Mia Pixley channels the ocean sublime on poetically-inspired chamber piece "Passage"
See photos from our Primavera party; chill out to the quiet storm brewed by Space Ghost and Teddy Bryant; celebrate 420 with freak folk or hip hop, your choice
Thank you to everyone who rolled out of bed after a rainy Bay Area morning and celebrated the arrival of Primavera with us in the Mission last week! Immense love and gratitude to Manny for the amazing homemade masa tacos grandes, Risa Knight for capturing photos, and, of course, the wonderful musical talent: an all-vinyl cumbia set by Sue Problema (Chulita Vinyl Club), a live Latin jazz love affair by Louda y los Bad Hombres, and a fire closing set by JUANNY DEPP (AMOR DIGITAL).
See you at the next one?
AN INDIE CLASSICAL MEDITATION
Passage. I was sitting on waves in the middle of a rocking ocean and I looked as far as I could see in many directions, and all there was was sky. And I sent myself into each noticed thing—the ocean and its rocking, the waves, the distances, the sky. I did this to make myself whole. I did this to survive what otherwise would sink me.
Beginning with this recitation by poet, scholar, psychologist, mentor, and Black psychoanalyst Forrest Hamer, Ph.D., Passage is a profound piece of chamber music by Mia Pixley. Completed by the artist while on residency at Lucid Art Foundation in Inverness near Point Reyes—that little strip of land wedged between Tomales Bay, Drakes Bay, and the vastness of the Pacific Ocean—the work is a concept album of sorts, with each track sending the listener into “each noticed thing.” Bringing together keys, voices, stringed instruments, and percussion, it sometimes sounds explicitly classical (“The Ocean”) while other times more like indie rock (“The Distances). It’s short—under 20 minutes—but seems as vast as the sea.
SIMPLY FEELING, COMMUNICATING THRU SOUND
“Feelings, experiences, perspectives, journey reflections, state of being. I am simply communicating, by being, offering, sharing… and mostly with sound.” Still not subscribed to SMARTBOMB on Patreon? You’re missing out big time. The latest piece to entice you to join the Vanguard is this hourlong mix by Carlos Niño, weaving through kaleidoscopic ambience, free soul jazz, and experimental hip hop beats. The mix premieres on Balamii Radio on May 12, but you can hear it on Patreon now.
SANTA CRUZ FOLK KEEP IT WEIRD
“To play the blues, you got to think blues... A tragic story to bring you over the top. Because that's what you care about most.” Recorded in six hours over two days at SubRosa in Santa Cruz, The Kidd Returns is the second full-length by freak folk artist Sam Empasis—and it’s a serious contender for stoner album of the week. As if it’s the long lost descendant of 60s experimenter Syd Barrett, the seemingly bare folk music here gets contorted and refracted through wild harmonica, unexpected studio effects, and the man’s meandering voice and song. Out now on Shallow Dive Records.
SEXY SOUTHERN QUIET STORM
Less than a month after dropping ambient techno treasure trove Private Paradise, Space Ghost returns with Heaven Sent, a three-track collaboration with South Carolina singer Teddy Bryant. Released on Maryland's Peoples Potential Unlimited (PPU), it’s an irresistible blend of Oakland and the South, uniting Wachspress’ smooth, suave beats with Bryant’s deep, loving voice. The perfect quiet storm.
HAPPY 420 FROM RICHMOND CA
Who doesn’t love a good 4/20 release? On everyone’s favorite stoner holiday, Richmond rapper White Dave released The Bake Sale, featuring five tracks with thick thumping bass and other telltale signs of a Bay Area production. Aside from the EP’s name, don’t look for a bunch of hokey stoner jokes in the lyrics. It’s just good music to light up to, period.
Since the end of January, I’ve been seeing shows about 2-3 times per week. It’s insane. And amazing. My favorite Bay music moment this week had to be when Boy Harsher, performing at the Regency Ballroom on Monday night, covered Chris Isaak’s classic “Wicked Game.” Looking ahead, here are some recommended shows for the next week.
FRI APR 22
[punk] Warp, Relay for Death, Cube, Marbled Eye — Eli’s Mile High Club
SAT APR 23
[Afrobeat/musical] Angélique Kidjo’s Yemandja — Zellerbach Hall
[classical] Tetzlaff Quartet plays Haydn, Berg, and Brahms — Hertz Hall
[dance] FORM w/ Chloe Robinson, Tin Man, Baalti — Public Works
[dance] Bored Lord, Madre Guía, Varsha, NO BIAS DJs — Brix 581
[hip hop/R&B] LaRussell, Poosie, Shante, Tessie, Mali, Uncle Bean — New Parish
[indie/punk] Fake Fruit, Blues Lawyer, Galore, DJ Poindexter — Ivy Room
SUN APR 24
[jazz] Beth Schenck’s chamber jazz quintet House of Faern — West Oakland Sessions
WED APR 27
[post-punk] Lifeless Past, Yama Ube, Parallel — Elbo Room
THU APR 28
[indie rock] School of Rock w/ Mae Powell, Maggie Gently — Balboa Theater