White Crate — Jan 29, 2021
Oakland rapper Ian Kelly teams up with 9th Wonder, Dax Pierson teases a playful new techno single, Club Chai waves goodbye with a book on its artists and ethos
No, I don’t own any GameStop stock.
But no matter: It’s hard not to smile at the fact that a loosely organized group of nobodies has dominated the news this week by exposing the gamification of Wall St. One hedge fund suffered huge losses, a few individuals may have gained monstrous profits, and most regular people invested in $GME are probably about to lose a bunch of money—hopefully they don’t miss it. More importantly, this has proven to be an opportunity to get wealth inequality and our broken economy back in the news, which is where it belongs until people in power are forced to finally do something about it.
Until then, here’s a selection of some of the best new Bay Area music to keep us going, including some hip hop gems, house and techno, and even a little hardcore.
THAT NEW NEW
Ian Kelly dropped KELLS is D.E.A.D. today on North Carolina’s Jamla Records, also home to Rapsody. With label boss 9th Wonder on production duties and Kelly effortlessly weaving his own confident but easy style with lines and motifs from 2Pac, Kendrick Lamar, and Wu-Tang Clan, the album successfully presents the Oakland rapper as one of the best new voices in hip hop. Check out the first single “One Time” (above) and the video for “Soul of a Man” released earlier this week.
SF label Left Hand Path released experimental techno album Without Hindrance, “the latest in a series of mixed-media releases from Auton that explores the nature of insurrectionary rupture and the possibility to challenge the hegemony of power and violence held by the State.” Stream anywhere or pick up the cassette and zine on Bandcamp.
Bad Kids Beach Club, a new project from Jesse Sizmo and Seb Hall of San Francisco’s Lips & Rhythm Records, is releasing a Balearic-inspired single next month with a remix by Ibiza-based producer Camilo Miranda. Check out “45 Degrees” and preorder the 10” vinyl on Bandcamp.
Cardboard People, an alt-pop-R&B project formed in the Bay Area last year, released “My High, Right?”—a critique of capitalism. The group is made up of singer Yunoka Berry, producer/songwriter Jim Greer, and Hieroglyphics founder and producer Damien (Domino) Siguenza.
Earlier this month, Dark Entries Records announced it’s releasing Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Disappointment), the debut solo LP from Oakland experimental electronic musician Dax Pierson. Now you can stream playful techno track “For the Angels”, the first single from the upcoming album.
Bay Area rapper Kaly Jay released “Kingdom Come” with yet another chill production by Baghead. If you like the beats, definitely dig into Don’t Forget You’re Welcome by The Watershed, released earlier this month.
Oakland mixtape label Ruff Tapes released an hourlong all-vinyl mix of breakbeat and hardcore by M27, originally aired on Free Billy's Bail Bonds radio show. Listen and order the limited edition cassette (and keychain!) on Bandcamp - All profits will be donated to Dublab Radio.
Last week SF disco house producer Starfari released Soul Purpose, an EP of three original tracks plus remixes of each by TYGRBYT, jarradcleofé, and MPHD. Out now everywhere on Popgang Records.
Can’t tell if they’re based in the Bay but it was recorded in Palo Alto: Hardcore band Torso just released five-minute EP Home Wrecked on Huntington Beach’s Revelation Records.
I guess I wasn’t the only one looking for a place to hear about Bay Area music: The KQED Arts & Culture team just launched Pass the Aux, a biweekly music column sharing new releases from Bay Area artists across a variety of genres. The first piece features Ally Cocaine, Jax the Band, Rexx Life Raj, and Dax Pierson.
Another one from Lips & Rhythm Records: Field Reports: Chile is a six-track collection of deep house from Chile and the first in a series from the label showcasing underground dance from around the world. The album drops February 12 but you can check out “Laguna de Patos” by Noon Do on Bandcamp.
As Club Chai closes down this month, the Oakland electronic label is leaving fans with CLUB CHAI Vol. 2, “a collection of tracks by artists whose work truly embodies the Club Chai ethos in storytelling through sound.” You can also pre-order an archive book, an artifact of everything that made up the collective.