Emma Silvers

The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle on his first novel, unreliable narrators, and the joys of getting real mail

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John Darnielle’s brain seems like it runs at just a slightly higher RPM than other people’s.

One could get this impression from listening to the tightly crafted mini-universe he creates inside each track on a Mountain Goats record — take your pick, he’s penned some 14 full-length studio LPs inside the last 18 years, not counting a slew of singles and B-sides and other assorted treats — or from his Twitter feed, which zooms from his enthusiasm for black metal to witty commentary about televised wrestling to on-point, eloquent opining about Ferguson, vegetarianism, or abortion rights. Read more »

Tough decisions ahead: The Bay Area Record Fair, the Oakland Music Festival, and more

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Ever get so overwhelmed by all the awesome events in the Bay Area on a given weekend that you give up on trying to decide between any of them and find yourself just hanging with whomever you can get to come to your house to drink with you and your cats? Or, if you're feeling really adventurous, venturing 50 yards down the street to watch baseball at the closest bar with a TV?Read more »

Ruinous beauty

With a hook-filled, hard-charging new record, Bob Mould explores loss, acceptance, and looks, as always, to the future

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esilvers@sfbg.com

LEFT OF THE DIAL Bob Mould seems like a good multi-tasker. The legendary singer-guitarist is just signing out of a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session as he answers the phone in New York for our interview Sept. 9; he'll play at the Bowery Ballroom the following night.Read more »

Live shots: Beck christens the new Masonic

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It's not often that you get to see a new venue on opening night — so yeah, even if Beck hadn't been part of the deal, we would've been stoked to spend Friday evening at the newly refurbished and rebranded Masonic.

While it's not technically a new venue, it might as well be: After months of construction (and literally years of fighting with Nob Hill neighbors) the historic Masonic temple reopened this weekend with a new sound system, completely revamped stage and seating areas, new bars and concessions, a shmancy new VIP section, you name it. Read more »

Double Duchess is back, and this time they've brought Kelly Osbourne

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Is the drab Friday weather outside getting you down as you gear up for a weekend full of leather- and whip-filled debauchery?

Never fear! You just need a dose of Double Duchess, the Bay's favorite queer electro duo, who invited Kelly Osbourne to do a Jem and the Holograms-style bit in this video for "Good Girl Freak Out," which also features LA's Future People.Read more »

Dave Chappelle kept me up until 5am this morning and I'm still trying to process what just happened

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The first time I saw Dave Chappelle perform live was 10 years and three months ago, in a large, echo-y gymnasium at UC San Diego. It was my 20th birthday and I was so excited

This was June of 2004, and the comedian was at the absolute peak of his Chappelle's Show fame, which meant he suddenly found himself performing for sports arenas full of college kids who had neither the patience nor the decorum (nor the sobriety) to actually sit and listen to a standup comic performing material, choosing instead to holler "I'M RICK JAMES, BITCH!" or "WHAT!" and "YEAH!" in Lil Jon voices at random — in reference, of course, to their favorite Chappelle's Show impressions. Read more »

No thanks, Bono

Three new albums that should magically appear on your iPod in place of Songs of Innocence

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esilvers@sfbg.com

LEFT OF THE DIAL Amid all the geeky hyperventilating last week about the iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch, U2 — the Irish rock giants by whom the announcement of new music inspires roughly the same level of excitement as a new flavor of seasonal, sugar-free Starbucks latte, and among the same demographic — tried to pull a Beyoncé by dropping a new album out of nowhere. For free!Read more »

Locals only: Split Screens

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There's something overwhelmingly dreamlike about Jessie Cafiero's songwriting, to the point that it makes a listener feel like they're sleepwalking: The ebbs and flows of cinematic, orchestral pop conjure a surreal sense of nearly floating around one's city. It's not surprising, then, to hear that the singer-guitarist often draws inspiration from walking around these foggy hills of ours. Read more »

Viracocha is legit! Here are five things from the past five years that we wish we could've written about

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As you may have heard by now, Viracocha — everyone's favorite Never-Never Land of a music venue/spoken word performance space/speakeasy/antiques store/beautiful place to stop and use the bathroom should you find yourself having to pee on Valencia — has gone legit.Read more »

Go do this thing tonight: Tell Supes Chiu and Campos how to make SF nightlife better

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Are you sick of San Francisco being a town that shuts down at 2am (and more realistically about an hour earlier)?

Are you annoyed that people keep moving next door to music venues and then complaining when the music venues hold music shows that involve, you guessed it, amplified live music?

Do you enjoy ranting about these issues and more, both in person and in long, exceedingly negative Facebook posts?Read more »