Magical indie pop artist Mae Powell to perform live on Lower Grand Radio this Thursday
Parallel plays perfect shoegaze for Cherub Dream Records; Community Theater goes deep into freestyle; Shy'an G delivers a four-track EP soundtrack to growth
Pleased to share that singer-songwriter Mae Powell will be performing on our Lower Grand Radio show next week. Put it on your calendar :)
Coming off a string of shows—including performances at Noise Pop and SXSW—Mae Powell is one of our newest favorite artists making chilled out indie pop. Originally from southern California, the artist eventually moved to San Francisco to study broadcasting and production at SF State. Last year, she released her full-length debut Both Ways Brighter, blending peaceful twee and sad sunshine into hearty, simple songs.
THAT NEW NEW
“Writing these songs was one of the things that helped me stay grounded in such strange times.” Oakland four-piece Parallel released their self-titled debut on qtpoc-run label Cherub Dream Records, and it’s a feast for the shoegazers and dream pop lovers. Ethereal guitars and vocals, hazy drums, and warm embracing bass.
“Ready to smash the rave, school dance, cookout, quinceañera, family reunion, auto show, or your lil cousin's birthday party.” As Community Theater, SF-based DJ and producer Chrissy has teamed up with Lisbon-based artist Maria Amor on Having Everything, a new EP freely exploring a love of 80s freestyle through massive bass and super catchy techno pop. The EP also includes remixes by Escaflowne, Bianca Oblivion, Violet, and Schuro.
“Like a family, all the artists might tread different (and often parallel) musical paths, but we're still part of a greater whole.” SF supergroup Jazz Mafia—a collective of musicians, composers, and producers—dropped Family Business, a fusion album mixing hip hop, classical, soul, beats, and brass into a funky, jazzy, nourishing stew for the senses. The album features a wide range of collaborators, including Otis McDonald, Lyrics Born, Aima The Dreamer, Lateef The Truthspeaker. Get tickets to see the group play a Stevie Wonder Birthday Bash at Brick and Mortar Music Hall in SF on Fri May 13.
“A heartworn score for an era of total ecological destruction and riotous uprisings.” This week’s gem of a punny artist name arrives from country stunner Katsy Pline, a Berkeley artist who just released full-length folktronica album No Peace in the Valley. What at first seems like a bedroom version of the flashy Nashville sound soon gets interrupted and shaken off balance by synths and jittery drum machines, suggesting that this is what happens to country music when it gives itself up to the city.
At a random show in Oakland last night, a girl from Portland told me that she really wanted to be the star at a sideshow one day. When I asked her if she knew what a sideshow was, she responded, “Yeah, it’s when a bunch of people go block an intersection with their cars and throw a party in the middle of it.” Some people are a little confused about the world, and some people are like Compton’s Jay Worthy and SF’s Larry June, two rappers who swerve and sweet talk and swill truth like water on their newest collaborative album, 2 P’z in a Pod—the latest and greatest from EMPIRE.
“Crafted shortly after Jason's relocation back to the San Francisco Bay Area after several years in LA, the new album revels in the tensions between the pleasures of homecoming and the collective miseries of the pandemic and our current political upheaval.” From the bottle of pop on the cover to the Spiritualized-tinged melodies to the core of the album’s theme, Past Life Regression by Papercuts is dotted with nostalgia. A project by SF-based songwriter Jason Quever, the newest album from Slumberland Records thumps through jangle pop that booms more than it jangles, dream pop that punches above its weight.
“Don’t worry about me, I’ll figure it out from here.” Oakland MC, producer, and poet Shy’an G released Checkpoint, a new EP produced by OaktownSoul and featuring fellow Bay artist Dominé Brishawn on guest vocals. Clean beats. Liquid poetry. Breath after breath full of pain, imperfection, and power.
“An ode to time spent at Sea Ranch on the Northern California coast to refresh their spirit and regain optimism and enthusiasm for the outside world.” Space Ghost, the Oakland producer whose Dance Planet was one of the best Bay’s dance albums last year, returns with Private Paradise, an all-new full-length album on Vancouver label Pacific Rhythm. The sonic palette remains the same—channeling late 80s, early 90s house and techno—with a notably more ambient bent. Dance music for the mind.
“It would be untrue to say that we did not have any grief come up during the project, but it would also be false to say that it has been a highly emotional process. The four of us want the record to be a celebration of Chelsea’s music and Sabrina’s mirthful artwork, so production of the reissue, though very demanding at times, was also full of inspired creation.”
That’s Evelyn Malinowski (aka Experimental Housewife) in an interview with 48 hills, discussing the newest, very special release on her label Perfect Location: 3 EPs brings Nobody’s Fool, Starlight Express, and Manic to vinyl for the first time, three techno and house releases by Cherushii (aka Chelsea Faith), one of the victims of the Ghost Ship warehouse fire. Originally released in 2015 and 2016 on Bandcamp, the reissue is intended to honor Faith’s legacy, shining a spotlight on her mighty, iridescent productions and dusting them off for the next lovingly late-night illuminated dance floor.
Relying primarily on hand to hand circulation, bootlegs and mail order zines, it became a sought-after classic in underground rap circles around the globe.
In spite of the East Coast’s long presumed dominance in hip hop, the Bay has always had a thriving community of MCs, producers, and DJs laying down beats and speaking up from the street. Here’s some nice evidence from 1995: Word of Mouth by San Francisco Street Music delivers energetic, jazz-inflected pieces with a rough edge, like a cassette you picked up off the curb in front of a laundromat. Take it home, pop it in the deck, and be bewildered. You can pick up a 25th anniversary collector’s edition of the record (released for the first time on vinyl) from Bandcamp or locally at Econo Jam Records.