Acid, breaks, and rave master Bored Lord drops "The Last Illusion" on Eris Drew and Octo Octa's label T4T LUV NRG
White Crate announces live ambient music showcase with an interview of Vastum's Leila Abdul-Rauf; Joel St. Julien releases "EMPATHY" on Oakland's Land and Sea
White Crate is hosting a house show.
Taking place next month in a small, shaded backyard in West Oakland, FALL MASS will be our first live ambient music showcase, featuring three incredible artists from the Bay Area: Leila Abdul-Rauf (of death metal renown in the band Vastum), Joel St. Julien (who just released a new album today), and Shipwreck Detective.
Ahead of the event, I spoke with Leila Abdul-Rauf about her path to making music in the Bay Area and the art behind her fourth solo ambient album Phantasiai, a dark yet ethereal work exploring the disintegration of the psyche. This also happens to be our first artist interview, which you can read here.
THAT NEW NEW
What they saw in this unique artist was an energetic sibling, a DJ with the ability to use music and magic (“illusion” here an ecstatic technique) to set bodies free.
Oakland’s super prolific rave master Bored Lord released four-track EP The Last Illusion on T4T LUV NRG, a New Hampshire label co-created by Eris Drew and Octo Octa. Come for the 90s nostalgia (the opening track samples Gwen Stefani) and stay for the acidic, psychedelic breaks.
“The softer side of the Velvet Underground, the gentle dirges of slowcore, and the innocent shamble of vintage indie pop.” London record label Tough Love released If the Ceiling Were a Kite: Vol. 1, a compilation of songs recorded by SF alternative rock quartet April Magazine over the past two years. This comes on the heels of the band’s dreamy new lo-fi album Sunday Music for an Overpass, released by Paisley Shirt Records in July. Check out a glowing review of the new compilation on Allmusic.
Big Sur is the beating heart on Reflections: Gnome Life Artists & Friends Cover Each Other, a compilation of California artists originally conceived by vinyl and cassette label Gnome Life Records to commemorate 15 years of operation. While I’d wager all the artists have ties to the Bay, the two that stand out are Jeremy Harris (based in West Marin) and Chuck Johnson (Oakland). The label is passing all proceeds from the album to Fund Texas Choice, “which continues to fight for women's reproductive rights and assist women in exercising their incontrovertible bodily freedoms.”
“Known for his devastating boom-bap deconstructions and sharp, heavy beats.” Released last month, regos_chillin' by Oakland-via-LA producer dakim was featured on The Best Beat Tapes on Bandcamp: September 2021.
Featuring underground hip hop legend Equipto, SF label Solidarity Records released six-track EP The Resurrection of Game by Cartel 360.
Backed by a cover of Mazzy Star’s “Common Burn,” “I Only Ever Wanted to See You Fail” is the newest single from Glenn Donaldson’s chamber pop project the Reds, Pinks, and Purples. The artist says the project is now a five-piece live band planning for a tour, starting with two dates at the Balboa Theater and Bottom of the Hill.
With a chill acoustic guitar beat, rappers Zaydo and J.Lately released “Let Go”.
The moment we cease to hold each other, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out. — James Baldwin
SF-based, Haitian-American composer, sound artist, and musician Joel St. Julien released EMPATHY, which opens with a four-part meditation on empathy—one more noisy, others more tranquil—each part a different variation on the same theme. The latter half of the album is pure ambient bliss, with the 10-minute and 15-minute tracks “The World is Ending (again)” and “Full Moon” weaving a tapestry of calm in a time that’s anything but.
Central American DJ, producer, and co-founder of AMOR DIGITAL, JUANNY DEPP released “SPEED IT UP”, a dembow-inspired club track.
SF producer rental vhs released another winning groovy house single “Pleasure” b/w Do You Feel Me.
Speaking of rental vhs, their recent collaborator RITCHRD paired up with SMARTMETER on SF dance label NO BIAS to release HARDCORE SHORE, featuring two 45-minute mixes of unrelenting techno recorded live in Oakland.
“Loaded with laid-back, West Coast grooves.” Dance Planet is the third LP from Oakland producer Space Ghost (aka Sudi Wachspress), just released on Copenhagen’s Tartelet Records. Opening with a track reminiscent of the soulful, mystical opening to Inner City’s legendary 1989 debut Paradise / Big Fun, the album is created as a welcome back to the dancefloor. Read Shawn Reynaldo’s full review on First Floor.
“Morning Spring” by Bolinas-based electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani will appear alongside Ryuichi Sakamoto, Julianna Barwick, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Skee Mask, Helena Hauff, Sigur Rós, Imogen Heap, Steve Roach, Laraaji, and more on upcoming ambient and classical compilation album @0 curated by English duo Coldcut. Ninja Tune will be donating their share (50% of net receipts) to three charities: CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), Mind, and Black Minds Matter. Out November 19.
It’s been over a year since 22-year-old Sean Monterrosa was shot and killed by a Vallejo police officer, and his family and friends are still fighting for justice. To aid in the fight and help raise funds for the Monterrosa family, a slew of a Bay Area artists—including La Doña, the Watershed, Amani Jade, and Deuce Eclipse—have contributed tracks to the Justice4Sean Compilation. Also check out “Rap You Up”, the new single from Deuce Eclipse and Ace Moon.
“This track is about wanting to take out the parts of your brain that aren't effective.” Sounding like late 2000s Miss Kittin & the Hacker, SF artist Violet Felz released one-minute rooftop banger “Worm.”
24kGoldn and New York rapper Lil Tecca released a new single and video for “Prada.”
Can’t remember how I found this. If it was you, let me know so I can give you credit!
Released in September 2020, Milk Fed is the debut album by BODY DOUBLE, aka Oakland multi-instrumentalist Candace Lazarou. It’s a new endeavor for Lazarou, who was previously the lead singer of Oakland post-rock band Mansion. Across 10 solid tracks and 30 minutes, the album feeds a steady stream of garage rock funneled through a variety of lenses—there’s krautrock/post-punk on “The Floating Hand,” Weezer-esque radio jams on “Ready to Die,” and industrial fuzz on “Bitch on Wheels.”
“You could safely say that most of this album was written on the bad days,” according to the artist. Read more on SF Weekly.
You have to be suspicious of a white guy who names himself “Sun Rai,” but this song is irresistible. The Australian artist’s biggest hit (so far), “San Francisco Street” is a funky soul song with picture perfect Rhodes keyboard, tight rhythm section, and dreamy, melancholic vocals. My new favorite foreigner fantasy of the beautiful city by the Bay. (Thankfully, he’s now performing under his given name Rai Thistlewayte.)
Yet another milestone for White Crate: Last night marked my first time hosting the White Crate radio show—now happening every first Thursday on Lower Grand Radio.
Press play and listen to the amazingly diverse soupful of sounds being served in our backyard. Cumbia and salsa, house techno and breaks, country and folk, punk and metal, experimental jazz and mainstream pop, and hip hop for (foggy) days. Plus anything and everything in between.
Didn’t tune in live? Listen now.