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Stories by Brett Uddenberg

The Church of Jurado in North Park

A couple hundred people gathered, sitting on the floor of a North Park church to listen to a solo acoustic performance from Seattle's Damien Jurado. Though not without a cult following, the half-full Irenic spoke ...

November 11, 2016
Atmosphere casts its line at the Observatory

Atmosphere's tour began with a broken down van just outside of Saskatoon, but smoothed out quickly with a string of sold-out shows leading into Friday night's gig at Observatory North Park, which sold out weeks ...

September 30, 2016
Yoni & Geti park the Testarossa at Casbah

Serengeti and Yoni Wolf’s second collaborative full-length, Testarossa, is a concept album speaking to the difficulty inherent in maintaining a relationship across distance, specifically in a profession requiring perpetual travel, and of the longing, infidelity, ...

July 22, 2016
Chili Peppers' Getaway doesn't get too far

Following the commercial high-water mark of Red Hot Chili Peppers' By the Way, it's been a decade plus of funk-rock mediocrity from an aging band with a formulaic sound. The average listener's impression of the ...

July 1, 2016
Open Mike Eagle and Serengeti join forces as Cavanaugh

For two artists who met back in the early '00s at Southern Illinois University and have undeniable chemistry as indie rappers with a penchant for exploring human sadness with wit and humor, it's surprising that ...

January 8, 2016
Atmosphere: Beats, rhymes, alcohol & women

My last trip to catch Atmosphere at the House of Blues some five years back marked the last time I would see the enigmatic wordsmith Eyedea perform before his untimely death. Following inspired sets from ...

September 11, 2014
Sufjan, Serengeti, and Son Lux are Sisyphus

The debut full-length from Sisyphus, an amalgamation of three disparate indie forces (Sufjan Stevens, Serengeti, Son Lux) commissioned by the Walker Art Center, is grounded in a thesis Sufjan relayed in a prerelease interview on ...

May 9, 2014
Kanye West's Yeezus

Early reactions to Kanye West’s provocative sixth album, Yeezus, had some outlets calling him a revolutionary and others an egotistical prick obsessed with material excess and expedient croissant delivery. The reality may lie somewhere in ...

June 28, 2013
Afraid of Heights, by Wavves

The first quarter of 2013 has brought with it strong releases from the likes of Jim James, Foxygen, Serengeti, and Atoms for Peace, yet perhaps none catchier than the latest record from San Diego pop-punk ...

April 5, 2013
Bob Dylan's Tempest

On his 35th studio album, Tempest, there are times when Bob Dylan still has his storytelling style going strong but also moments when he sounds like a frail parody of himself. Most lyrics are commendable ...

September 15, 2012
West Coast Rising at Casbah

Following a commendable opening set from Dostoevsky-referencing Ivan & Alyosha, San Diego’s Heavy Guilt took the stage and showcased a bevy of absorbing new material. It was a sickeningly sweaty night at the Casbah that ...

August 30, 2012
G Is for Deep, by Doseone

Doseone has played many parts over his 25-year career. He's been an avante-garde philosopher for Deep Puddle Dynamics, memento mori muser with Germany-Oakland hybrid 13 & God, psych-spellbinder through Subtle, and something entirely new and ...

June 1, 2012
Soda Bar Serves One-Man Bands

Following a compelling backstory as long as the song itself, Floridian emcee Bleubird launched into “Giehe 1977,” which chronicles a small Italian village and the home in which his great uncle was shot by Nazis. ...

April 4, 2012
Serengeti's Kenny Dennis EP

Serengeti has followed up one of 2011's most moving records, Family and Friends, with the absurdist tale of Kenny Dennis. Written from the perspective of Serengeti's 45-year-old alter ego, a bratwurst-gorging, sports-crazed Chicagoan, the Kenny ...

March 28, 2012
Girls Beguile at the Birch

Following a loose, impressive opening set from Unknown Mortal Orchestra, San Francisco's Girls plugged in at the sold-out Birch North Park Theatre, a venue that has operated as everything from movie theater to playhouse to ...

March 7, 2012
Buck 65 Spends It at Casbah

Canadian wordsmith Buck 65 returned to San Diego on a warm February evening five years after his last visit. Approximately a third of the Nova Scotia–bred artist’s set featured the lovely Marnie Herald, whose pristine ...

February 29, 2012
The Scientific Facts About Cake

As one of the most devoted followings in modern music lost their collective shit upon Cake's emergence from the backstage curtain, the Sacramento band kicked things off with the molasses drip of "Sad Songs and ...

February 22, 2012
No Kings, by Doomtree

Keeping in stride with the ethos conveyed by recent releases from crew members P.O.S. and Sims, Doomtree brazenly scatter their forward momentum theses across the 12 tracks of No Kings. With five hyper-literate and boundary-testing ...

February 1, 2012
Wilco a Wonder at Copley

The opulent, gold-tinged walls of Copley Symphony Hall let each note fight for space with Jeff Tweedy's soothing howl as Wilco played a flawless, riveting two-hour set. Touring in support of The Whole Love, the ...

January 25, 2012
New Year's Eve at the Lafayette

New Year's Eve festivities at the Lafayette Hotel drew an interesting mix of guys who never wear suits wearing suits and femme fatales in arch-destroying heels. The condensed heat of the Lafayette Room was the ...

January 4, 2012
El Camino, by the Black Keys

Beginning with 2008's Attack & Release, each subsequent Black Keys record has taken their sound a step further away from its garage-rock origins. While some purists may decry the Danger Mouse-influenced shift to a more ...

December 29, 2011
The Beautiful and Brutal My Morning Jacket

Virtuosity is the name of the game when the Louisville-based My Morning Jacket takes the stage. The band's dynamic instrumentation makes it impossible to tell where one note ends and the next begins, where the ...

