White Crate — Feb 5, 2021
R.I.P. SOPHIE, Double K, Pauline Anna Strom, and all other artists gone too soon
Many of you have likely already heard the devastating news: SOPHIE, a Scottish artist brilliantly bridging the gap between mainstream pop and experimental electronic music, died last Saturday. Having collaborated with everyone from Madonna to Autechre, she has received fitting coverage from a wide variety of sources. Read about how she “pushed the boundaries of pop” in the New York Times.
A little less talked about but still important: Michael Turner, aka Double K of LA rap duo People Under the Stairs, also died on Saturday. When they called it quits in 2019, Turner talked about the group’s inspiration in the Los Angeles Times:
“Where I grew up, there was the negative, and I had the positive, which was my music. I was surrounded by the negativity, the things going on in the streets, the stuff that I thought that I wanted to be a part of. I decided that this was more important. I just holed up in my room, listening to music, and then I met this dude and I had somebody else to listen to music with.”
Bringing things even closer to home, San Francisco electronic music composer Pauline Anna Strom, who died in December, just received an obituary in the New York Times. As planned, RVNG will release Angel Tears in Sunlight, her first album in over 30 years, on February 19 - Check out the new single “Equatorial Sunrise”.
With all this news, all that comes to mind is… Memento mori. Remember death—not to be hopeless and dejected, but to use time wisely. Support the ones you love—today.
HAPPY BANDCAMP FRIDAY
Today is Bandcamp Friday, meaning the site is waiving its revenue share to help support artists. Here are a few Bay Area artists to support!
Etui Winter Camp 5, a compilation of dub techno by Dresden’s Etui Records, includes “Oceanium” by SF-based Federsen (pictured above - don’t you want to know what that sounds like?). €10 on Bandcamp.
Michael Bridgmon aka Alleyes Manifest released soulful, reverbed-out hip hop album NIGHTS today. Double points for opening track “Owed a Piece (Nights)” sampling 1967 single "San Franciscan Nights" by Eric Burdon and the Animals. $10 on Bandcamp.
Baghead released instrumental hip hop track “What If You Couldn’t Get It Right,” the latest single off his upcoming album Dedicated To Those Who, out February 12 on Audio Vandals. $1 for the single or $10 for the full album on Bandcamp.
Oakland’s CLEARS released dark fuzzy pop single “Storm This Weather.” $1 on Bandcamp.
SF sound artist Joel St. Julien released a recording of his 18-min performance on the Colorado Modular Synth Society’s January Skies livestream. $3 on Bandcamp.
Sonoma artist Lia Ices just released Family Album, a nine-track “collection of psychedelic-tinged Americana” recorded in LA, SF, and Stinson Beach. Read more on 48 Hills. $10 for the digital album and $24 for the vinyl on Bandcamp.
Floppy Disk, the sister label to Oakland’s In-N-Out Jungle, just released Floppy Disk 003, a flexi disc featuring “Rinky Dink,” a “dark breakbeat hardcore choon” by M27. Get it for $5 or order their full digital discography (three releases) for $4.20. In-N-Out Jungle also announced Double Double Ep (with extra cheese), an upcoming 12” featuring four tracks and two sample bands. Pre-order for $20 on Bandcamp.
A couple weeks ago, SF atmospheric rock group Treasvre released “Heavy Arms” b/w “Secrets”. “Name your price” on Bandcamp.
SF hardcore band Urban Sprawl just released Concrete Altar last week, a punchy five-track album of hardcore punk. $5 on Bandcamp.
SF’s Dark Entries just announced Peel Sessions by the Netherlands dark wave group Clan of Xymox. Pre-order the digital album for $7 or the vinyl for $16 on Bandcamp.
THAT NEW NEW
Here’s some classic underground Bay Area hip hop you can’t miss: Alien Mac Kitty (AMK)—daughter of late SF rapper Ronald Fields (better known as Cougnut)—shared on Twitter that she got a hold of the rights to her dad’s music. She’s working on dropping unreleased singles and more as she goes along, but the first single “Im Rollin” is out now. According to Discogs, the track was originally released by SF gangsta rap crew I.M.P. (“Ill Mannered Posse”) as a 12” single in 1988, and was also included on an EP the following year called No Prisoners. Three decades later, it still slaps. Thanks to my buddy Brian for sending this news along, since Cougnut is apparently already a legend where he lives in the Lakeview/Oceanview district.
Kehlani is featured on “Love You Too”, a new ballad-like single from Chicago rapper Lil Durk.
Berkeley-born Rexx Life Raj released funky smooth hip hop track “Bounty” last week - check out the new video out today.
Oakland rapper Sin Q released “Give It Up”, a single produced by Pomona’s AC3Beats.
Stunnaman02 & QuakeBeatz, a rapper-producer duo based in SF, just released sexed-up gangsta hip hop album I Gotta Feel It. According to SF Weekly, “the rapper promises to release a major project ‘every two months’ of 2021, including collaborations with local stalwarts Professa Gabel and DrewBanga.”
Remember Lookout Records? Starting on January 31, Grant Lawrence of Vancouver punk band the Smugglers is hosting “a series of virtual showcases honoring the now defunct [label] and its roster of talent.” Read more on Datebook.
KQED recently wrote about Bear's Sonic Journals: That Which Colors the Mind, a live album released last year capturing a 1970 recording of Indian classical masters Ali Akbar Khan, Indranil Bhattacharya, and Zakir Hussain performing in San Francisco: “The concert was recorded by another legend of the time: Owsley Stanley, the man who designed the Dead's innovative sound system, as well as making what was reputed to be the best LSD of its day.” Read more.