Snap Judgment
Oakland-based storytelling program Snap Judgment promises stories with a beat. And now, those beats will be provided by another local force: Bells Atlas.

After Bells Atlas provided live music for Snap Judgment in LA at the Ace Hotel back in September, the two local powerhouses joined forces, announcing that Bells Atlas would be joining Snap Judgment on their live tour. Snap Judgement, hosted by Glynn Washington, first aired in 2010 on NPR. Now, the program is distributed widely throughout the United States. Despite national growth, the crew has kept their offices in Oakland, and kept in touch with the Bay Area through live shows and events.

The show is notable both for the variety of stories that it features, and for the sharp way those stories are delivered. Further, it has been at the forefront of creating space for diverse voices in public radio. A historically white medium, radio has been overshadowed in recent years by the advent of the podcast, which brings voices from more varied communities to more varied communities. But Snap Judgment, and Washington himself, were making space for people of color long before podcasting. And they’ve continued to do so — Snap Judgment now boasts podcasts and a live tour in addition to their radio work.

Like Snap Judgment, Bells Atlas is rooted in the creative community of Oakland. Also like Snap Judgment, they’ve been doing what they do for a long time: Though the band officially came together in 2011, each member of the group joined immersed in a musical background and history.

Bells Atlas succeeded the announcement that they’d join Snap Judgment on tour this winter by releasing a new single, “Spec and Bubble.” Released October 21, “Spec and Bubble” has already been featured on featured on Bandcamp, Fader, Afropunk, and more, and for good reason. The breezy single uses syncopation and vocal layering with great impact, never sounding forced or strained. On vocals, Sandra Lawson-Ndu explores the complications that come with trying to understand another person — but her airy performance makes dealing with emotional instability sound easy.

Snap Judgemnt and Bells Atlas will be playing in San Francisco on December 3 at the Nourse Theater. Further stops on Snap Judgment’s winter tour include Minneapolis, Royal Oak, and Chicago. If your city hasn’t been listed, don’t fret: more dates for February and March are to be announced.

Snap Judgment Live
The Nourse Theatre
December 3, 2016
7pm, $22

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