Bandalabra: Funk, Not Jazz

April 24, 2014

A resurgence of interest in Afrobeat music in recent years has produced a Broadway show about Fela Kuti, revived long-retired West African bands, and produced a slew of new, Afrobeat-inspired bands. The four-piece Bandalabra, who play the Boom Boom Room April 26, conjures elements of Afrobeat — complex polyrhythms, call and response, native African harmonies, […]

Quantic: Dance Floor Folk

April 22, 2014

For the ECONOMIST: ELECTRONIC dance music has experienced a rapid worldwide rise. The industry is now worth an estimated $20 billion and its artists can pull in million-dollar fees to perform at dance festivals. So for Will Holland, a Briton who began his career as an electronic-music producer, but then turned to performing and recording […]

Which Music Service Pays Best?

April 16, 2014
spotify UX

For TIME magazine: The digital music realm is complicated: artists like De La Soul want to sell their music online but can’t due to legal restraints on their sample-heavy music; meanwhile, while artists like Led Zeppelin, one of the biggest, longstanding holdouts of offering their music for streaming, are now poised to do so. Artists […]

about Blogowitz

I write and report about music, arts & culture for the Economist, SF Weekly, and other publications. I'm a visiting lecturer at California State University, East Bay. BLOGOWITZ is a file cabinet for my published stories, podcasts, photos, and teaching.

Review: Dum Dum Girls

TheeSatisfaction’s Black Weirdo Party

April 9, 2014

For SF WEEKLY: For several years, Seattle duo TheeSatisfaction has been performing music that’s rooted in a love of Chaka Khan vocals and a fascination with Miles Davis trumpet riffs. Not surprisingly, these spacey, spare sounds — a blend of Afrofuturism, soul, R&B, and hip-hop — appeared on the 2011 debut album from similarly-minded Shabazz […]

Slow Start for SF Music Permits

April 3, 2014

For SF WEEKLY: It’s been more than two years since city officials began offering cheap permits for smaller establishments to host live music, but cafes, restaurants, and outdoor plazas have been slow to take advantage of them — largely because they don’t know the permits exist or simply don’t like paying any extra money to […]

Film: Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

April 1, 2014

For the ECONOMIST: WHEN Chicago’s Hypnotic Brass Ensemble plays, its sound seems different from that produced by other brass bands, especially those from New Orleans. The group’s tunes have an air of melancholy and also an earnest youthfulness. Yet what has really grabbed the attention of fans and media alike is the family connection: the […]

Noisy Neighbor: Bill Fontana

March 27, 2014

For SAN FRANCISCO MAGAZINE: Thanks to San Francisco’s Branch Library Improvement Program, the North Beach library will be home to world-renowned sound artist Bill Fontana’s newest project, Sonic Dreamscape—a compilation of the sounds that make North Beach sound so, well, North Beach-y. We grilled him about the project. What makes this project different from your […]

Sidewalk Chalk: 90s Rap Redux

March 26, 2014

For SF WEEKLY: Sidewalk Chalk is an eight-piece Chicago ensemble that plays a combination of hip-hop and soul. Its laid-back, jazzy approach — horns, keys, soulful singing, unforced rapping — could easily have fit in with ’90s-era groups like Digable Planets, but those same aesthetic choices group Sidewalk Chalk with an increasingly long list of […]

The Art of Google Maps

March 10, 2014
odell art

For the ECONOMIST: JENNY ODELL, a San Franciscan artist, often finds inspiration in the landscapes she sees while flying overhead. If she spots a promising piece of Earth from a plane, she scours the relevant parts of Google Maps to investigate further. What she is looking for are odd, often industrial, forms and shapes—water-treatment facilities, […]

Cibo Matto: Alt-Hop Mishmash

February 19, 2014

For SF WEEKLY: About 20 years ago, Cibo Matto came up with an approach to music that was not complicated but tapped a nerve that was begging to be tapped: The two mixed funky hip-hop beats with synths and lyrics about food. They wore bright, thrift-store clothes. They occasionally cursed or yelled. As “alternative” came […]

Review: Reeps One and DJ Qbert

Opening Bands vs Headliners

African Artists: Searching for a New Sound

about Blogowitz

I write about music and culture. I teach journalism. BLOGOWITZ is a file cabinet for my stories, podcasts, photos, and teaching.