Since early 2015, a group of Oakland-based artists and recording engineers have been bringing in their favorite local bands and creating lo-fi, improvised videos that occupy a space somewhere between live performance and full-on music video.
The Grassy Null collective is physically a recording studio, but operates as a collective for those who share a love of twisted, nostalgically lo-fi aesthetic. Kyle Day, who performs as a member of Oakland bands Beekeepers and Cough Syrup Kids, operates the studio. Brendan Casey and Michael Zamora shoot and edit the videos, and perform with The Peels and bAd bAd, respectively. Joining them are contributing artists Parker Richard and Dan Schmatz, whose dissonant collages compliment Zamora’s found footage and VHS trickery.
Following early intentions to “cross pollinate friendship circles,” Days writes, The Grassy Null have partnered up with Rob Miller, also known as Vacant Stare Records, the casually operated ‘micro-label’ based out of Oakland, to release their first comprehensive tape — the audio from every live session in 2015. The list includes Rob’s own band Mall Walk, and other talented locals Violence Creeps, Baus, and Scraper, not to mention the occasional touring band — LA’s Froth and the Pacific Northwest’s Nail Polish.
The cassette’s content and presentation are impressively cohesive, with many of the performing bands exploring bold sonic territory and intentionally difficult compositions, all tied together by a loose, garage-y undercurrent. Listen to the collection below, and pick up a tape and its accompanying zine through Vacant Stare. To celebrate, the label and collective are throwing a release party on July 23rd at The Bug Box in West Oakland. Speculated festivities include, but are not limited to, a dunk tank and freeze tag.
Grassy Null Festival
The Bug Box
July 23rd, 2016