December 7, 2011
Andrew Jackson Jihad's Knife Man

While peddling fare such as the burdens of loneliness and self-loathing, Andrew Jackson Jihad also explores the plight of the homeless en route to one of this year's most human releases. Through 16 folk-punk constructions, ...

November 22, 2011
Das Racist, Too Funny, Too Short

The anthemic "Rainbow in the Dark" and irony-laden "Michael Jackson" kept heads bobbing to the stoner Zen of Das Racist, Brooklyn's funniest export. Lines like "Urban Dictionary is for demons with college degrees" struck the ...

November 7, 2011
Grouplove on the "Boos Cruise"

The expansive indie rock of Grouplove spilled over the brightly lit San Diego Bay as the audience aboard the Hornblower kicked Halloween weekend into high gear. The band, which was formed during an artists' residency ...

November 1, 2011
Bon Iver Overflow at Spreckels

After a cluster at the gate that resulted in my photographer being denied entry, I was ushered to my seat just in time to catch the crystalline opening notes of nine-piece behemoth Bon Iver. Blanketed ...

September 26, 2011
Death Cab's Slam Dunk at Rimac

While the acoustics of Rimac strived for mediocrity, Death Cab for Cutie found a way to stretch their sound over a Division II basketball court on a brisk August night. A mellow, mid-tempo outfit at ...

August 24, 2011
Beirut's Rip Tide

On Beirut's third full-length, the seasoned vocal cords of Zach Condon sing of longing and wandering in a pixilated world out of reach. The Baroque instrumentation that has defined the band's sound remains, but here ...

August 14, 2011
Baby Got Sauced at the Seaside Stage

It takes a strong set of binoculars to see past North County privilege and beautiful women in stupid hats to catch the new Seaside Stage at Del Mar. Only those with focus could ignore the ...

July 25, 2011
Music Is a Weapon for Tinariwen

By the time the soundman got the mix right, which was about four songs into the set, a near-capacity crowd had climbed over numerous spilled drinks and filled every nook and cranny of the Belly ...

July 17, 2011
Codes and Keys

Death Cab for Cutie's latest release is defined by awakenings in sound and trajectory. It is almost unrecognizable when compared to the earlier work of a band that spoke to a decade of teenage angst ...

June 6, 2011
TV on the Radio Marches On

Most current rock acts would be brought to their collective knees by a whimpering sound system. While the unflattering acoustics of 4th&B could have spoiled the evening, Tunde Adebimpe and his TV on the Radio ...

May 22, 2011
Nine Types of Light

TV On The Radio's yearlong hiatus allowed its members to explore creative avenues. From Dave Sitek's synth-heavy Maximum Balloon to Kyp Malone's eclectic Rain Machine record to Tunde Adebimpe's first mainstream acting role (Rachel Getting ...

April 25, 2011
Under the Spell of Yann Tiersen

Controlling a crowd's attention is a talent. Controlling its emotions is a feat. The curvilinear patterns of French composer Yann Tiersen and his superb backing band — orchestral at times and psychedelic at others — ...

March 21, 2011
Onry Ozzborn's Hold on for Dear Life

After years of paying dues in various groups and collectives, Onry Ozzborn has put Northwest hip-hop on the map. His experiments in varying degrees of morose expressionism turned an artistic corner with the release of ...

February 15, 2011
Kiss Each Other Clean

Sam Beam, the heavily bearded indie virtuoso better known as Iron & Wine, has mastered the craft of the beautiful sad song. His folksy songs tell withered tales of loss and longing. Carrying these songs ...

February 5, 2011
Amos Lee: Between Jello Shots and Boy-Band Groupies

It's remarkable how savagely drunk some people get at the most mellow of concerts. Somewhere between the Jello shots and middle-aged women screaming during choruses like boy-band groupies, Amos Lee played an intricate, relaxed set ...

February 2, 2011
La Jollans Soak in Baths at the Loft at UCSD

Los Angeles beat scene mainstay Baths brought his one-man show to the sold-out Loft and kept the twentysomethings swaying to his unique electronic melodies. His play list consisted of down-tempo collages such as "Lovely Bloodflow" ...

January 17, 2011
Outside by Tapes 'N Tapes

Tapes ’N Tapes lead vocalist Josh Grier possesses a buoyant, elastic delivery that coils itself around whatever emotion a given song calls for. Cradled under mellow, precise chords reminiscent of Vampire Weekend, this formula breeds ...

January 10, 2011
Heavy Guilt in Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach multitudes packed the thin walls of Winstons to catch a glimpse of one of San Diego's promising new bands. Those on hand for the Heavy Guilt's last show of 2010 were privy to ...

December 22, 2010
Wu-Tang Takes the Stage With a Philip Rivers Rave

Going into a mainstream rap show, not to mention one featuring a longtime crew on a reunion tour, you shouldn't be all too surprised when they hit the stage over four hours late. Palpable anger ...

December 7, 2010
Kid Cudi's New Collection of Trunk-Rattlers

Between thick layers of glossy production, Kid Cudi delves into matters of the psyche untouched by mainstream rap. One can draw a comparison to Eminem's recent work in terms of rapping about drug addiction, but ...

November 20, 2010
Atmosphere: To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy

Minnesota hip-hop duo Slug and Ant are back with a double EP of instrument-infused indie rap. On To All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy, Slug has become the Bruce Springsteen of the genre, ...

November 7, 2010
Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty

After years of delay and a label change, Big Boi's solo career is finally out of the gate. While Sir Lucious is a solo record, Speakerboxxx found Big Boi operating under the Outkast framework with ...

July 14, 2010
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