Posts Tagged ‘Oakland’

Can we talk about how this man is 52 years old? I had no idea. Since he’s only been around for four years, roughly 2016, I thought he was much younger. I’m only saying this as he always gives off the energy of someone younger. Ok onto the music, his third record starts off with “Chocolate Samurai” and about three quarters into the song he says “it’s never too late to achieve your dreams” and I mean it just goes with the age thing. He is beloved in the music world and he’s really doing what he wants to. His music goes in all directions, from roots and funk to rock and blues and even a bit of gospel.

He gets a little help from a few guests on the album, most notably Tank from Tank and the Bangas on the scorching track “I’m So Happy I Cry”. “Your Sex is Overrated” featuring Masa Kohama has Fantastic Negrito doing his best Prince send up, and it works. “King Frustration” speaks to everything happening today for Black Amerircans, not being able to function while worrying about every step taken throughout the day. It’s an angry song that deserves to be played loud through your stereo. If you’re not familiar with him for some reason, please go take a listen to all three of his records, you won’t be disappointed.

Fantastic Negrito: the perfect combination of brilliant performance, brilliant writing, and funky fucking music. This harkens back to the best r&b, funk, soul, and rock-and-roll of the 60sand ‘7s with a 2025 vision. 


I came up with the name Fantastic Negrito to give the respect and honour to all of the human lives that lay the very foundation that we all build upon now. So many talented, brave, courageous souls with no names sacrificed their freedom, blood, sweat, tears and lives so that we could stand here and pick from the beautiful garden of Black Roots Music. When I imagined Fantastic Negrito, I was thinking of the greats Robert Johnson, Skip James, Howlin’ Wolf and Charlie Patton these amazing contributors these amazing architects of popular culture.

Released August 14th, 2020

Fantastic Negrito

Despite its hefty title, James Wallace’s second album under the cosmic moniker Skyway Man positively blooms with vivacity. Wallace explores the very fabric of living through both ends of the telescope: Maybe it’s reminiscing on that singular feeling, way back when you were 18. 

The sophomore long-player from cosmic country innovator James Wallace’s Skyway Man project, World Only Ends When You Die is a ramshackle road trip billed as a “psych-folk opera” that evokes a Muscle Shoals-backed Grateful Dead piloting a boogie van into the Greek underworld. A classic hero’s journey spurned by the twin existential crises of paternal death and a world being torn asunder by disease and competing political ideologies, the ten-track set is awash in metaphysical angst, yet positively ebullient in its response to it.

Recorded at Spacebomb in Wallace’s native Virginia with the studio’s house band and Big Easy vocal duo the Lostines, Skyway Man effusively combines elements of country, folk, blues, gospel, R&B, and indie rock, sometimes all at once — sonic touchstones include Randy Newman, Lee Hazlewood, Daniel Romano, Norman Greenbaum, Flaming Lips, and Dennis Wilson. Commencing with the slow-burning “Muddy Water,” Wallace knows that the road to enlightenment is fraught with danger (“Muddy water like a piece of ancient church glass flowing/We’re on the darkest stretch, but the bend ahead is glowing”), but he remains sanguine throughout the expedition. The radiant gospel-rock suite “Sometimes Darkness/Railroad/Sometimes Darkness Reprise” looks to Jesus for affirmation, while the airy “Rise of the Integratron” peers into the inky blue, pairing billowy Canterbury-style progressive rock with a snippet of a 1953 speech by UFOlogist George Van Tassel. It’s heady stuff, but Wallace and company imbue the proceedings with so much heart and soul — and considerable pop acumen — that the compulsion to hear and see where this sci-fi Canterbury Tales will go next never abates.

