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Tag Archives: Art Rock

Within potato cannon range of San Francisco lies a mysterious city called Oakland. I know very little about this sparsely inhabited wasteland. Mostly what I hear comes from the empty mouths of shrunken old women at BART stations. They tell stories I wouldn’t believe in dreams.

From their tales I’ve gathered a few key pieces of information. Supposedly the low-lying areas are inhabited by an athletic tribe of raiders that frequently demolishes the city in response to the cruel conditions within the fiefdom. This active rebellion generally blossoms at the Foot Locker, where frothing marauders flood the storefront until the collective appetite is whetted with fresh pairs of pillaged Jordans.

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The women tell me that when these maniacs aren’t stealing mad hops they generally snooze and laze the days away in a bubble of malevolent California heat. From time to time they escape this fever to San Francisco in canoes fashioned from discarded Street Sheet newspapers. While in the city they practice the traditional Oaklandish religious rite of taking frothy red shits at the top of the Embarcadero Station escalator.

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There are other stories of which I’ve only heard in passing:

That the premium pumps at Oakland gas stations dispense a blinding blend of bum wine for two pents a gallon.

That women were outlawed within the the city during the 1970′s. Any of the fairer sex who mistakenly stumble past the outer boundaries are quickly captured, bound with fine silk strands secreted from the Oaklandish male’s prostate, and fed live to chomping Oaklandish larvae.

And that the people of Oakland still use Myspace.

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Adorable.

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But there’s a part of me that thinks all of these stories are simply fabrications to keep us gullible San Frannies out of a hidden paradise. If Oakland is populated solely by a pillaging, all-male, insect-hybrid mob then how did such a phenomenal lady-birthed album emerge from its murky depths? Had those hollow-faced women lied to me all along? Who’s controlling these hyphens? Where are my car keys?!

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Could it be that just across the frigid bay lies a city filled with brilliant artistic promise? A city of unparalleled beauty and personal freedom? Where the sidewalks glow, not dissimilar to the fashion of Billy Jean? Where people don’t rock rollerblades, unicycles, and Segways while listening to Maroon 5 on stock iPod headphones like it’s no big deal…because believe me it’s a huge fucking deal?

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One of these days, when I’m feeling particularly brave, I will hop in my much neglected automobile and drive across the big gray bitch that is the Bay Bridge. I’ll shift into fifth, crest through the fog, and the powerfully angelic voice of Merrill Garbus will blast my soul like Moroni’s trumpet. Within the city limits I’ll be stopped by a gang of breathtaking eunuch crossing guards who’ll fetch my spirit’s fleshy temple from the drivers side and hoist its bobbing limbs sunward. The pleasure of knowing absolute sound–sound so pure you could drink it, piss it, and drink it again–will truly be mine. And I’ll all have a good cry.

Because that’s what you do when enjoying a really happy surprise.

You cry.

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Click here to peep perhaps the best album of the year. And then purchase a copy of your own because this is a keeper.

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It needs to be pointed out that some portion of this album was recorded in Dolores Park in San Francisco. Where this happened.

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