Best Of 2018: Russell E.L. Butler’s new record is East Bay techno at its best

Oakland techno artist Russel E.L. Butler — a Club Chai affiliate — has a new record out called The Home I’d Build For Myself And All My Friends. And it's a doozy. The album, which was released by San Francisco label Left Hand Path, is Butler's debut full-length, and it follows the artist's 2017 EP I’m Dropping Out of Life. While that project mixes wobbly, acid-house bass with sticky synths, The Home I’d Build For Myself And All My Friends mines the edges of techno and ambient to brilliant effect. For Butler, who prefers the non-binary pronouns they/them, a little [...]

By |December 21, 2018|Tags: |

Open Mike Eagle brings new project to Starline in November

What Happens When I try to Relax, a six-song project from Open Mike Eagle, is now available on streaming services. The Los Angeles rapper, who is originally from Chicago, released the project on his own record label AutoReverse. According to the artist’s Twitter account, it is the first time that the rapper has independently released his own music. The project — the rapper says not to call it an EP — follows his 2017 critically acclaimed LP Brick Body Kids Still Daydream, a concept record about the demolition of the Robert Taylor housing complex in Chicago. According to an [...]

By |October 29, 2018|Tags: |

Review: A numbered list of highlights from this year’s Outside Lands

Outside Lands Music Festival 2018 (photo: Jon Bauer) It’s that time of year again. Outside Lands has come and gone. Everyone has washed the dust off their faces and returned to work or school or whatever it is they do. Many memories were made this weekend, be it the Bill Murray sign on a stick that you used to keep your group together, or you finally getting to cry to Bon Iver live. We did it, and we survived. I hope everyone had a safe and fun experience (and that you put on enough sunscreen). I spent much of the weekend [...]

Bay Area Archives: Remembering guitar-less punk band the Units

A month or so ago, I started a column for The Bay Bridged. The idea was to write about underappreciated Bay Area bands from the past. The first one was about the awesome all-girl '60s San Francisco rock band called the Ace of Cups. A friend of mine saw that article, and DMed me about it on Instagram. She had a band she thought I would be interested in writing about. But, she admitted that she was totally biased. That band was the vintage San Francisco new wave band the Units. The thing is, the drummer just happened to be [...]

Tony Molina releases new music from upcoming LP ‘Kill The Lights’

Tony Molina — formerly of Ovens and Caged Animals — recently released three tracks from his upcoming solo album Kill the Lights. And, if the first releases from the album are any indication, it's shaping-up to be quite a departure from his noisy, 2013 project Dissed and Dismissed. The prolific Bay Area songwriter has always worn his influences on his sleeve. But, he's so good at wearing them that we're ok with the idol worshiping. His 2016 EP Confront the Truth is an homage to 60's era pop — especially to the Beatles — and while these new songs continue [...]

By |July 24, 2018|Tags: |

The Joy of Silence: Why it’s good to take out your earbuds once in a while

(illustration: Matt St. John) There are plenty of reasons not to wear headphones while traversing San Francisco. Maybe it's the fear of getting smacked by an electric skateboard or robbed late at night. When there are new Jay-Z and Beyonce collaborations to catch up on, pedestrian safety doesn’t always take precedent. Then there’s hearing loss to consider, perhaps from turning up your music to compete with the apocalyptic roar of BART Whatever good reasons exists for leaving your headphones at home, none seem to be good enough. Not that I'm any different. In fact, as a music nerd, I have [...]

By |July 11, 2018|

‘Turn It Around: The Story of East Bay Punk’ comes to DVD

If you didn't get a chance to catch Turn It Around in theaters, fret not. The exhaustive documentary on the East Bay punk scene will be released soon by 1-2-3-4 Go! Records on Blu-Ray and DVD. The film contains tons of grainy, archival live footage of bands like Jawbreaker and Neurosis, and over a hundred interviews from scene heroes like Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Tim Armstrong of Rancid, Operation Ivy and plenty more. In addition to the documentary, which will be released on June 22, the record label is also releasing a soundtrack to the film on vinyl [...]

By |June 14, 2018|Tags: |

Bay Area Archives: The Ace of Cups — an all-female, Summer of Love-era group that almost went unheard

(photo: While San Francisco locals may seem a bit jaded about the city's hippie history, the Summer of Love still has a place in our hearts. Sure, we might roll our eyes as we stroll through Haight-Ashbury, surrounded by tie-dyed socks and Jimi Hendrix magnets. But the truth is, we love our history. Whether it’s that friend who supposedly bought acid from Jerry Garcia’s supplier, or pointing out that tree at Hippie Hill that Janis Joplin may or not have urinated on (or just played guitar under, the myths are endless), we share tidbits of that history whenever we [...]

By |June 11, 2018|Tags: |

Bobbi Rohs drops “itsjusttheletterb”

While there are plenty of new releases to reckon with on the national front, make sure you save headspace for all the great local projects coming out. Take San Francisco singer Bobbi Rohs' new EP itsjusttheletterb, released last Saturday on Text Me Records. Though it’s tempting to label her future-R&B á la Kelela, her versatility as a singer proves she could take things in many different directions. Rohs sounds equally comfortable crooning over 4 on the floor, mid-tempo dance tracks like “A to B” as she is on the moody, piano-laced slow-burner “Goosebumps.” Perhaps the real standout track here is [...]

Tanukichan’s noisy-pop is the “Perfect” way to start your summer

Tanukichan, the project of Oakland-based musician Hannah Van Loon (formerly of Trails and Ways), recently released a single from her upcoming debut album Sundays. The song is called “Perfect,” and was produced by Chaz Bear (aka Chaz Bundick) of Toro Y Moi. Bear produced — and played on — the rest of the record as well. “Perfect” is the second song to drop from the 10-track album, the first being “Lazy Love.” Both songs are noticeably less noisy than her wonderfully fuzzy 2016 EP Radiolove. Though Van Loon hasn’t gone full pop, the cleaner sound leaves room for Surfer Rosa-era riffs [...]

By |June 8, 2018|Tags: |
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