Written by James Wallace

The Musicians: James Wallace Guitars – Alan Parker Additional Guitars – Sean Thompson Drums/Percussion – Pinson Chanselle Upright Bass – Nate Mathews Electric Bass – Ric Alessio Piano/Keys – James Wallace Saxophone – Caleb Hickman Background Vocals – Casey Jane, Camille Weatherford

James Wallace’s new album as Skyway Man, The World Only Ends When You Die, is a cosmic and chooglin’ tour de force … he’s achieved something extraordinary here.”

“A psych-folk opera of spaced-out country and sci-fi gospel and blues, laced with mythology and nods to George Van Tassel, legendary ufologist … The new Skyway Man album is really incredible.” 

“This thing is something else, folks.”

The tenth and final chapter from Skyway Man’s ‘The World Only Ends When You Die’, out now from Mama Bird Recording Co. Released October 23rd, 2020

Lead-singer, songwriter, and rhythm guitarist Logan Hammon (age 17, pink hair — now eggshell blue) felt that her band wasn’t giving her enough freedom to write her own songs. She took lead-guitarist Jackson Felton (now age 15) and started a new project out of their garage. The duo, what was to become Small Crush, started making music inspired from Hammon’s voice memos (shared over group text) and titled from a self-professed “inability to crush on someone for a long time, so lots of little crushes.” Not long after the band’s genesis, Hammon and Felton recruited bassist Hank Herbert (aged 17) and drummer Will Scherer (aged 16) from a nearby high school and started playing house shows, coffee shops, and restaurants. The group is multitalented, often switching instruments at practice, and the effect of Hammon virtuosic lyrical introversion over playful riffs evokes Frankie Cosmos and Waxahatchee. The music seems to be derived from many small crushes, evoking a sincere and intense conviction too often lost in adulthood.

Planning around after school jobs and football practice, the band rehearse at Hammon’s house in San Leandro. They pulled up sipping cans of yerba mate with skateboards and a giant teddy bear in the the back of Herbert’s CRV.

An unlikely cohesion of seemingly different high school “types,” it became quickly evident that their connection extended beyond the stage. They proceeded to sing along to blaring 80’s synth-pop in the car (when they said it was their favourite music, I wasn’t sure they were kidding) and naturally-athletic Herbert was carrying 15-year-old Felton on his shoulders, The band concluded our phone interview by playing a completely ad-libbed song.

Released October 23rd, 2020


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Last week, Oakland, C.A singer songwriter Madeline Kenney released her third LP, “Sucker’s Lunch”, which reinforced the twangy dream pop sound she’d been working toward on her first two full-lengths. Her capacity for piling on layers of muted instrumentation to match her hushed vocals arguably hits its peak on the mid-album “Tell You Everything,” a climatic moment of vulnerability on the lovelorn LP.

It’s this track that Kenney chose to play for us on her acoustic guitar in Oakland’s Joaquin Miller Park for “Neighborhoods,” strumming and singing over programmed drums and woodwind-like synths. Watch the performance below, and grab a listen to Sucker’s Lunch  (or, if you purchase it on Bandcamp today, 100 percent of proceeds will go to the artist and Carpark Records—additionally, proceeds from her merch will benefit a BIPOC doula training fund and Beirut relief orgs).

Madeline Kenney performs a track from her new album, “Sucker’s Lunch,” at Joaquin Miller park in Oakland, CA.

The Bay-area’s own formidable Dark Anarcho post-punk act Ötzi are riding out these tenebrous times with a whirling tempest of their own, in their new album aptly titled Storm.

This, the band’s sophomore album, is unrelenting in its sonic deluge of captivating melodies led by K. Dylan Edrich”s guitars cutting the air with her punk driven riffs like the cold fingers of the band’s titular mummified human, coupled with the flawless efforts of drummer Gina Marie, and bassist Akiko Sampson, whose rhythm section marches forward against the elements, driven by fervent emotions of anger and sorrow that are channel Sampson’s stalwart vocals.

