White Crate — August 6, 2021

Meditate to Leila Abdul-Rauf's phantasiai, bask in sincerity with Sonny & the Sunsets, explore two Bay Area hip hop movements, and psych out to the 13th Floor Elevators

Happy Bandcamp Friday!

Today my favorite online music marketplace (which happens to be based in Oakland) is waiving its revenue share to help support artists. Bandcamp started holding these promotional days at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns to generate additional revenue for artists, who had lost the opportunity to make money touring. Thankfully, the site has recognized the pandemic is far from over, and so they will continue to hold Bandcamp Fridays today and on the first Friday of every month through the end of 2021.

Below I’ve linked many Bandcamp pages for local Bay Area artists you can support!



In Hellenistic philosophy, phantasiai are our impressions, the ways in which the world is represented through our senses, preceding actual thoughts. This is where music-making lies for me: in the space between senses and thoughts, having the power to express where words fall short.

Oakland multi-instrumentalist and composer Leila Abdul-Rauf released her fourth full-length album Phantasiai, made up of two dark ambient suites featuring modulated live trumpet, glockenspiel, and vocal performances.

Oakland DJ and producer Bored Lord released five new tracks of ravey techno on Neither Dusk Nor Dawn.

As a follow-up to the label’s 2020 mixtape Be Gay, Do Crime!, Portland’s Girlsville’s upcoming punk compilation Paid By Rock features Oakland band Blues Lawyer alongside a wide variety of bands, including Adulkt Life, Lithics, DeStructos, Star Party, and Germ House. The new comp is due out August 24.

Critically-acclaimed Oakland pedal steel guitarist Chuck Johnson released Precession, a 40-minute live meditation recorded in September 2018.

SF alt dance rock band Cold Beat released “Mandelbrot Fall”, the second single and opening track for upcoming album War Garden, due out September 17 on Like LTD.

Following their self-titled LP released in June, SF lofi pop duo Flowertown just announced Time Trials with two new singles. Out August 20 on Paisley Shirt Records.

SF jazz trombonist and vocalist Natalie Cressman appears on “Crepuscule” as the next collaborator featured on Funkwrench Blues’ “Need to Know Badass Blues Instrumentals Series.”

Sebastopol rapper J.Lately released poppy track “All I’ve Ever Been”, produced by West Coast Trey.

Oakland alt punk rocker Kevin Nichols released “Why Don’t You Run,” the second single from his upcoming album Disappointer, out September 25.

“Like a religious revelation and a fiery apostasy all at once.” Celestial Blues, the new album by Oakland artist King Woman, tops the list for The Best Metal on Bandcamp: July 2021.

“This tape is dedicated to all the homies and homegirls whom have been thrown under the bus. This is especially dedicated to all you whack ass people who think they down with the cause but be perpetrating.” MENACE is a new half hour of hip hop jungle by M27 out on Ruff Tapes.

Glenn Donaldson’s chamber pop project the Reds, Pinks, and Purples released “Leave it All Behind” b/w “Can’t Stop the World from Going By.”

“In modern life and in music, true sincerity is hard to find.” New Day With New Possibilities, the new album from SF band Sonny & the Sunsets, was featured as Bandcamp’s Album of the Day on Tuesday.

Continuing his weekly single releases, Berkeley rapper Rexx Life Raj dropped “HIM.” For more hella good freestyles, check out “Red Lobster Biscuits,” “Turn Her Up,” “Kimbo Slice,” “Alpharetta,” “Bodega Bay Freestyle,” and “Lockheed Martin.”

SF rapper Stunnaman02 joins EaSWay on the new track “Double Up.”

SF jangle pop quartet the Umbrellas released their self-titled album on Slumberland Records. The album was also featured on Bandcamp’s Essential Releases, August 6th, 2021: “As always with indie pop—and, to a lesser extent, only because it’s more obscure, Paisley Underground revivalism—your mileage may vary: If you know what’s going on, you already love this. If you don’t, give it a spin and by the end, you’ll probably want to start a fun jangle pop band, too.”

I was never a huge ska person but this is a “nice one.” Alameda ska label Bad Time Records released Nice One by Philly four-piece Catbite, featuring the extremely catchy “Call Your Bluff” plus a notable cover of Selena’s “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.”

Oakland ambient and drone label Constellation Tatsu released its Summer Batch:

  • Pastorale by Arian Shafiee (NY), featuring collaborations with Claire Rousay, Chuck Johnson, and others.

  • Polynators by suryummy (SF)

  • What Was Left Behind by Paperbark (Minneapolis)

Oakland’s Sentient Ruin Laboratories announced Backwater & Obsidian Katabasis, a limited edition cassette tape box set of the two most recent full-length albums by Italian extreme metal band Fuoco Fatuo.

Underground hip hop label Solidarity Records released Civil Disobedience Vol. 1, a six-track EP featuring Equipto, MC Pauze, Amani Jade, and more Bay Area artists.


Here are a couple cool recent pieces on Bay Area hip hop:

‘Couldn’t have happened anywhere else’: Chopmaster J reflects on Digital Underground’s Oakland roots (via Oaklandside)
In anticipation of Digital Underground Day, Jimi Dright, Jr. talks about the group’s beginnings, Shock G, and what’s next.

A Hyphy History with Producer Trackademicks (via Rightnowish on KQED)
As a number of rappers make music that harkens back to that era, we thought it'd be a good time to discuss how the big sun glasses, fun dances, and uptempo music of the Hyphy Movement came to be.


Released in October 1966, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators is a classic in the psychedelic and garage rock genres. With lyrics like “You gotta open up your mind and let everything come through” (on “Roller Coaster”), the band didn’t hold back their love of mind-enhancing substances, and ended up inspiring a bunch of later artists, most notably Spacemen 3 and Primal Scream.

The 13th Floor Elevators were originally from Austin but given the time in which they were active, it’s perhaps not surprising that they made their mark on San Francisco’s hippie scene. In the same year they recorded and released Psychedelic Sounds, they also played a show at the 500-person capacity Avalon Ballroom on Sutter between Polk and Van Ness. In addition to playing a few of their originals, they cover some famous songs of the times, including “You Really Got Me” by the Kinks, “Roll Over Beethoven” by Chuck Berry, and “The Word” by the Beatles. Presumably because it’s an unofficial bootleg, however, you can’t buy a copy on Discogs. But interested parties in the Bay Area may be able to find a nice inexpensive copy at 1-2-3-4 Go! Records in Oakland.


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!