White Crate — April 30, 2021
Two Oakland venues make a comeback, a new record label by Fantastic Negrito, a slew of new singles, ska against racism, and a mid-90s hip hop classic from Vallejo
A bunch of good news for Oakland music lovers.
After being put up for sale in October by cash-strapped owners, the beloved bar and ballroom Starline Social Club has been buoyed by federal relief and is now in the early stages of converting into a worker-owned co-op. Its owners tell KQED that the venue will be back in action in September.
Similarly, after a community fundraiser generated over $94,000 for the 88-year-old piano bar on Grand Avenue, The Alley reopened yesterday with food service, piano performances, and even singing!
Finally—and, yes, I’m late to this—but I just found out that, after winning his third Grammy this year, Xavier Dphrepaulezz aka Fantastic Negrito is launching a new record label in West Oakland called Storefront Records.
Citing the long legacy of amazing musicians from the Bay Area and the fact that we do things differently here, Dphrepaulezz says the new label is about following that tradition and reinvesting his own success in the local community. You can learn more and donate to the artist’s fundraiser here.
THAT NEW NEW
1300 A.D., a new EP by Berkeley goth punk duo Axe, was featured on Bandcamp’s New & Notable: “four catchy, heavy synth-punk rippers inspired by campy horror flicks and old-school heavy metal.”
Body Void aren’t here anymore, but since they identify themselves as “New England via Bay Area,” I figured it was worth mentioning: The noise doom duo’s LP Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth was album of the day on Bandcamp this past Monday. The album was mixed and mastered at Earhammer Studios in Oakland by Greg Wilkinson.
Back in January, French trip hop producer Wax Tailor released The Shadow Of Their Suns, featuring Oakland’s Del the Funky Homosapien on the track “Everybody.” Today the artist released a couple remixes of the track by Mr. Lif and Kanif the Jhatmaster.
The latest single from his upcoming album TY4FWM (Thank You 4 Fuckin’ With Me), ALLBLACK released “10 Toes” featuring fellow Oakland rappers G-Eazy and E-40.
Speaking of Fantastic Negrito, the artist just released his single and video for “Root City”, the new official anthem of the Oakland Roots Sports Club. Filmed at locations around the town, “the video will be played at Laney College Stadium before every Oakland Roots home match during the 2021 USL Championship season.”
Born and raised in Vallejo, Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson (better known as H.E.R.) released “Come Through” feat. Chris Brown. Notably, her song "Fight for You” on the soundtrack for Judas and the Black Messiah just won the Oscar for Best Original Song.
SF producer IDHAZ released brooding experimental R&B track “wish upon a dream.”
SF ambient maestro Shipwreck Detective released Live at Isolated as Fuck Fest, the raw recording of his livestream for the event organized by New Noise Entertainment.
Paisley Shirt Records in SF is taking pre-orders for Hey There Flower, a new album by Tony Jay out May 14: “beautifully eerie lo-fi pop; like a hazy memory where your favorite Sixties girl-group melody is perpetually slowed down.”
SF atmospheric rock group Treasvre released a new single, “Scarlet Mark”.
“Mood” (feat. iann dior), the big poppy hip hop hit from 24kGoldn’s new album El Dorado, just got some extra verses from Chinese rapper Lil Ghost.
The Chapel in SF announced the next set of shows on its outdoor stage, and nearly all of the acts are folk-adjacent artists from the Bay Area:
Thursday, April 29: Bay Area bluegrass group Hot Buttered Rum [If you’re reading this, you already missed this one!]
Thursday, May 6: Two members from Santa Cruz blues group Marty O’Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra
Thursday, May 20: Marin County-born Casual Coalition and Stu Allen celebrate Bob Dylan's 80th birthday by performing The Basement Tapes
Friday, June 11: SF singer-songwriter Sean Hayes
Thursday, June 24: Oakland artist Thao of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
A few weeks ago, I read this bizarre and fascinating article called The Chaos Bazaar: An Analysis of Bandcamp Sales, 9/1/2020 - 12/31/2020 (h/t First Floor), which included this random tidbit:
The genre tag "Alameda" is a reference to the city in the Bay Area. The only album in this dataset with the "Alameda" tag is Ska Against Racism, a compilation whose proceeds went to anti-racist organizations.
And that’s how I discovered Bad Time Records, a ska punk-dedicated music collective run out of a basement in Alameda by Mike Sosinski. Unfortunately, this week Alameda is in the news for something far less savory:
On Tuesday, the city of Alameda, Calif., released police body camera footage of an interaction with a 26-year-old man who died after police pinned him to the ground for at least five minutes.
Mario Gonzalez of Oakland died April 19 after what police previously called a "scuffle" with officers. The Alameda Police Department said Gonzalez suffered some sort of "medical emergency" after an interaction with police.
The video is disgusting, and more (unneeded) proof of how much our police force needs reform. Watch it at your own risk. If you care about these kinds of things, then I recommend taking one or more of the following actions:
Donate to the Justice for Mario & Gonzalez family GoFundMe
Donate to the Anti Police-Terror Project
Listen to Ska Against Racism
My cousin recently sent me Dubee’s track “My Thang,” the Vallejo rapper’s biggest hit from his debut album Dubee Aka Sugawolf, originally released in 1996. And it still slaps 25 years later. Turn it up if you’re planning to light up this lovely Friday afternoon.
If you ever want to press play on the growing list of artists covered on White Crate, follow this Spotify playlist. Shuffle and crossfade recommended!