White Crate — March 19, 2021
Guapdad 4000 makes art of the apocalypse in West Oakland, Grex weaves electropunk with jazz & hip hop, plus a couple mixes from the city to get you dancing
Oakland blues rocker Fantastic Negrito won the award for best contemporary blues album for Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?, marking his third Grammy. He’s an amazing musician and deserves the recognition, but I’ve nothing to say about the increasingly irrelevant awards show.
With so much amazing music created by so many amazing artists every day—and with the technology for everyone to know it—the concept of “best album” or “best guitarist” or “#1 hit” is dead. Maybe our parents will never understand how this could be, but our children will never understand how it could be otherwise.
After all, music is not a competition.
THAT NEW NEW
With one of the most striking album covers you’ll see this year, 1176 is the newest full-length from West Oakland-raised rapper Guapdad 4000: “This is the house I grew up in. It was hella hard for me to go back and look at this demon in the face as we began to make art with it.” A collaboration with Brooklyn producer !llmind, the album starts with a sentimental note on “How Many” (using a muted sample of "Better Off Alone" by Alice Deejay), before moving into the sexed up gangsta rap of “She Wanna”. From there it winds through a variety of styles - stuff you can dance to, smoke to, trip out to, play video games to, and on. More than anything, as the cover indicates, it’s a highly personal album that tells real stories and draws from the artist’s many influences.
Following “My High, Right?” in January, Bay Area alt-pop-R&B project Cardboard People just released its next single “Nothing At All”. Made up of singer Yunoka Berry, producer/songwriter Jim Greer, and Hieroglyphics founder and producer Damien (Domino) Siguenza, the group says it’s “creating music that embodies pain, blackness, bondage, joy, and fear.”
Christina Chatfield, the SF producer whose Ascent/Descent EP marked the first release on As You Like It Recordings last year, is releasing her full-length debut on ambient and experimental-focused NY label Mysteries of the Deep next week. Listen to “Sutro”, the album’s title track and closer.
Cousin Fik, E-40, and Hitta Slim dropped “Still at It”, just in case you’d started thinking otherwise.
Hyperrap? After releasing a collaboration with London DJ/producer Endgame last month, Oakland rapper DÆMON is back with a new single featuring Zurich artists Xzavier Stone and Modulaw. “Big Business” looks and sounds like hyperpop hip hop, so please let me know if you know what to call that.
James Wavey (aka Alleyes Manifest) don’t stop. Following an album in February and a single last week, the Oakland soul poet just dropped Snowy Beach, a new album of “jazz, California soul samples, Turkish down beat grooves, revolutionary poetry.”
After releasing Peel Sessions by the Netherlands dark wave group Clan of Xymox today, Dark Entries Records is treating us to another reissue: This time it's the 1987 deep house track “Essence of a Dream” by Chicago’s Risqué III, remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios.
When one song teases the rage of a stripped down Run the Jewels, but the next thumps with the digi-twee harmonies of the Postal Service, you know you found something. Back in September, Oakland art rock band Grex released Everything You Said Was Wrong on Geomancy Records, weaving together electropunk, free jazz, and hip hop into an unexpected but intriguing collage of sound.
Shared this one a few weeks back but it’s worth repeating now that the album has a release date (April 23): “Important”, is the first single from No Plans, the upcoming debut album from SF synth pop artist Silverware (aka Ainsley Wagoner).
I can’t tell you how I discovered You Can Keep It - Vol. 1, a new album by Vallejo artist SELA., but don’t worry about: If you’re into juke and footwork, then just press play and enjoy the “extra slapadocious” beats (as one supporter describes it).
IN THE MIX
Even though most of the Bay Area is still in the red tier, all these people getting vaccines has me feeling like we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. So if you’re like me, you’re probably craving that experience of being back in the world, among real people, strangers, lovers, friends, rocking out, dancing to music, experiencing life.
Well, apparently to make the cravings worse, my cousin sent over a couple mixes this week recorded in SF over the past few years.
SOUL SLAM PURPLE MIX by Marky Enriquez aka Proof is for Prince lovers, sexy and sultry slipping through classics and rarities alike, originally mixed for the city’s annual Soul Slam.
Picking up the tempo, this deep house mix recorded at Wish Bar features local DJs Matt Main, Al G, and Billy Jaz. With a couple secret disco samples hiding in there, it had me dancing in the living room.