(Smoking Room, design by Samuelito Cruz)
The brainchild of tireless Bay Area scene contributor Samuelito Cruz, Smoking Room is a new tape label serving as a launch pad for Cruz’s projects and the work of his close friends. Popping up online this month, the label is already debuting it’s first two releases — a formal release of “Space Riffs Vol. 1,” a collection of songs released online by Happy Diving bandleader Matt Berry back in 2014, and a second run of Oakland’s Baja Boys brief debut tape. Featuring alternate versions of Happy Diving songs, an ode to the transcendent effects of caffeine, and an instrumental number aptly named Creamy Riff, “Space Riffs” clocks in at a combined 3 minutes. For those unfamiliar with Baja Boys, the five-piece punk outfit is fronted by Cruz and deliver tastefully concise hardcore.
In the works for the label are several other Bay Area releases, including debuts from punks Abusivo and dream pop group New Circle, as well as a tour cassingle from Cruz’ own bedroom pop project, Toner. Although all of Smoking Room’s planned releases are projects affiliated with members of Happy Diving, Cruz is accepting submissions, and future ambitions include expanding formats to include vinyl releases. Check out the first two tapes below-