White Crate — May 14, 2021
Dreamy soft rock from Al Harper, alt punk from Pardoner, house and juke from RITCHRD, and an extremely appropriately bizarre performance by Negativland
So I was walking the dog through the neighborhood the other day while wearing my Flor de Caña t-shirt and, boy, does that shirt make me friends! An older lady yelled at me from her car: “Oye, Nicoya!” As it turned out, she, like my mom, had emigrated here from Nicaragua. And, like me, music was an essential part of her world. In addition to the rumbas she regularly hosts at her house — la casa de musica — her husband Emiliano Echeverria hosts a show on KPOO 89.5 FM called Cuba Canta.
And the person sitting next to her while we talked? Patricia Thumas, the keyboardist and founder of Key Elements, a local Brazilian and Latin jazz ensemble that just released an album last year called Arrival.
So: Another welcome reminder that our home is flush with music.
THAT NEW NEW
“Your local soft rock specialist” Al Harper released her new album Promises I Kept on Oakland’s Homing Instinct Records. Recorded at Santo Recording and Tunnel Vision, the album is sweet, dreamy and soaked in Stevie Nicks.
Yunoka Berry, Jim Greer, and Hieroglyphics founder and producer Damien (Domino) Siguenza of Bay Area alt-pop-R&B project Cardboard People just released a video for their newest single “Naked.”
Oakland rapper DÆMON, who released experimental hip hop album The Game last month, is featured alongside 011668, S280F, Zurich-based Modulaw and Xzavier Stone, and many other artists in a special new Bandcamp piece exploring The Mutant Mythology of the i8i Collective.
On Instagram, Bay Area crew Discos Resaca Collective is teasing La Curandera Cumbiambera, what they’re calling the first fully animated cumbia film. With art and motifs nodding to everyone’s favorite’s apocalyptic animes, I’m definitely looking forward to this.
Famed Tuareg singer-songwriter and guitarist Bombino features on “Grandmother’s Child”, a new blues rock bomb by SF band Funkwrench Blues.
Century-old union organizer song "Which Side Are You On?" got new life this month with a new cover by SF queer punk group the Homobiles: “We wrote this song after a queer, trans friend joined the police force. We recorded it separately during the pandemic. The message is clear: you may try to change the system, but the system will certainly change you.” (h/t Bandcamp New & Notable)
SF alternative punk band Pardoner released their third album Came Down Different, which winds through catchy tunes (“Donna Said”), silly rompers (“I Wanna Get High to the Music”), straight-ahead punk riffs (“Spike”), and even some sleepy slow moments (“Lucky Day”).
Oakland experimental R&B artist SPELLLING released “Boys at School,” the second single from her upcoming album The Turning Wheel (due out June 25).
SF producer RITCHRD released house and juke EP U & I, including one track "EVERYTIME” that mashes up Travis Scott’s “goosebumps” with Janet Jackson’s “Funny How Time Flies (When You're Having Fun).”
Tony Jay released “anti-post-punk” album Hey There Flower on SF’s Paisley Shirt Records: “beautifully eerie lo-fi pop; like a hazy memory where your favorite Sixties girl-group melody is perpetually slowed down.”
ONE TO WATCH
Quintessential Bay Area experimental rockers and sound collage artists (read: weirdos) Negativland performed on NPR’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert last week:
Negativland are provocateurs, taking aim at the media and how technology alters our perception of the world. You can hear that on their 2020 album, The World Will Decide. This Tiny Desk (home) concert looks frightfully similar to the way many of us work these days — on video conference calls, reacting in real-time to our colleagues, dissecting our interactions ... but also occasionally having fun.
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!