With the world at a standstill, I figure a good way to keep projecting the sound of the Bay from where I’m standing, is with this little monthly feature that y’all can look forward to from here on out. Look for a few deeper track and artist highlights, along with newsletter style links to other music-related happenings in the Bay Area at the bottom.
Baybs – “Would You Dare”
Out today, “Would You Dare” is the lead single off of Baybs’ debut EP, Introvertigo. Fronted by SF’s Craig Jacobs, Baybs emerged last year and I was happy to have booked them on stage at Amnesia a couple of times. The EP is coming out June 11th on local faves Text Me Records, and I’m stoked to see Text Me staying committed to indie rock along with the loads of hip-hop that they’ve been churning out.
“Would You Dare” is polished slacker folk rock, backed by singers Melissa Russi and Chloe Zelma Studebaker (of Zelma Stone) and Jacobs’ hook is a real nice payoff. The track is produced by Timothy Vickers who’s sporting a golden touch on the boards as of late. Jacobs describes this music as a salve for fits of agoraphobia and social anxiety: “The times I felt like literally jumping out of my skin, the only thing that helped was picking up a guitar and creating a melody and building a composition from there.”
Waterstrider – “Liquid”
I’ve always half-joked that Oakland-based Waterstrider’s Nate Salman has an impossible voice. He registers eye-popping high notes and it’s even more otherworldly live. With a spectral electronica beat, “Liquid” sounds like it could be playing in a spaceship rave with Salman’s vocals ranging over a chaotic light show. Salman, who’s been exploring the building blocks of his existence and identity constructs as of late, has this to say: “The song describes a vision of hope rising out of fear. In this time of disconnection, uncertainty, and isolation I am aiming to reassure others (and myself) that we are not alone.”
Sour Widows – Twin Peaks Sessions
This third highlight comes from Oakland’s Sour Widows, who put out their stellar debut EP on February 28th. And now last week, the band released a stripped-down Twin Peaks Session featuring just singers Maia Sinaiko and Susanna Thomson on guitar on a rooftop overlooking San Francisco from Twin Peaks. They played renditions of songs “Whole Lotta Nothing” and “Low Doser,” which are memorable for the way they sound as they are for the way the Twin Peaks Sessions video series is produced; you feel the crisp fog overhead rolling parallel to the tunes.
I love what Twin Peaks Sessions have been doing in featuring Bay Area bands in this serene, birds-eye setting. It’s a super DIY operation, but the sound and video quality are top notch. Peep the Sour Widows session below and hit up the Twin Peaks YouTube channel here.
MORE FROM AROUND THE BAY
Oakland-based Bandcamp is waiving their revenue share again this Friday and every first Friday for the next three months. There’s also over 150 artists and labels doubling down with more offerings this Friday.
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down have a new album called Temple due out on Ribbon Music. Watch the all-ZOOM video for “Phenom.”
Producer Wax Roof has worked with some of Bay Area hip-hop’s best. Now, he’s released his own EP, Top Floor, featuring appearances from Caleborate, Ymtk, theMIND and more.
Peep the saucy new single from SF darkwave pop duo NRVS LVRS, “Prom Night Blues.”
Do-it-all producer, pianist and MC Kev Choice just released his album created primarily during shelter-in-place and yes, it’s called Social Distancing. Check out this piece on Choice by Emma Silvers in the SF Chronicle Datebook section. (Also, big shouts to Kev Choice’s daughter, Anya, a basketball star at Cardinal Newman HS who has committed to play ball next year at my dear UC Santa Barbara. Go Gauchos!)
Women’s Audio Mission is an incredibly important organization in the Bay that teaches young women and non-gender conforming individuals the ins and outs of audio engineering. Push back on a recording industry disproportionately dominated by men and school yourself with Zack Ruskin’s piece on WAM’s virtual music education efforts here in the SF Chronicle Datebook section.
The new P-Lo video for “Get Lit” features a collage of video footage from fans dancing to the jam. It’s dorky AF, but it’s a cool look at how multi-cultural the Bay Area hip-hop fanbase is and the man writes a hook with the best of ’em.
If you’re seeing this today (Thursday) before 4pm, Rickshaw Stop is selling their current beer stock, along with some merch from 12-4pm on Thursday only. You can also get your very own Rickshaw Stop shot glass for $5 (I will be) at 155 Fell St tomorrow only. Cheers!