Not a band about nothing, George Crustanza drops hardcore punk masterpiece "Billionaire Blastoff"
In case you haven't heard, Outside Lands is this week; Nico Georis covers Terry Riley's "A Rainbow in Curved Air"; Christina Chatfield revisits dub techno on "Sutro"
One of the Bay’s biggest music weekends of the year has arrived. It’s Outside Lands, still the largest independently owned music festival in the US, meaning this is one of the best (or worst) times to live in the Richmond or Sunset districts. This year is extra special for local music lovers, according to Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong:
As a band, Green Day is an Oakland-born hometown hero. Outside Lands started back in 2008. Are you excited to finally be checking this one off the band’s bucket list?
Armstrong: Yes. We’ve always intended to play it, but every time we’ve been asked to do it, we were already booked or in the middle of making a record or on a tour. I’m psyched. I don’t know if there’s been a band that’s essentially, actually from the Bay Area that’s headlined there.
The only one I could make a case for is Metallica.
Armstrong: Eh, they’re not really from the Bay Area. They’re all Los Angeles dudes, pretty much, except for Kirk Hammett. But for us? I mean, God, it’s our backyard. We’re just psyched to get to play in front of all our homies.
It’s a funny thing, trying to define who is or isn’t Bay. Do you have to be born here? What if you moved here as a child or teen or adult? What if you lived your whole life here and then moved to LA in your 30s, are you still Bay Area? Going even deeper: If your ancestors aren’t indigenous to this land, then how meaningful is your claim, really? We ask these questions a lot, and it came up over and over again when writing How many Bay Area artists are playing at your favorite Bay Area music festival?
Though it’s fun to debate, I try not to take it too seriously in the end. If you’re making good music and care about this community, then I’m thankful for you. So yes, if you’re going to Outside Lands, absolutely go rock out to Green Day. They’re East Bay legends. But also check out these other definitely (or dubiously) Bay Area artists:
Ashe (originally from San Jose)
Avalon Emerson (SF)
Claude VonStroke (SF)
Illenium (originally from SF)
Larry June (SF)
ODIE (raised in the Bay)
Oliver Tree (originally from Santa Cruz)
DIP YOUR BALD HEAD IN THIS
Come for the hilarious fucking band name, stay for the explosive hardcore punk. Billionaire Blastoff is a new 10-track romp through minute-long tirades of industrial-strength drum fire, thick and sinuous bass, thrashy gasoline-drenched guitar, and a ferocious singer with something to say: The lyrics may be hard to parse, but it’s clear that George Crustanza isn’t a band about nothing. Turn it up and imagining blasting your least favorite billionaire into outer space. Launchpad? San Francisco.
DOUBLE RAINBOW, ALL THE WAY
“It was never supposed to happen. No one was supposed to reimagine Terry Riley’s A Rainbow in Curved Air - a piece of music that, until now, has existed in its own class of expression. No one was supposed to scale the perilous heights of the citadel and come back with another document of the strange festival scenes within.”
True, true. Among diehard aficionados of minimal electronic music, the late 60s piece by Terry Riley stands alone. Inspired by Hindustani classical, jazz improvisations, and experimental recording techniques developed at the San Francisco Tape Music Center, A Rainbow in Curved Air is legendary. But just because something is sacred, that doesn’t make it untouchable. Perhaps it’s the thing we should touch most.
Recorded and engineered between Big Sur, SF, and Sonoma County, A Rainbow in Curved Air by Nico Georis is a new return to the sacred piece, released last week on Santa Cruz label Spiritual Pajamas. Just over 13 minutes, it’s not quite as epic as the original, but it’s also more approachable. The artist knows it: Promo material describes it as “way less manic, way more listenable.” Instead of covering the even stranger side B on Riley’s original record (“Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band”), Georis offers three originals, including one track (“Vapor”) featuring music generated by a marijuana plant. A gentle comedown for the long slope to summer’s end.
LATE NIGHT HEADPHONE HYPNOSIS
Inspired by SF’s landmark TV and radio antenna tower, Sutro by Christina Chatfield was one of the Bay Area’s best ambient albums of 2021. Now the SF producer, one of the longest-standing techno performers associated with As You Like It, has returned to New York label Mysteries of the Deep with Interpretations Vol IV - Sutro, featuring two unreleased bonus pieces plus remixes by Erika and Patrick Russell. Dark and dubby, all four tracks continue echoing the airwaves of the original album, the perfect thing for late night headphone hypnosis.
“Solstice” by Intertidal
rock, metal, San Francisco, Los Angeles
“In My Pockets” by Larry June
hip hop, San Francisco
VOL 2: HARD SCIENCE by Ben Goldberg School
Turning Up the Ground by the Brothers Comatose
folk, Americana, bluegrass, San Francisco
“CONFUSION IN ILLUSION” by IDHAZ on NO BIAS
experimental, gabber, electro, San Francisco
Breakfast by J.Lately
hip hop, Oakland, Sebastopol
Mental Picture by Sarah Bethe Nelson, featured as Album of the Day on Bandcamp on August 1: “Like Raymond Carver before her, she leans into the uncanny and the poetic without resorting to grand settings or sweeping metaphors.”
indie, rock, San Francisco
Beside the Blade: A Glowing Dagger Compilation by various artists
experimental, San Francisco
Something missing below? Yes, we know Outside Lands is this weekend. But here are some of our top show recommendations you may not have heard about:
[punk] Aklasan Fest ft. Kanta Kanta, Material Support, Mirrored Fatality, AninoKo, Toxic Culture, Moxiebeat, Obsolete Sun, and more — Aug 5-6 at Bindlestiff Studio
[soul] Astu, Briiza, DJ Kream, Jenset — Aug 5 at COMMUNE
[classical] Edwin Huizinga, William Coulter — Aug 5 at St Paul Lutheran Church
[club] REBIRTH II: A Benefit for Club Waziema ft. Chaz Bear, Lil Zé, Yung Tucson, Rental VHS — Aug 6 at Club Waziema
[club] Super Flu, The Scumfrog, Torie — Aug 6 at Public Works
[blues] Taj Mahal, Monophonics, DJ Shortkut — Aug 7 at Stern Grove
[alternative] L’Rain, Spacemoth — Aug 7 at Rickshaw Stop
[reggae] Sealed with a Loving Kiss (SWALK), Jumpin’ Toads — Aug 7 at the Knockout
[soul] Brijean, the Seshen, Dougie Stu, Stanley Ipkuss — Aug 11 at the Independent
[indie] Florist, Marc Merza, Flung — Aug 11 at Bottom of the Hill