Oakland punk outfit Ötzi’s recent single “Hold Still,” taken from their new album “Storm”, out now via Artoffact Records. “Hold Still” is a snappy marriage of classic punk-pop and gothic post-punk as their effervescent pop chorus melodies co-exist beautifully with their moody guitar echo. “I see the ocean in your eyes / I’m reaching for you / Tears reflecting darker skies / I’m all around you,” their dual vocalists sing, reflecting the inseparable bond between interpersonal and political despair with poetic grace.

“We’re so overwhelmed by the awful things happening in the world, that sometimes it’s hard to see the good that exists right in front of us,” says drummer and vocalist Gina Marie. “The song was written to express love and appreciation for that one person who gets you through the day.”

Watch the video for “Hold Still”, which features new member, and multi-instrumentalist Winter Zora on keys,  below:

On the records ardent resolve, that pushes ever onward with defiant optimism, Bassist/vocalist Akiko Sampson explains further: “The darkness of our sound doesn’t come from existential dread or moroseness, it’s a reflection of the lives we’ve lived as femmes in an often hostile world. We express all this mourning and anger through our music, so playing is always cathartic for us. But afterwards, what we’re left with is a sense of hope and a vision for what can be. So in this album, we wanted to incorporate all of those dimensions. Because that’s what ‘Storm’ is about – huge, violent life changes that leave you transformed forever.”

Not to be stifled by tour cancellations in wake of the current global pandemic, Otzi have been undaunted in promotion of their new record, unleashed a series of song premieres for the tracks such “Moths”, “Ballad of Oiwa”, and “Eight Cups” that have aptly taken the worldwide dark post-punk scene by storm.

One of these premieres was for a music video for the album track “Hold Still”, which features footage of the band right before lockdown having fun at the boardwalk—an activity steeped in childlike joy spun in a wonderful reverie of cotton candy, Ferris wheels, and merry-go-rounds.

From the ‘Storm’ album on Artoffact Records

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As she prepares to release her third LP, Oakland’s Madeline Kenney is building a consistent and downright exquisite body of work. The singer and multi-instrumentalist co-produced Sucker’s Lunch with Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack, and Kenney has tightened her role in a bicoastal clique that has been spawning intriguing indie pop from Durham, N.C. to the Bay Area. On “Double Hearted,” Kenney’s synths and vocals soar in wavelengths as she sings, “voices get me high…!” on the hook, alongside Stack’s rhythmic percussion and Wasner’s unmistakable bass. Kenney’s first two albums showed skill and promise, but there’s something bolder and lasting building on Sucker’s Lunch. The new song today! ‘Double Hearted’ you can also watch a silly jello-filled lyric video + get some info on how I made the tune

“Double Hearted” is the second single taken from Madeline Kenney’s forthcoming album, “Sucker’s Lunch,” out July 31st.

Live At The Oakland Coliseum 1969 (2020 reissue)

This LP contains soundboard recordings of the Rolling Stones’ live performance at the Oakland Colisuem in Oakland, California at the start of their ground breaking November 1969 trek across North America.

Subsequently broadcast on Radio KSAN at the behest of Bill Graham, these nine tracks demonstrate why on this tour the Stones were introduced as “the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world.” Four of these songs – Prodigal Son, You Gotta Move, Gimme Shelter and Satisfaction – were not included on the Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! LP, recorded later on the tour in New York and Baltimore.

These LP is made by the person who operated the label which later calls the TMOQ. Ken and Dub are two people who have felt quite recognized among maniacs in the 2010s. It was that they released Bob Dylan’s “GREAT WHITE WONDER” famous for their first bootleg in the history of rock. This sound source boasts a different quality as the audience of 1969. Dub succeeded in capturing the performance on by using the shotgun microphone instead of the surrounding sound.

It is well known that it became the opportunity to release anecdotes about the album and official release ‘Get Yer Ya – Ya’s Out’. What is surprising than anything is that the value of the item and the sound source did not fade at all even after the appearance of the official. On the contrary, the sound source that Dub recorded, even in recent years, has been released in various forms. It is a testimony of how excellent it was that recording. This recording is referred to as Dub recording below.

