Words by Annie Bacon
If you missed it last month, the Band-to-Band Relay is part of The Bay Bridged’s ongoing desire to curate and deepen your awareness of your local music scene. We know you’re oversaturated, and we know how important curators are to our modern musical experience. Who better than the bands you love to point you in the direction of great music being made around you?
Each month we’ll start off with a single local artist, write about why we like them, and then ask them to pick and talk about another local artist they dig. We’ll carry the line as far as it’ll go, and start again the next month.
Our second relay made it from Abbot Kinney to Antique Naked Soul.
Abbot Kinney frontman Jared Swanson moved to the Bay Area just a few years ago, unsure of his band’s future despite having some success in his native LA. But shortly after arriving, he found several band members through the music industry meetup Balanced Breakfast and I’m so glad he did. The band released an EP last year — The Night — and it’s a fantastic, anthemic group of rock songs. Swanson’s gorgeous voice — reminiscent of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, though the comparison only goes so far — floats above almost symphonic arrangements that swell and rise with a rich musicality while never losing the impulse to rock. That the band is able to pull off the big sound with only a few people on stage is mighty impressive. They also beautifully ride the line between commercial viability and indie authenticity. “It’s the Middle of the Night” is a great example of this.
Annie’s recommended track: “It’s the Middle of the Night”:
Fantastic Negrito put on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen at The Independent in 2015 shortly after landing a position in the National spotlight when they won the NPR Tiny Desk Contest. In 2016 they released their savory full-length album, The Last Days of Oakland. It’s no surprise to me that it’s nominated for the Best Contemporary Blues Album GRAMMY and they were invited to perform on Jimmy Kimmel last week. Xavier Dphrepaulezz has an X factor that must be attributed to what he calls being “reborn after going through a lot of awful shit.” He has the sparkle of a diamond refined and polished by years of pressure, squeezing out the poison through his music. This band does not shy from the sweetness of love and brutal ache of truth.
Abbot Kinney’s recommended track: “In the Pines”:
I love Antique Naked Soul! They are a hip-hop doo-wop soul beatbox funky vocal quartet. They are based in Oakland. I became an instant fan three years ago when we shared a bill at the Legionnaire Lounge in Oakland. We came together for a show at the New Parish in Oakland last year. Their sense of harmony and style mixed with conscious lyrics are powerful and inspirational. I hope we get a chance to record together in 2017!
Fantastic Negrito’s recommended track: “Warrior”:
I think that Kevin is an immensely talented keyboardist, MC, and songwriter as well as a committed educator and activist. His music is so complex and steeped in social justice and I appreciate his musicianship. I see him as someone who reflects the times and sees his role as an artist to be a storyteller, a historian. I love a lot of his music but I really liked the second album “Love & Revolution.” I listened to it for weeks after I got a copy. It is hard to narrow down but if I must, I think I would pick “Feel the Love” which features Viveca Hawkins and “Movement Music” which features Aisha Fukushima, Jennifer Johns, Ryan Nicole, K.E.V and myself (Candice Antique). Both of these songs are rich with the spirit of activism and collaboration.
Antique Naked Soul’s recommended track: “Feel the Love”:
Annie Bacon is a musician (her life) and writer (her obsession) in San Francisco. She loves shouting out amazing local bands and finding new music (of any genre) that is emotionally moving or has depth. She also writes for The SF Critic, has her own band, and is raising a little drummer kid.