White Crate — July 9, 2021
Boom bap from SF duo Diamond Lung, a new EP of afrobeat-inspired house music from Izzy Wise, and a special feature on four local DJs touring Oakland through music
The beauty of vinyl is its tactility. It’s real. You can touch it.
When the power briefly went out in West Oakland a couple months ago, I spun a record already sitting on the platter—ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”—and rejoiced in my wife’s astonishment. You can hear the music with or without electricity!
And so why not play with this idea even further? Explore the idea of touch. With the flick of a wrist, translate the little physical ridges into music.
Evicshen (Victoria Shen) did just that. Originally from San Francisco but currently based in New England, Shen shared a video last month of her “Needle Nails” with the tagline “scratching made easy.” Essentially: Turntable needles/styli configured into faux nails. It’s wild and brilliant.
THAT NEW NEW
Diamond Lung, an SF hip hop duo made up of producer Brycon and Lightbulb on the mic, just released Jeweler’s Loop via Filthy Broke/Alpha Pup. The album features many other collaborators from the Watershed circle—including Monk HTS, Professa Gabel, Baghead, and Dregs One—who all appeared on the album Don’t Forget, You’re Welcome released on New Year’s Day this year. Brycon especially has been busy: In March, he released Music for Indoor Cats, an all-instrumental hip hop collaboration with Japanese beatmaker iLL Sugi.
With the dreamy lo-fi singles "Shrine" and "Tiffany's Day Go By" out today, SF alternative rock quartet April Magazine announced it will be releasing Sunday Music for an Overpass next week on Paisley Shirt Records.
Astronauts, etc. (aka Anthony Ferraro) released “Nature”, a pleasantly downtempo and poppy R&B single.
Brogan Bentley, who recently completed his master’s in electronic music and recording media at Oakland’s Mills College, opened up pre-orders and released the latest single “Phantom” for his upcoming album Diapason Rex, due out August 13 on Leaving Records.
Chuck Johnson—the Oakland pedal steel guitarist whose album The Cinder Grove was recently featured NPR Music's 26 Favorite Albums of 2021 (So Far)—just published “Picoté” as an exclusive 23-min track available only to Bandcamp subscribers.
Following their debuting on DFA last year with Mother and the more recent release of four remixes of “Double Sided Mirror” (including one by Stephen Mallinder of Cabaret Voltaire), SF alt dance rock band Cold Beat just announced War Garden, due out September 17 on Like LTD. Listen to the lead single “See You Again.”
Best known as a Fender Telecaster player, guitarist Redd Volkaert appears on “The Redd Planet” as the next collaborator featured on Funkwrench Blues’ “Need to Know Badass Blues Instrumentals Series.”
Sebastopol rapper J.Lately released “Good Morning” featuring formerly Bay Area-based rapper the Grouch.
West Oakland rapper MEK ZOU dropped four short tracks on Strictly 4 The Real.
For those who simply can’t get enough of their 1991 classic, Metallica announced a remastered deluxe box set and 53-song covers album to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their self-titled album, commonly known as the “Black Album.” Of course, since the original album only had a dozen tracks, there will be many repeats of “Enter Sandman” and “Nothing Else Matters.” Featured artists include Miley Cyrus, St. Vincent, Juanes, Weezer, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Mexican Institute of Sound, OFF!, Cage the Elephant, J Balvin, The Neptunes, Portugal. The Man, Phoebe Bridgers, Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan, My Morning Jacket, Idles, Kamasi Washington, and Rodrigo y Gabriela. Profits from the covers album will benefit Metallica's charitable foundation All Within My Hands along with a charity of each artist's choice.
Armed with a Roland SP404, Oakland junglist M27 released lo-fi jungle EP Fungus Patch on Ruff Tapes.
Glenn Donaldson’s chamber pop project the Reds, Pinks, and Purples released “I'd Rather Astral Project” b/w “Work It Out While You Can.”
Noting that the Bay Area “has long been an important outpost of the International Pop Underground,” SF jangle pop quartet the Umbrellas released two singles from their upcoming self-titled album, due out August 6 on Slumberland Records.
Announced with a hard driving techno single called “Escape from the Hive,” the next original release from Dark Entries Records will be Mechanical Music for Brighter Days by Glaswegian producer Fear-E.
Last month, SF multi-instrumentalist and DJ Izzy Wise released Keep It Movin’, a delectable four-track EP of afrobeat-inspired house music featuring Smashish and CobraWolfShark. Each of the songs is a fraction of the length of your typical Fela Kuti cut, but they feature that same joyful saxophone and contagious percussion bound to get the dancefloor moving.
IN THE NEWS
“4 local DJs want to take you on a musical journey through Oakland’s neighborhoods.” YR Media’s “Surround Sound: Oakland”—a new project by Bay Area DJs D Sharp, Zita, Lady Ryan, and Fuze—was featured on Oaklandside this week.
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!