What makes these parts mix SBD and succeeded in raising the balance of Mick’s vocal which was a distant subject in various audience recordings because of quiet performance. That surprisingly natural finish is another masterpiece. He showed outstanding sense, such as diverting SBD even in “Live With Me”. A masterpiece of audience recording comes out this week from the 1969 American tour, which pairs well with the soundboard masterpiece “GET YER YA – YA’S OUT! COMPLETE EDITION”!

Josiah Johnson, co-founding member of the Billboard chart-topping band The Head and the Heart, has begun a new musical journey in 2020. And he does so with new collaborative tools and creative blueprints in tow, buoyed by a single idea: no matter what happens, the world will still turn and you’re still here.

Since breaking with The Head and the Heart a few years ago, it was his first time playing new music in front of a crowd.  “I got together with friends in New York and we arranged all the songs.” The reception was warm and enthusiastic. “People were definitely grooving. You don’t always see that in a seated venue, people getting out of their seats. I was like, ‘Oh, okay, alright!’”

Johnson’s latest tour will see nine dates, eight states, and a full band of friends and talented musicians backing his solo effort. “I have no excuses this time around. I can afford to have a full band on the road with me and it feels exciting and meaningful to learn and grow with this crew.”  Growth is a recurring theme throughout our conversation. Johnson joins a long canon of artists who’ve taken the ambitious and slightly terrifying leap from band to solo artist.


He’s signed to a record label last September while his album release is looking toward spring.  Having complete control over the creative parts of releasing his music, Johnson states he is the “decider of things now.” The colours and design of the album art, creating a music video, the logistics of putting a tour together — all the working parts of things are solely of his own accord.

Pendant is the new project of Oakland based Christopher Adams (calculator, Never Young, Dye). ‘Through A Coil’ is the debut full-length album from Pendant. The album was recorded and mixed by Melina Duterte of Jay Som.
‘Through A Coil’ will release on Tiny Engines in November of 2019. formerly of the noisy rock band Never Young. In a couple months, he’ll release his debut album, Through A Coil, which was recorded with Jay Som’s Melina Duterte.

He’s sharing its title track, a fuzzy blowout that rips and roars and takes over your entire head as Adams’ voice peeks through the layers with spiritualistic mantras: “Oh, the lives we never live/ And the ones we have to come/ Sing and weep concurrently/ In rotation through a coil.” – Stereogum

“Recorded by Melina Duterte of Jay Som fame, Pendant melds tender songwriting with an atmosphere that plunges the listener right in to the heart of the compositions…a muted display of guitar-pop, laced with a poignancy that becomes more prevalent with each passing, somewhat faded hook.” – Gold Flake Paint

Pendant is the project of Christopher Adams (calculator, Never Young, Dye). Through A Coil is the debut full-length album from Pendant. Recorded and mixed by Melina Duterte of Jay Som.
The album will release on Tiny Engines in November of 2019.

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Oakland native, longtime Brooklyn resident, and now Los Angeles newcomer Jennah Bell, has been passionately described as the sum of music’s best parts; drawing influences from genres such as Folk, Soul, R&B, Rock, and Pop .Jennah Bell is not just a folk singer. She’s a master picker, yes, but her songs are heartier and brighter than your run-of-the-mill singer/songwriter ditty. That’s probably due to her soulful voice—she sounds ready to belt out a pop song or try out for a singing competition show, in a good way. She’s a natural talent, and her debut full-length, Anchors & Elephants (out February. 22nd) is sure to stun. The Berklee College of Music grad made the record with help from master mixer Russell Elevado (The Roots, Erykah Badu) as well as producers Michael Haziza and James Poyser, also a member of The Roots.  Jennah Bell could be one showcase set away from exploding.

“3hrs, 59min. (New York)” Written, Composed and Performed by Jennah Bell