Ah, San Francisco: cold, dirty, expensive, and impossible to get around in. But, our mayor is so dreamy! Take that, Boise! Also, lately, lots of good music is coming from all sides of the Bay, and some of it lands in my always-worldly Top Ten this week. I know you don't need them because of the fog, but why not put your stunna shades on anyway, it's for fun.
10. Talib Kweli feat. Justin Timberlake "The Nature" (from Eardrum, out 8/21 on Warner)
(grab an mp3 from The Scramble Network)
Kweli may not have qualified for MTV's recent "Top 10 Hottest MCs" list (that controversially ranked Lil Wayne #1, and Kanye ahead of Fiddy!) but he's a towering hip-hop figure nonetheless. This mellow, soulful track gets a little "Lite FM" when Trousersnake pops in for the chorus, but Kweli's flow is perfectly calibrated, intense without shouting. Plus when the beat kicks back in at 4:23, wow.
9. Tarentel "Everybody F***s with Somebody" (from Ghetto Beats on the Surface of the Sun, CD version just released on Temporary Residence)
(stream at Aquarius Records' site)
Boy, "Sunshine" could have been such an awesome movie, but it had to turn into "Zombies in Space" instead. Dammit! Anyway, San Francisco avant-rockers Tarentel aren't fooling around with their title, and unlike some of their previous instrumental work, this isn't dreamy: it's dense, skittering, Krautrock-y, like Battles only less concerned with "songs," if you can believe it.
8. Foreign Born "Union Hall" (from On the Wing Now, out 8/21 on Dim Mak)
(grab an mp3 at BiBaBiDi)
This band originally came from San Francisco, although they're in LA now, so I suppose I shouldn't count them. Either way, the four-piece gain infinite points by prominently featuring an autoharp here. I love me some autoharp. The track starts off restrained, in Jesus & Mary Chain territory, and then erupts into a Band of Horses-style chorus. Check them out at a free show at the Echo in LA tomorrow night.
7. Nyles Lannon "Slipping" (from Pressure, out 9/18 on Badman)
(listen on his MySpace)
Hey, just a few weeks ago I featured Bay Area band Film School in the top ten; now here's achuckle!Film School graduate. Har!!! Ahem... he used to be in Film School. Is this thing on? Sheesh. Well, where his former bandmates have moved into a swirlier, almost goth-y direction, Lannon's reference points are more like The White Album, psychedelic and complex.
6. Modeselektor feat. Thom Yorke "The White Flash" (From Happy Birthday out in September on BPitch Control)
(mp3 via Beep Beep Beep)
On Yorke's solo LP, the electronic backing tracks seemed resistant to easy groovesthey were hypnotic, but you couldn't really dance to them. Here, Berlin duo Modeselector retains the experimental vibe, but adds a solid, if dubby, beat. Yorke's vocals devolve into a chant of "you have all the time in the world," and even though this track clocks in at 7:30, you kind of wish you did.