Baghead preaches the gospel of self-worth on instrumental hip hop banger "Growth Mindset"
Melt into trombone honey with Danny Lubin-Laden; crackling grooves on turntable drawing no. 16; plus more from Miko Marks, Cass McCombs, Louie Elser, and Red Rot
If you didn’t know a thing and wanted to dig into the richness of SF hip hop right now, there’s one artist I’d probably tell you to start with: Baghead.
Baghead was one of the main producers behind one of the best hip hop albums of 2021—Don’t Forget You’re Welcome by the Watershed, featuring the talents of Equipto, MC Pauze, Monk HTS, Professa Gabel, and fellow producer Brycon. Later that year, he released instrumental album Dedicated to Those Who, and today he just dropped another called Growth Mindset. His music is rich and addictive, and even without lyrics has substance behind it. You’ll hear meditations on artistry as well as comments on the state of SF from a local, street-level perspective. And he’s no singular force but has played with SMARTBOMB and today plays a central role in the 18-person strong crew Family Not a Group, hosting shows and releasing new music on the regular. And next week, I’m proud to host him for a live performance on LGR.
Tune in Thursday, September 1 at 8 PM PT on Lower Grand Radio.
ON THE UP AND UP
“It's only a moment in your growth.” One of the best SF-based beatmakers, Baghead is back with Growth Mindset, a 22-track collection of precisely plucked samples, fuzzy stuttering drum kits, and soul-infused instrumental hip hop. Entirely produced and mixed by Baghead and released by Audio Vandals, the album is the follow up to 2021’s Dedicated to Those Who. While the last album explores the relationship between artistry and community, this one shifts to self-consciousness: Many artists know the happiness and highs that come with major breakthroughs and accomplishments, but maybe more universal are the feelings of struggle, insecurities, and low self-esteem. So Baghead offers us Growth Mindset: Don’t let any challenge let you change how you view your self-worth. Just rock to the beat, learn the lesson, and get on to the next.
You can catch Baghead at El Rio for his album release party tonight, featuring guest appearances by Briizv, VelvetCloudRadio, Saya, Spote Breeze & OG Jarin, JENSET, and DJSAY.
MELT INTO TROMBONE HONEY
Occasionally treading into brightly colored new age, Notes to Rest is an innovative new ambient jazz work by Oakland artist Danny Lubin-Laden and his band. The cares of the day are whisked away by trombone honey and a whimsical yet deep electro-acoustic backtrack consisting of organ, drums, electric bass, synthesizers, flute, and tape loops. The compositional texture is dauntless, sophisticated, and mesmerizing, assembling an orchestral vehicle sure to transport listeners to the sound world of some obscure silent art film.
— Elise Mills
CRACKLING VINYL SUNRISE
Premiered in 2017, turntable drawing no. 16 is a fascinating, contemporary classical piece by Giacomo Fiore, Danny Clay, and Jon Fischer that “combines three turntables playing locked-groove records with a score for electric guitar featuring looped chordal fragments.” The atmospheric effect of this is surprisingly tactile: Buzzing, crackling vinyl brings the warmth of an ambient sunrise, while electric guitar disrupts the deceptively serene soundscape and musters its own pleasant welcome. You can experience it live at the turntable drawing no. 16 album release party this Saturday at the Center for New Music, complete with live performance, a homemade record exhibit, and a most intriguing “turntable petting zoo.”
— Elise Mills
“One More Night” by Miko Marks & the Resurrectors, the second single from their upcoming album Feel Like Going Home, out October 14
roots, country, americana, Oakland
Heartmind by Cass McCombs
alternative, pop, rock, California
“Hollow Stone” by Chroma Sea x Shipwreck Detective
ambient, electronic, IDM, San Francisco
“Velvet Pink Heart” by Louie Elser
electronic, dance pop, soul, Bay Area
Dreaming in Cursive: The Girl Who Loved Sparklers by Mystic
hip hop, r&b, soul, Oakland
WAVEBREAKER #2 by Mike Park and Catbite on Bad Time Records
punk, power pop, ska, San Jose, Philadelphia, Alameda
Mal de Vivre by Red Rot was featured in Bandcamp’s New & Notable this week: “The new progressive death metal project from two members of Ephel Duath, Red Rot strikes a balance between raw pummel and technical prowess.”
death metal, progressive, thrash, Oakland
Our top show recommendations for the coming week:
[hip hop] Release party for Growth Mindset by Baghead — Aug 26 at El Rio
[experimental] Bill Orcutt & Chris Corsano — Aug 26 at the Lab
[rock] Descendents, Circle Jerks, Fake Fruit — Aug 26 at the UC Theatre
[club] Gerd Janson, Peach, Baalti (Live), Primo — Aug 26 at Public Works
[rock] Due South ft. Deafheaven, Marbled Eye — Aug 27 at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater
[rock] The Hot Takes, Radio Radio, Strange Cities — Aug 27 at Ivy Room
[experimental] Hyunhye (Angela) Seo — Aug 27 at the Lab
[experimental] turntable drawing no. 16 album release party — Aug 27 at the Center for New Music
[world] Scientist, Carlos Niño, Nate Mercereau, Idris Ackamoor — Aug 27 at the Chapel
[rock] Holy Wave, The Breathing Room, Nyte Skye — Aug 29 at Ivy Room