White Crate — July 2, 2021
Experimental beats from Pacific Yew and IDHAZ, a ton of new singles from Kevin Nichols to King Woman, and a Soulwax remix of SF disco legend Sylvester
2021 is halfway over, which of course means it’s time for write-ups on all the amazing music that has come out this year. Here are a couple I’ve come across:
The Cinder Grove by Oakland artist Chuck Johnson was featured on NPR Music's 26 Favorite Albums of 2021 (So Far): “One of the leading lights of whatever you call the fingerpicked acoustic guitar style often tied to John Fahey's name […] turns to yawning pedal steel and other ambient stepchildren.”
THAT NEW NEW
Oakland experimental beatmaker Pacific Yew just released Modest ((( ))) Odyssey, featuring music made back in 2013-2014: “This album marks the beginning of a very long journey back to self.”
The second release of the year from SF experimental label Left Hand Path will be psychic behaviors by IDHAZ, a rising Bay Area beatmaker who appeared on LIGHT BEINGS #2 by SMARTBOMB and #ARMTHEGIRLS 2021 by WE ARE THE ONES WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR—two compilations from the past year featured in the recent Bandcamp scene report Meet the Oakland Artists and Collectives Holding it Down for the Town During the Pandemic.
Unleash the Hoof's Revenge, a psychedelic-american collaboration between T.G. Olson, Caleb R.K. Williams, and San Jose artist Ivonne Van Cleef, was featured on Bandcamp’s New & Notable: “Recorded in Argentina, France, and the U.S., this is an album of spectral songs fit for a western noir film.”
Oakland alt punk rocker Kevin Nichols released “My Friend” as the opening track and lead single from his upcoming album Disappointer, out September 25.
Oakland metal artist King Woman released “Psychic Wound,” the second single from her upcoming album Celestial Blues, out July 30 on Relapse Records.
Check out a preview of “Cumbia en la Sierra” by seven-piece psychedelic cumbia group Ritmos Tropicosmos, who will be premiering the song live tomorrow (Sat Jul 3) at the Tiny Towns Outdoor Concert Series in Alameda. The single will also be released on 7" by Discos Mas.
To celebrate Pride Month, Soulwax released a remix of the underground disco classic “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” by SF disco legend Sylvester: “It was made to play on the Despacio sound system, a 50,000 watt, state-of-the-art, vinyl only sound system which Soulwax created with James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem, DFA Records).”
Date Night: Chromeo Live!, a new live album from the storied lords of electro funk, features Toro y Moi on the single “Come Alive.” Blending performances from several tour dates, the album also features recordings of “Bonafied Lovin’” and “Over Your Shoulder” from their San Francisco show.
Zelma Stone, the SF-based indie pop project of Chloe Zelma Studebaker, released “Gift Horse,” the opening track from upcoming EP The Best, out August 20.
Zion I (currently consisting solely of MC/producer Zumbi) released “Back to Life” featuring Deuce Eclipse and DJ Vinroc.
Alameda ska label Bad Time Records announced Nice One by Philly four-piece Catbite. Album’s out August 6 but you can stream the first single “Call Your Bluff.”
Sentient Ruin Laboratories released Desecration by “Portuguese atmospheric raw black/death metal necromancers” Concilium and announced The Doorway by the UK’s “mechanized aural weapon” Vessel of Iniquity. And yes, they still have the best promotional language of any record label.
As part of the "Big Ups" series, M.C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger picked his Bandcamp favorites, including Santa Cruz indie rockers Comets on Fire:
They were an amazing band, you would walk away from their shows thinking that’s the best rock ‘n’ roll band in existence […] Having grown up as a fan of and as a member of a hardcore band, Comets on Fire feels like they took my favorite parts of some types of hardcore music that I was really drawn to, but kind of mashed it together with American rock ‘n’ roll like the Stooges or The MC5 or something.
Check out their last album Avatar, from 2016.
REST IN PEACE
Like many of you, I turned up the volume on Blackalicious last Saturday after I learned that the Gift of Gab had died from natural causes. Though I’d been hooked by their debut album Nia for as long as I can remember, I’m bummed to say I never got a chance to see them live. Another great one gone, but Gift of Gab will always be known as one of the best in conscious hip hop from the Bay.
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!