Discover more from White Crate
Hear our favorite Bay Area music of 2023 (so far)
New this week: Tender folk from Marika Christine, field recordings from Cheryl Leonard and Wobbly, anime hyphy by seiji oda, plus Lucy Camp and Canaan Amber
Listen to a mix of our favorite music from San Francisco, Oakland, and the rest of the Bay in 2023 (so far)! We figured the same way other publications post “end of year” lists in November, we could get away with posting our “end of half year” list in May.
In all earnestness, we’re feeling deeply grateful for how much good music has already come out of the Bay this year. We also know we probably missed some good ones, so feel free to send us angry emails or comments expressing your displeasure. (And maybe that will help us correct it for the actual year-end lists.)
Thank you to Jody Amable, Elise Mills, and Elliot Engel for contributing to this list!
TENDER FOLK ROCK
“I’m soft like an apricot
My mind is my enemy
And I bruise easily”
I just had the best birthday ever. I ate a bagel with cream cheese and lox stacked to heaven. I rode a ferry and saw a cute turtle swimming in a pond. I witnessed a wild, haunting dance performance. And, on top of everything, I listened to Marika Christine’s debut album Soft Like an Apricot. Gentle, breezy, poetic, the new work arrives like an announcement of summertime (which also happens to be stone fruit season). But it’s not all good times and sweet juice, as Christine reminds us on “Music and Heart” with the chorus “it’s hard to be young in San Francisco.” Tender voice-led folk rock arrangements, there may not be anything supremely innovative here, but maybe that’s the point. There’s nothing supremely innovative about a turtle gliding underwater through a pond, but is there anything more charming?
— Ronny Kerr
NOISE IS CULTURE
Talk about local. Cheryl E. Leonard and Jon Leidecker’s Multiple Park is a field recorder’s dream. While the title track is literally built from the recordings in three California parks, there’s a larger commentary on what new and evolving narratives of what “the outdoors” actually sounds like in this day and age. Noise is profoundly cultural; the act of listening to it even more so. And even further of note: Noise is information. Our physical environment tells us so much about change. It is a literal and sonic reflection of how we and the rest of world have existed alongside and against each other. How will physical geographies continue to be influenced by technological change? What will the “outdoors” transform into? Where do soundscapes (sonic geographies) play a role in documenting the “vanishing biophony?”
— Elise Mills
HYPHY MEETS ANIME
“もののけ姫 was a childhood favorite, its one of those things i love so much that sometimes i feel like it only belongs to me, but i’m hella grateful to have found people who love it as much as i do 💜🌱”
What do you get when you mix the magical childhood playfulness of Studio Ghibli with the goofy wilding out of hyphy music? Maybe everything seiji oda makes, but especially “MONONOKE II [ashitaka]” a collaboration with Japanese rapper SEEDA. Taking a little piece of Oakland to the streets of Tokyo, the new single pairs lofi boom bap with the rappers’ complementary styles, SEEDA effortlessly switching between Japanese and English and seiji oda almost whispering his bars with deadly quiet. For more like this in a funky disco style, be sure to check out the CITY POP SERIES.
Support seiji oda on Bandcamp for $5 per month and get access to their back catalog plus demos before they’re released.
— Ronny Kerr
DREAMY GOOEY SUGARY SPACEY
Breathless flows and snacky beats make up the 13 tracks on Lucy Camp’s new mixtape S’Mores Vol. 1, compiling music previously released throughout the year on the artist’s Patreon page. Dreamy, gooey, sugary, spacey sounds coalesce with the San Jose MC’s DGAF bars, hustling through her labyrinthine verses about love, hate, fear and… the messiness of the music business. The songs are written by Lucy Camp with production support from Deacon the Villan (CunninLynguists), Lonecrew, Glass Meadow, and Peter Anthony Red.
— Ronny Kerr
DAZED JAGGED SURF ROCK
“Tracked in the decade after Duster went on hiatus, Canaan Amber’s debut solo EP CA demonstrates the California-born guitarist’s affection for San Francisco jangle and Santa Cruz surf.”
One problem with desert/surf rock (besides it being unclear the difference between rock made in a place without water versus a place with a literal ocean) is that it often edges up against smooth easy listening. (No offense it’s that your thing.) But that’s not what you get on Canaan Amber’s solo EP CA, originally released in 2010 when their Santa Cruz slowcore band Duster was in the middle of its two-decade hiatus. Just re-released on Chicago label Numero Group with seven demos added to the EP’s original five, the off-kilter, dazed, jagged tunes here wander along with a dour look in the face, minimal, entrancing, a little uneasy. Check out highlights “No Way”, “Everything Is All in One Place”, and “Wander Off”.
— Ronny Kerr
Our top show recommendations for the coming week:
[club] 10 Years of Vinyl Dreams — June 2-4 at Vinyl Dreams
[alternative] Re:SET ft. LCD Soundsystem, Steve Lacy, boygenius — June 2-4 at Frost Amphitheater
[club] Baalti, Darian, Redbeans, Tomu DJ B2B Kimdollars1 — June 2 at the Knockout
[club] A Club Called Rhonda ft. Conducta, Space Dimension Controller — June 2 at the Great Northern
[club] As You Like It ft. Adra, Mozaic, RITCHRD, Farsight — June 3 at Underground SF
[club] Vitamin1000 ft. Adware, b0nitababy, Clearcast — June 3 at TBA
[punk] Diesel Dudes, Gumby’s Junk, Tummy+, Wife — June 4 at Stay Gold Deli
[rock] Winona Forever, The Moondrops, Peña — June 4 at Bottom of the Hill
[rock] Medscool, Titsweat, Preschool — June 6 at Bottom of the Hill
[jazz] Sundra Manning — June 7 at SFJAZZ