White Crate — Jan 8, 2021

Music isn't just another distraction from the world, but rather a reflection of the world we live in — and a way of imagining a new one.

It’s a new year… but what’s really new?

The U.S. will have a new set of rulers in less than two weeks, which is certainly cause for cautious optimism, but in the meantime the pandemic rages and the people suffer. Musicians in particular, who in the age of streaming largely rely on live shows and merch sales for their daily bread, face some of the most unique challenges.

So, one week into the new year, a simple reminder: Subscribing to a streaming service isn’t enough. If you can afford it, please buy music on Bandcamp, buy merch directly from artists, order vinyl/cassettes/CDs directly from record labels, and support your local record shops. All we have is each other!



Hip hop crew The Watershed released their second album Don’t Forget, You’re Welcome on Audio Vandals, with the group saying they have “evolved from a loose collective to an official group,” featuring Equipto, MC Pauze, Monk HTS, and Professa Gabel on the mic with productions by Baghead and Brycon. Baghead also just released “if you slide”, a single from the upcoming album and short film Dedicated to Those Who.

SF label Left Hand Path announced 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 the title track on Bandcamp.

Oakland producer Cheflee released Snowflakeclone Vol 3. (plus the instrumentals), 20 minutes of jazzy, experimental beats.

Dark Entries Records announced it will be releasing Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Disappointment), the debut solo LP from Oakland experimental electronic musician Dax Pierson. The album drops on February 26, so in the meantime check out the preview on SoundCloud or listen to the artist’s Live in Oakland, featuring two sets of heady synth drones and samples.

On Christmas Day, Bay Area producer heru dropped cleanse pt. 2, a bunch of beats from 2019 as the second edition to the series cleanse. For some more short and sweet jazzy beats, check out their short and sweet EP send home.

North Bay producer Mark Aubert released Cool Beat on Oakland label SICKONASTY. The limited edition cassette sold out but you can listen to the beat tape on Bandcamp.

On New Year’s Eve, Oakland hardcore junglist M27 released a limited edition 12" vinyl of their single from the Strawberry Shake Ep.

SF producer RITCHRD released five-minute disco house single “SOMETHING”.

Floppy Disk, the sister label to Oakland’s In-N-Out Jungle, issued its second release today, a 7” flexi-disc featuring “Your Choice”, a a dark drum & bass track by Rufkraft. For more jungle from In-N-Out, check out The Secret Sauce Ep.

Oakland producer slothdubz released a soulful 13-min beat tape called Love Drips.

Spencer Owen released Carpet of Spikes, an EP he describes as his “first real home recording project in 11 years” and the first release of all-new music since the Spencer Owen Timeshare played its last shows in early 2020.


Leftfield dance punk duo Naked Roommate released Do the Duvet back in September. The Berkeley group sounds great during lockdown, but could be just as good when we can finally go out dancing again. Read more. (h/t Sue Problema)

Maybe this is stretching it for the Bay Area, but Modesto indie rock group Grandaddy celebrated the 20th anniversary of their critically acclaimed album The Sophtware Slump by releasing The Sophtware Slump ..... on a wooden piano, a new solo piano recording of the album by principal songwriter Jason Lytle.

In August, Oakland artist John Santos released his newest album Art of the Descarga on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Featuring his sextet with pianist Marco Diaz, bassist Saul Sierra, flutist Dr. John Calloway, saxophonist Melecio Magdaluyo, and drummer David Flores, the album is an hourlong Latin jazz feast heavily influenced by legendary Cuban bassist and composer Cachao. Read more on Oaklandside.

To celebrate its 21st anniversary in November, Washington, D.C.’s Carpark Records released No Cover: A Carpark Covers Comp, featuring Skylar Spence and Fat Tony covering Oakland’s Toro y Moi, Oakland's Madeline Kenney covering Palm, and Oakland’s Astronauts, etc. covering Ed Schrader's Music Beat.


Psych punk rockers King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard aren't from San Francisco, but their best live album is. In a way, it could be listened to as an homage to the city’s great garage rock scene from the early 2010s. Read more.