Editors' Picks: What We've Been Listening to This Week (Steel Cranes, Sam Flax, Pond, Pelican, Yung Lean)
Steel Cranes (Photo: Miakoda Collins)
Jason: After hearing “Boat Song”, the lead single off Steel Cranes‘ upcoming debut LP Ouroboros, I was hooked by their heavy as all get-out sound. Now, the Oakland duo (consisting of singer and guitarist Tracy Shapiro and drummer Amanda Schukle) is back with a second offering off that upcoming album, due out September 24 – the equally heavy “Moving On”, which has an almost poppy chorus without sacrificing the band’s snarling edge across Shapiro’s story of a relationship gone bad. The track is accompanied by a gritty video filmed along the shores of the East Bay, on an I-80 overpass, and on Broadway in Uptown Oakland (kudos to the band and their crew for cleaning up after themselves, as seen at the end of the video). “Moving On” has only served to pique my interest for Ouroboros. Watch the video, and stream or download audio, below.
Ben:Sam Flax‘s Age Waves may have come out over a year ago, but the album has recently become indispensable for me. With every subsequent listen, a new song jumps out as a favorite, whether it’s the sleek, danceable “Child of Glass”, “Backwards Fire”‘s space-glam, or one of the LP’s other gems. It’s an impeccable collection that works both as a fully realized weird-rock masterpiece, and as a collection of number-one hits from a different, far better reality. Culled from seven years of recordings, let’s hope it doesn’t take another seven to hear more music from Flax, and that he gets the acclaim he so justly deserves.
Christian: It’s been a while since I’ve had time to contribute to this post. But now I’m back. At least until we produce our next event (hint: The Bay Brewed #3 is coming back in December!). This week, I’ve been listening to Pond‘s latest release Hobo Rocket nonstop at work. Sharing members with Tame Impala, it makes sense that Pond has been able to infuse more pop sounds into their noisy psychedelic rock tunes on this latest release. At only seven tracks, Hobo Rocket definitely leaves you wanting more, but with tracks like “Whatever Happened To The Million Head Collide?” and the massive guitar drop at the two minute mark, it’s hard to say they’re doing anything wrong. This album is meant to be played loud – so put your headphones on, turn it up, and let’s roll straight to the weekend in style.
Nicole: This week I’ve reverted back to more post-rock listening, prompted by a heavy rotation of Swans albums. News on this genre’s front, though, is that Pelican is set to release a new 7-inch next week on The Mylene Sheath, as sadly almost a year ago their label HydraHead announced it would discontinue the production of new releases. Pelican is still going strong with a full length set for mid-October on Southern Lord, as well as some fall tour dates, including Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, but no West Coast dates on the books at this time. “Deny the Absolute” is a nearly five and a half minute supercharged track with a more metal influence than post-rock’s typical peaks or valleys.
Zack: If you imagine Lil B, the Berkeley-based icon (pun intended), transformed into a 16-year-old Swedish teen with a rap crew dubbed Sad Boys, you’re about as close as you’ll get to understanding Yung Lean‘s 2012 free mixtape UNKNOWN DEATH 2002. It’s low-budget cloud rap – the production a shimmering, fruity-loops dream with Yung Lean’s typically auto-tuned, off-key, off-tempo babble floating somewhere in the mix. Which, I know, sounds kind of awful. But there’s something fascinating about these songs. Yung Lean can spout immature sexual bravado (“Optimus Prime / do her from behind”) and then a few lines later reduce himself to a caricature of teenage sadness (“I’m on the floor crying, crying / Sad boys says that I’m dying, dying”). The kid’s also obsessed with Arizona Iced Tea, which he’s affectionately dubbed “Arizona Tears”. So really, he’s the latest screenshot of the internet generation – a high school rap project that, until recently, Yung Lean didn’t even know people were listening to. Thank you, Bandcamp-god.
Founded in 2006, The Bay Bridged is a 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organization utilizing new media and presenting live events to support the San Francisco Bay Area’s indie rock, folk, and pop music communities.