Music

It’s Easy: Filipino rapper Nump enters cannabis delivery service

From carrying his own cannabis brand, “Nump’s Smackers Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich” and Sideshow Tone’s FHUF Suckaz, to providing all sorts of other cannabis, Bolo CBD, edible, pre-rolled and indica goodies like “Grape Pie” and “Grape Sorbet,” Perfetto lives up to his promise made back in 2005: He really has grapes. And, perhaps more importantly, he’s doing it as a proud Bay Area Pinoy.

Los Tangueros del Oeste: The sensuous grooves of Argentina,...

Los Tangueros came together four years ago. They honed their sound playing clubs, concert halls and milongas—tango dance parties that take place every night of the week. El Valenciano, in the Mission District, has hosted a weekly milonga for more than 20 years. When everything came to a halt during the pandemic, Jacobsen decided to use his time to produce 'Alma Vieja' (Old Soul,) the band’s debut album.

Tommy Castro: A bluesman comes to town with a...

“I’d been toying with the idea of a blues opera for a while. I like rock operas like Green Day’s American Idiot and the Who’s Tommy. I began imagining a romantic blues adventure, based on the hero’s journeys from Greek and Roman mythology. A kid in rural America is dreaming of a different life. When a bluesman comes to town, he’s changed forever. After hearing the blues, he decides to start a band and go on the road. I ran the idea past Bruce Iglauer, head of my label, Alligator Records. He didn’t think it was a bad idea, so I pursued it."

KC Turner: Bringing it all back home

“In the summer of 2020, Megan Slankard, one of my favorite singer/songwriters, told me about someone bringing music to people on their doorstep. That got me thinking about backyard concerts: private events, with 10—maybe 15—people, if you had a big yard. We’d have strict rules; everyone masked and socially distanced. I have battery-operated BOSE speakers, so we wouldn’t need to run a cord into your house. We could do it for a flat fee, and pay artists. I could get off unemployment and bring joy to live-music fans.” As soon as Turner put the word out, the shows filled up.

Shannon and the Clams: Uplifting songs for a crazy...

“I’ve had a crippling fear of spiders since I was a kid,” Shaw said. “They‘ve been drawn to me since I was a baby. It’s been a nightmare. I’d pick up a cluster of grapes and, if a spider fell out, I’d throw them away. I had to find a way to reframe the things that scare me the most, so I started looking at them as beautiful creatures that control their own ecosystem. The songs on the album are reflections on that power of transformation.

Nineteen Hand Horse: Cowboy music from the wild, wild...

Archangel and her husband, Mark Montijo, were scratching out a living as musicians when they met, years ago, in L.A. “I saw friends approaching 40 and still not making a living,” she said. “We played music a bit, and I wrote songs—then suddenly the stars aligned. We started playing as a duo and put a band together. Why it took so many years, I’ll never know.”

Ah-Mer-Ah-Su: Oakland soul transported to the sunny South

“I want my art to deal in reality, so the vibe expresses a temperamental feeling,” Amerasu said. “Being inside for a year was exhausting. I want to go out and do all the things I like to do. I wrote it a while ago, but it fits perfectly with the mood of post-pandemic life. I know it’s not over. We’re still moving toward some version of a new reality.”

Sugar Candy Mountain: Bright songs from the heart of...

While the songs on 'Impression' often reflect the stressful events of the past year and a half—wildfires, Covid, sheltering in place—the buoyant melodies, positive lyrics, playful production and Reiter’s breezy vocals shower your ears to unexpected musical sparks.

Destroy Boys: On the road again with open hearts

"The music on 'Open Mouth, Open Heart' is aggressively punk, with nuances of metal, folk, country, pop and Latin music drifting through the mix. The set opens with 'Locker Room Bully,' a song that describes the tribulations of high school women. A forceful vocal from Roditis likens her adolescent harassment to the hysteria of a witch-hunt, as a wall of electric guitar chords and Malik’s formidable backbeat support her."

The Essential Zion-I

Some emcees rap. Others make art. Zumbi Zoom aka Zion of Zion-I aka Steve Gaines...

Mae Powell: Songs of innocence and experience

j. poet writes, "The melodies Powell composed to accompany her musings are as boundless as the feelings she describes. Jazz, folk, rock, samba, blues, soul, country music and more slip and slide together, producing a sound both familiar and distinct. 'I don’t have a conscious style, I listen to everything,' Powell said."

A Beautiful Night: Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist bring...

D'Andre Ball reports back from San Francisco's 1015 Folsom and the collaborative energy that Freddie Gibbs and Alchemist shared with the crowd.

The Umbrellas: Making beautiful music together

"Every track on The Umbrellas shimmers with pure pop energy," writes j. poet. "Luminous chords from Ferrara’s organ and bright acoustic guitar fill open 'Lonely,' a mid-tempo love song that’s balanced between hope and regret."

Sonic Frontiers: Deeply informed by traditional music of the...

"An Oakland guitarist and composer with a rigorously conceived and wide-open aesthetic, Evangelista is a creative force at the sonic frontiers where the Bay Area’s new music scene bleeds into jazz. Deeply informed by traditional music of the Philippines, he designed Apura by drawing on folkloric melodies, though the musical conversation unfurled with the roiling ebb and surge of a jazz colloquy," writes Andrew Gilbert in this week's music section.
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