. where the second guitarist, Ned Meiners, is about to break for lunch. They look weary, wince at the sun, and dress like depositories for the thrift shop's rejected wares. A block away, Flowers predicts that his rent-controlled apartment will be sold soon.

But despite the many crises and trials detailed in our interview, the quartet still laughs a lot. The band insists that elation lives in the twisted heart of its brazenly loud and lumbering rock 'n' roll. CCR Headcleaner's debut full-length -- a dense barrage of woozy Southern riffs and turgid feedback -- bares the hopeful title Lace the Earth with Arms Wide Open. The album's positive reception and a recent tour with Ty Segall's power-trio Fuzz shows a career upswing, and the band is opening for White Fence and Parquet Courts at Great American Music Hall this Thursday, Jan. 23. But the chaos marking the quartet's four-year existence still lingers, even if they have to create it.


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Stream: Happy Diving's Debut EP Scratches Your '90s Fuzz-Pop Itch

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Happy Diving
Last week, we acquainted you with the charmingly blown-out fuzz pop of newish East Bay trio Happy Diving, which conjures memories of such halcyon '90s bummer-rock outfits as Weezer, Dinosaur Jr., and Guided By Voices. (Or Yuck, for you young'uns.) After grabbing the eyeballs of Pitchfork with the single, "Sincere," and following up with the excellent "Never Been," Happy Diving this week releases its debut self-titled EP via the local Father/Daughter label: four songs of deft songcraft, postadolescent angst, and stomp-boxes turned all the way up. The band is four dudes in their early 20s -- Matthew Berry (Guitar/Vocals), Matthew Yankovich (Guitar), Mikey Rivera (Bass) and Samuelito Cruz (Drums) -- who started playing together after their previous projects fell apart. Recorded with Jack Shirley at the Atomic Garden studio on the Peninsula, Happy Diving is four songs of ear-bleeding pop-rock, with vibes and melodies that belie the band members' apparent youth. Stream the EP below -- you can download it tomorrow and get a cassette version Feb. 18:


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Listen to Pow!'s Hi-Tech Boom (Since You've Already Complained About S.F. Gentrification Today)

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Everyone in this town is talking about the same thing: displacement, gentrification, how all the bands/artists/middle-class people/minorities are leaving -- you know, that stuff. Well, now San Francisco's actual music is talking about it, too. Pow! is the new Castle Face Records band whose press release last week included an epic rant from Thee Oh Sees' frontman John Dwyer about the current stage of S.F. His musings were unusual for a press release, but then the album confronts these issues head-on -- it is, after all, entitled Hi-Tech Boom. Consider this a buzzing, gloomy, synth-punk fit about the state of San Francisco in the form of some pretty compelling songs. The official release isn't until Jan. 14, but you can stream the whole thing right now at Purevolume. We recommend you do -- and start with the title track.


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Waters Joins Winter Residency Madness in S.F. With a Run of February Shows

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Thumbs up to the best city in the world
Wintertime is residency time here in San Francisco's clubland. Look around and your small rooms are filling up their calendars with local groups playing weekly shows for cheap. This month, you can see Mark Matos and friends do their Americalia thing Mondays at Elbo Room, or head to Amnesia on Tuesdays for Loving Cup's residency series with Farallons and other outfits. We've just heard news of another residency we're really excited about: Next month, the tremendous and under-heralded S.F. band Waters will be playing every Monday night with a full complement of musicians at Brick and Mortar Music Hall.


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Santana Reunites With Homeless Former Band Member After Seeing Him on TV

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KRON 4
Santana and Malone, reunited
Over at KRON 4, observer of people behaving badly (and SF Weekly cover subject) Stanley Roberts just pulled off a real-life Christmas miracle. While shooting a report on illegal dumping in Oakland, Roberts interviewed a homeless man named Marcus Malone, who, Malone said, was an original member of Carlos Santana's blues band, but had gotten thrown in jail just before Woodstock, and just before the band caught its break.

Roberts went back, filed his report, and put Malone on TV -- where Santana, who was watching, saw him.

Turns out Malone wasn't kidding.


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Warren Hellman Museum to Hold Holiday Hours Next Week, Shut Down for January

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Michael Pedro, caretaker of the Warren Hellman Museum
The Warren Hellman museum behind Slim's will close for good at the end of this month. But if you want to take a peek at the museum's exhibits before that, it will hold special holiday hours next week, and will be selling Hardly Strictly Bluegrass merchandise as well.


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Listen: S.F.'s Ghost & Gale Will Soothe Your Monday Blues

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Ghost & Gale release their EP at Amnesia this Thursday.


Sonoma natives Brodie Jenkins and David Luning are both formidable singer-songwriters in their own right: She's currently one half of the S.F. electro-pop duo CATHEDRALS; he fronts his own Americana act, the David Luning Band. But in harmony, the indie-folk duo's voices -- his full of old-soul gravel, hers silvery and bright -- go somewhere else entirely. Their debut EP, out Nov. 14, is mood music for a rainy drive up the coast or, um, any other dreamy situation in which you might normally listen to Iron and Wine but maybe want more of a kick in the pants.


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