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Lalin St. Juste of The Seshen improvises a heartfelt prayer live on Lower Grand Radio
New music from the Bay Area this week: Fierce doom by Ragana, chamber pop by trumpeter Anna Hillburg, genius beats by Sndtrak, and lush downtempo by Tomu DJ
Lalin St. Juste, known for her soulful voice and genre-defying sound (and coming off a tour with her electro-R&B band The Seshen), joined us on Lower Grand Radio to perform a set of live music drawn from her solo work. Whether singing about love, loss, or social justice issues, Lalin's performances are always heartfelt and deeply moving. It was a blessing to have her live in the studio, and to interview her.
— White Crate
FIERCE & URGENT DOOM
Their poetry? Seething. Their values? Staunchly self-evident. Their viscerality: On one hand, a beacon for connecting with what it means to be human, what it means to feel alive. And on the other hand, the urgency of survival, even when the world is burning.
After the release of three singles, Ragana’s full album Desolation’s Flower arrives via The Flenser highly anticipated, with the duo carrying out yet another beautiful lament. Fierce, urgent, and angry, their sound has always been a grounding, necessary soundtrack for a world rife with cognitive dissonance. Seeing them live for the first time earlier this year was a spiritual experience, and one I won’t forget.
Engulfed by fire, their light shines ever so brightly from a distance. In the past, Ragana have cheekily called themselves esoteric doom metal, but their music is by no means inaccessible. In fact, their music gives ample permission to openly grieve and go mad. Like the stinging nettle, it is a healing balm for pain as well as profound grief.
Don’t miss them at their release party at Eli’s Mile High Club tonight, featuring support from fellow local acts Kim and Cheree.
— Elise Mills
ENERGETIC, INQUISITIVE, ALIVE
“Think I’m ready for love
But it never really found me
What is a tired girl supposed to do?”
Singer-songwriter, trumpeter, and multi-instrumentalist Anna Hillburg—who has formerly been involved with Shannon and The Clams, The Dodos, and more—returns with her third full-length album Tired Girls, out now on Speakeasy Studios SF. Thematically exploring “what it is to be a contemporary woman,” the album thumps through country-tinged chamber pop and twee, arranging simple sounds into a singular voice echoing around some vast chamber of wood and heart. In spite of the album title, there’s little here that gives in to fatigue; it’s energetic, inquisitive, and fully alive.
Co-produced and recorded with Jason Quever of the Papercuts and featuring contributions from Logan Kroeber (The Dodos), Josh Miller (Chime School, Extra Classic), and Yea-Ming Chen, this is a great way to hear the sound of Bay Area artistry in collaboration.
— Ronny Kerr
SHOWCASING THE DIGGER
The Oakland beat genius is back. Fort Knocks, released by Jamla Records and Empire, is the latest beat tape by Sndtrak, linking together 20 two-minute vignettes into a masterful set of soulful boom bap. The last time we wrote about Sndtrak was to praise FLIPS V2: FLIP-TUCK, the artist’s second full-length collection of creative, jam-packed, and juicy beats flipping some of the most well-known songs from the past. On this latest collection, the sources are a bit more buried, showcasing the digger side of Sndtrak and (instead of getting playful and even a little silly as FLIPS does) exploring the emotions and heart strings threading through the music.
Fort Knocks is part of a series by the Soul Council, founded by hip hop producer 9th Wonder and currently made up of members Khrysis, Nottz, Eric G, Kash, Amp, E Jones, and Sndtrak.
— Ronny Kerr
AMBIENT TECHNO MEDITATION
Frequently bouncing between straight club music and more ambient meanderings, Tomu DJ has leaned into the latter on her latest work <3. In fact, this one goes even further with the track “Bamboo Garden” (ft. blessings nore), a piece of acoustic string-style americana that sounds as far from the club as a fallen log in the forest, providing shelter to insects and blooming mushroom caps. Most of the rest of the album presents what sound like live recorded improvisations and ambient techno meditations, lush with repetition and sounds of the natural world. A healing piece for violent times.
— Ronny Kerr
Our top show recommendations for the coming week:
[metal] Ragana (record release), Kim, Cheree — Nov 3 at Eli’s Mile High Club
[experimental] Bronze, Only Now, Exotic Gardens, Feel Free Hi Fi, Carlos Souffront — Nov 3 at secret space in SF
[club] 3kelves, Dylan C. Greene — Nov 3 at Bergerac
[rock] Swiss, Sweet Lew, Michael Michael Motorcycle, The Breathing Room — Nov 4 at the Golden Gate Park Bandshell
[r&b] ItsQwere ft. Lalin St. Juste, Tory Teasley, Azuah — Nov 4 at RSVP for address
[club] HydeFM ft. Bapari, Bastiengoat, @@ — Nov 4 at Underground SF
[hip hop] ALLBLACK — Nov 4 at Temple SF
[electronic] Khanvict, Raaginder, Baalti — Nov 5 at Rickshaw Stop
[hip hop] Macarthur Maze, Brycon, Maitre D, Gabe Duran — Nov 5 at Moe Greens Lounge
[rock] Speedy Ortiz, Spacemoth, Try the Pie — Nov 6 at Rickshaw Stop
[hip hop] Noname — Nov 7 at the Catalyst, Nov 8 at the Fox Theater
[club] Intersex Solidarity Day Celebration — Nov 8 at Underground SF
[latin] La Doña, Son Rompe Pera — Nov 9 at the Fillmore
[experimental] Mills After Mills: Three Days of Crazy Love — Nov 9-11 at the Lab
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