White Crate — June 18, 2021
California is open and tomorrow is Juneteenth, so it's a great day to celebrate by buying tickets to live shows and supporting Black artists on Bandcamp
California is open. Gavin partied on TV. The pandemic is canceled.
With all due humility, the vaccines appear to be working, and I’m grateful to live in a place that not only has access to them but also has high vaccination rates. So far I haven’t grown a third arm, though I have had to weather Pfizer/Moderna people making fun of me for getting the Johnson & Johnson. Whatever. As long as my friends and I can go see our favorite artists perform live, I’ll be more than happy.
The other thing on my mind is that tomorrow is Juneteenth, the day of celebration and reflection marking the end of slavery of African-Americans in the United States. President Biden even signed it into law as the 12th federal holiday. Want to participate? Spend money on music: Bandcamp is once again donating 100% of its share of sales to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund “to support their ongoing efforts to promote racial justice through litigation, advocacy, and public education.” There are also more than a couple ways to find great Black artists who you can support.
THAT NEW NEW
Brogan Bentley, who recently completed his master’s in electronic music and recording media at Oakland’s Mills College, dropped the ambient-into-jungle lead single “Ecstasy” from his upcoming album Diapason Rex, to be released by Leaving Records on August 13. (h/t First Floor)
Deafheaven, the SF post-metal band that first rose to fame with the critically acclaimed 2013 album Sunbather, released “Great Mass of Color” as the first single from their upcoming album Infinite Granite, out August 20. (h/t Datebook)
Red Knot Returns by Oakland experimental artist Hawsepiper was featured on Bandcamp’s New & Notable: “Sparse ambient uses drones, loops, and modal jazz to take the listener on an unexpected journey.”
Oakland producer 4d. released a heavenly, snare-heavy, minute-long instrumental track called “For My Deer”.
Local label releases:
Alameda’s Bad Time Records released Wavebreaker #1, a 7” with “Need Some Shaking” by ska punk band Less Than Jake and “Going Under” by Kill Lincoln.
Dark Entries Records, in partnership with the Stud, released its next offering from the archives of SF disco legend Patrick Cowley. The self-titled collection of rehearsal tapes by White Trash Boom-Boom features the Haight-Ashbury all-female avant-garde performance troupe whose kooky, theatrical singing is backed by Cowley’s synth productions.
Lips & Rhythm Records released a bunch of house remixes of tracks from Cosmic Romance, an album by LA producer MoodHay from last September. Featured artists include Seb Hall, Sofa Talk & XL Regular, imayani, E da Boss, Brine, and Birds of Rhythm. The SF label also announced “Infinite Wait” b/w “EverybodyEverybodyEverybody,” an upcoming groovy house single by Canadian producer Eddie C. Preorders are open for a limited 10" vinyl of the single, out August 27.
I hadn’t heard Madeline Kenney until her 2020 album Sucker’s Lunch. And I didn’t get hooked until the intimate and uneasily sweet 2021 EP Summer Quarter, which the Oakland artist self-recorded in her home after having her tour canceled due to COVID. Today Kenney added some 7” vinyl to Bandcamp for her single “Helpless” b/w “The Sisters” by Baltimore’s Flock of Dimes, originally from 2019 on Carpark Records.
Together as a whole the songs explore the attempt to make sense of life as an artist in an industry that values style over substance, particularly for women who refuse to have their artistry seen only through the filter of their own physicality.
I’ve been busy enough just trying to keep up with music coming out of the Bay Area, so I have no immediate plans to also track events. Besides, more than releases, I’d argue shows and festivals already receive great coverage across several local publications. But I thought I’d share a few local live music events on my radar:
July 2-3, 2022
Mosswood Park (Oakland)
Turns out the 10th anniversary of Burger Boogaloo in 2019 was and wasn’t the last edition of the beloved local punk rock festival. Total Trash Productions, the independent group behind the festival, has “severed ties with Burger Records” after dozens of women came forward last year to detail repeated instances of sexual grooming and coercion by musicians and other individuals connected to the label. The festival may have a new name but it’s taking place in the same park with the same rock & roll vibes represented: Bikini Kill, Flipper, and more are already on the bill.
SMARTBOMB x LOUD CINEMA
The Lot @ Tribune Tower (Oakland)
The very first artist I wrote about on White Crate was SF producer Xyla, so it was nice to see they will be performing at this upcoming audiovisual-focused event. Other featured artists include Chris Keys & Daoud, Imogen TV, Idhaz, and Sandu Ndu.
Stern Grove Festival
Every Sunday thru August 29
Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove (SF)
This one’s about as famous as Outside Lands and Hardly Strictly around these parts, though it’s hosted in the much smaller grove south of Golden Gate Park and totally free to attend (except this year you have to reserve your spot). The headliners are about as big too: This season features Ledisi, Perfume Genius, the SF Symphony, Thievery Corporation, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, X, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Thundercat, Fitz & the Tantrums, Tower of Power, and Too $hort.
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!