White Crate — March 5, 2021

Celebrate local hip hop beatmakers, real live garage rockers, solo black metal behemoths, underground junglists, and disco house producers on Bandcamp Friday

NFTs. Everyone’s talking about NFTs. Months ago it was just one of my crypto-obsessed friends talking about it. Then it was in some cool friends’ art circles. But since last month’s article in the New York Times—Why an Animated Flying Cat With a Pop-Tart Body Sold for Almost $600,000—it seems like everyone’s talking about ‘em.

I have nothing to add except that this reminds me a lot of the time everyone and their mom suddenly talked about Bitcoin for a week back in 2013 and then forgot about it… until it hit $20,000 in 2017. And then $50,000 this year. Put another way: Yes, blockchain is changing the world. So maybe it’s time to go buy some NFTs?

But, hey: If you do have cash to spare, spend it on local artists first.

For one, today is Bandcamp Friday, so there’s a bunch of musicians below whose music you should buy. Second, San Francisco's beloved nightlife venues are on the brink of closure. That article was just published this week because—despite the bill signed by Trump with $15 billion appropriated for venues nationwide and the $1.5 million for venues pledged by SF Mayor London Breed—all this money is still tied up in bureaucracy. So whether it’s Oasis, PianoFight, or another venue that you love and cherish and can’t wait to visit again, seriously consider donating.

It seems like we’re so close to the end, so let’s make it worth it.

Peace,
ronny


HAPPY BANDCAMP FRIDAY

Today is Bandcamp Friday, meaning the site is waiving its revenue share to help support artists. Here are a few Bay Area artists to support!

hip hop / beats

A love letter to the people of San Francisco—Watch the official short film for Dedicated to Those Who, the new album from SF hip hop producer Baghead, and then pick up the album.

SF producer Brycon released Music for Indoor Cats, a collaboration with Japanese beatmaker iLL Sugi. The split tape of smooth jams and all-instrumental hip hop “highlights the sonic kinship between these two under-celebrated heavyweights as well as their mutual love for the communities they live in, with a bit of comedic assistance from the internet’s number one thing since day one, cats.”

In December, SF rapper J. Quest dropped Questly Snipes. Watch the new video for “Catchin' Rec”, featuring QM, Cyph4, and Professa Gabel.

Oakland producer 4D released In Vertigo, a 15-min EP of hip hop, house, and footwork.

pop / rock / r&b

Fake Fruit—“distilling Pink Flag-era Wire, Pylon, and Mazzy Star to expound on the absurdity of modern life”—released their self-titled debut album on SF’s Rocks in Your Head Records. Bandcamp also featured the album on This Week’s Essential Releases: Proto-Vaporwave, Afrobeat, Grime Beats and More.

Last month, singer-songwriter Avi Vinocur released Hindsight, an album of alternative americana he recorded and mixed on his phone while in quarantine. (h/t Pass the Aux)

Psych pop rock band Cool Ghouls - “a band fledged in San Francisco on house shows, minimum wage jobs, BBQ's in Golden Gate Park, and the romance of a city’s psychedelic history” - is releasing its fourth album next week: At George’s Zoo.

Sentient Ruin Laboratories just announced Dyspnea, 36 minutes of “soul-ruining black metal” by Oakland’s Labored Breath.

Last month, Puerto Rican-born and Oakland-based musician Maria Jose Montijo released “Lejos de Ti”, an alternative Latin pop song on the feeling of isolation while sheltering in place. (h/t Pass the Aux)

Last month, Vallejo-raised, Oakland-based R&B artist Nenci released experimental R&B track “lydia”—”the named depiction of a lover both potential and remembered.” (h/t Pass the Aux)

Oakland new age synth pop group Primal Wound released “7 SISTERS”, an Enya-inspired homage to the Pleiades star cluster and all its mythology.

electronic / dance

Little Spaces, the latest album from Cambridge-based drum & bass producer Nu:Tone, features Bay Area artist Lalin St. Juste on “One Day at a Time”. The Haitian-American singer/songwriter is the frontwoman for the Seshen, whose album CYAN was featured on KQED’s 10 Best Bay Area Albums of 2020.

Colin Dyer, who’s been putting out glitchy IDM under his alias William S. Braintree for more than 10 years, today unveiled return null; as his third release on Miami’s Schematic Music Company.

Moto Tembo is one of my favorite house producers in the Bay. He’s also a good friend of mine, so you’re welcome to call me biased, but I’ll still be over here dancing my ass off. In addition to his weekly streams on Twitch, he just added a bunch of remixes and edits to Bandcamp for your downloading and listening pleasure. Artists remixed include George Michael x Daft Punk, John Carpenter, Vulfpeck, The Brothers Johnson, Pink Floyd, and Ice Cube.

A few to check out from Oakland’s Ruff Tapes and their affiliates:

  • Vinyl is shipping this month for Major League 001, featuring drum & bass tracks by BC Rydah, NobelFilth, Tony Manfre, and M27.

  • Today Ruff Tapes released Space Rock by Keishaboy, a 30-min breakbeat journey.

  • If you know me, you know I’ve been obsessed with Carly Simon’s “Why” for going on a decade. Well, there’s only one correct response to Why001?, a bunch of “cheeky rave and hardcore jungle remixes” of the underground disco classic: “Why not!!!”

jazz

“It’s the kind of music one might bliss out to—an escape hatch from life.” Featured on White Crate last week, Oakland trombonist Danny Lubin Laden and his second album Through Our Time were just included in The Best Jazz on Bandcamp: February 2021.


OR JUST STREAM IT

Kiazi Malonga, the son of world-renowned Congolese dancer Malonga Casquelourd, released his debut album Tembo Kia Ngoma today. “The album in particular highlights the ngoma — drums that range in size and timbre and are the beating heart (literally and figuratively) of Congolese music.” Read more on SF Weekly.

At the end of January, Jwalt released “The Taking”, a simple track with a flute-driven beat that highlights the young Oakland rapper’s rhythm and rhyme. (h/t Pass the Aux)

Similarly downbeat and flow-forward, Berkeley rapper Rexx Life Raj released a new single and music video, “Built for Everything.”


DOES THIS COUNT?

You wouldn’t know it by the cover or title, but The San Francisco Concert was actually recorded at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland. Oh well, even people from Walnut Creek say they’re from SF.

On this enjoyable 1975 recording, Houston-born flutist Hubert Laws demonstrates his mastery of jazz and classical music in a four-song set that includes a piece each by French composer Bizet and Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov as well as “Feel Like Makin' Love,” a #1 hit for Roberta Flack in 1974. Though backed by a bigger band (read: full string orchestra) than jazz fans might’ve preferred by this half of the 20th century, Laws somehow keeps things cool and funky—even on the compositions originally designed for orchestral settings. A good one to check out, especially as we await all our beloved local venues to reopen!