Oaktown Indie Mayhem, the booking, promotions and production company based out of Oakland, couldn’t have picked a better song to debut from their upcoming compilation Oakland Grit: Vol. 1. This unreleased track from Whiskerman entitled “Paradise” perfectly encapsulates how diverse and eccentric the city’s music scene is, with a structure that alternates between freakishly gorgeous and borderline chaotic, balancing harmonic bliss and risky dissonance in the span of six minutes. There are soaring vocals, haunting string arrangements and a two minute outro full of nearly incomprehensible noise, an orgy of cymbal crashes, super fuzzed-out bass, and what I can only guess to be someone playing a sitar. So yeah, it’s pretty cool.
What makes Oakland Grit: Vol. 1 so unique and distinctly local is the fact that the thirteen artists showcased on the compilation recorded each track in the same room, in the same summer of 2014, with the same producer and engineer Jeff Saltzman. The record includes a number of genres to showcase the depth of talent evident in the East Bay, from the electro indie rock of Yassou Benedict to the Afro-diasporic soul of Jennifer Johns. This is just a taste of what’s to come, and it’s an appetizer that only intensifies your hunger for the main course.
Check out the track at Oaktown Indie Mayhem’s web site.