This video has been floating around of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield floating in space, slowly turning inside his vessel, playing the acoustic guitar and singing Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie (“Space Oddity,” naturally). It’s an arresting image, melding science, sound, nerd culture, and pop culture together in the coolest of ways. And it was his goodbye love letter to space, as he returned back down to earth yesterday.
Outside the spaceship, and also back here on earth (and playing San Francisco this week, naturally) there are bands that are grounded by gravity, though little else -- the celestial atmospheric head case of Kisses, larger-than-life Big Boi, otherworldly solo pounder Black Pus (Brian Chippendale of Lightning Bolt), cosmic soul duo Myron and E, and more invade our shores in the coming days. Maintain your curiosity, and greet them live in the flesh, eyes and ears wide with wonder.
Here are your must-see Bay Area concerts this week/end:
Los Angeles dream-poppers Kisses (a.k.a Jesse Kivel and Zinzi Edmundson) have sonically stripped down for their sophomore album, Kids in LA. But the electro duo (analog keyboards, drum machines, robot moans) remains dedicated to breezy synth-pop with hints of the bleak LA underbelly peaking through the palm trees in the form of chilly vocals and anxious beats.
With Sister Crayon, Astronauts etc.
Tue/14, 8pm, $10-$12
155 Fell, SF
“Any lingering notions of Big Boi as the "conventional" half of legendary Atlanta hip-hop duo Outkast should be dispelled by his two solo albums, including his most recent effort Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, released last November. Aided by cameos from Phantogram and Little Dragon in "Vicious," Big Boi dives into rock guitars, female vocalists, and electronic bass to present a fearless, kaleidoscopic vision of rap.” -- Kevin Lee
With Killer Mike, Fishhawk, Goast
Thu/16, 8:30pm, $35
“Midi Matilda is the embodiment of everything that's missing from contemporary twee-pop. It has a sense of intimacy, soul, and joy, embodied by great hooks and hilarious choreographed dances that are absolutely infectious. Operating backward from most bands, Midi Matilda wrote and recorded music before it ever established a live presence, gaining attention on the web with its "Day Dreams" music video.” -- Haley Zaremba
With OONA, holychild
Fri/17, 8:30pm, $12
155 Fell, SF
KFJC's Battle of the Surf Band
Alameda-based trio Aloha Screwdriver will play this yearly event for the second time. And the 16-band battle also includes Beachkrieg, Deadbeats, Mighty Surf Lords, Tomorrowmen, Frankie and the Pool Boys, Meshugga Beach Party, and more surf acts with cheeky names. The event benefits the station itself, and also will be broadcast using Live Cam.
Sat/18, noon, $10, all ages
4627 Coast Hwy., Pacifica
Myron and E
Listen to Myron and E's single "If I Gave You My Love" and you'll start to feel some involuntary movements, your head bouncing in agreement, shoulders shimmying side to side. It's the nature of the solid gold soul beast. The duo was recently signed to tastemaker Stones Throw, and will release newest album Broadway, backed by Timmion Records house band the Soul Investigators, on the label July 2. With a handful of 45s already out there, the two — Bay Area bred Myron Glasper and Eric "E da Boss" Cooke — have successfully maneuvered an authentic soul sound that's at once smooth and celebratory (with the help of some well-placed horns).
East Bay Soul Stomp 2 with Bang Girl Group Revue, New Love Soul Revue, DJ Derek See, DJ Der.
Sat/18, 8pm, $9–<\d>$12
3101 Shattuck, Berk
The first thing you need to know about Black Pus is that it's just a looping Brian Chippendale — he of Lighting Bolt fame. For this project, the madman drummer (and forever art-school kid at heart) uses percussion, a triggered oscillator, and those echoing, distorted Lightning Bolt style vocals you'd expect. Most tracks sound like a spaceship lifting off and exploding into starry darkness, repeatedly.
With CCR Headcleaner, Reptilian Shape Shifters.
Sat/18, 9:30, $10
1131 Polk, SF
“For a band that has released so little music — only the 2011 EP Awesome Problems — Gothic Tropic has a developed sense of itself. Part of it is in frontperson Cecilia Della Peruti's tendency to perform shoeless so as not restrict her dance moves. The primary feature, though, is the band's sound. As its name suggests, Gothic Tropic plays sunny and exotic psych-pop tinted with some grit and darkness, and it plays it well. See the band in all of it's fully-formed glory at Brick and Mortar.” -- Laura Kerry
With Seatraffic, Cruel Summer
Sun/19, 9pm, $10
Brick and Mortar
1710 Mission, SF