Mission Creek Oakland has just released its schedule for this year's event. A festival of (mostly) local bands, Mission Creek started in San Francisco seventeen years ago and has been running in the East Bay for five years. This year's festival — which, full disclosure, is co-produced by the East Bay Express — will take place September 1-30 in various local venues. Shows are still being added and lineups are subject to change, so check Facebook for updates.
Last week, Oakland’s The Grouch and LA’s Eligh (both originally of the group Living Legends) released a Bay-centric music video for the newest fruit of their collaboration, “All These Lights.” The new song is also the indie hip-hop artists’ first collaboration with electro-sensation Pretty Lights (which also released its first all-original solo album this week). The resulting track is one of seeming effortlessness, with Pretty Lights layering hits signature rock-sampling beats under the rap duo’s seasoned lyricism. The video is elaborate, and bright with Bay Area pride from start to finish. It’s made in a style called "lyric-lapsing" that combines time-lapse with stop-motion and simultaneously lip-syncs the song lyrics to the video. Epic time-lapses of a lit-up Bay Bridge are interspersed with stop-motion clips of The Grouch and Eligh floating amid familiar scenery like SF Civic Center Plaza and the Oakland Tribune building. Meanwhile, their clothing changes around their motionless bodies, conveniently giving them an opportunity to rep endless logos including Oaklandish, the California state flag, Cal and, or course, their own merch. To create the effect, they apparently had to take 24 shots for each second of the 2-minute, 40-second video. A remarkable effort with a sleek and shiny outcome.
While supporters of gay marriage were holding impromptu celebrations in the streets around the Bay Area last night, fans of heavy music were having their own celebration of sorts — inside Slim’s, where a lucky group of fans packed inside to see a dream lineup: Quicksand, Mastodon, High on Fire, Saviours, and Hot Lunch. The show was part of a free, five-day concert series put on by Converse (the shoe company) to promote the opening of its San Francisco store. Each night of “Converse Represent” featured its own theme: electronic (Hot Chip), indie-rock (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, DIIV), hip-hop (Blackalicious, Deltron 3030), and punk (Suicidal Tendencies).
Steel Cranes — “Boat Song” (Premiere)
Amanda Schukle and Tracy Shapiro are Oakland rock duo Steel Cranes. With Schukle on drums and Shapiro on vocals, the two are rumbling the Bay Area music scene with their raw vibes. After knowing each other for only about a year and a half, the two are preparing to release a debut album entitled Ouroboros. We have the honor of premiering their first single, “Boat Song,” a hefty, droning five minutes of noise and lamentation. The two women exude a fervent-yet-slow, seeping energy into this song, which they say they recorded in one take. Set on maintaining the roughness of their live performances, the pair insisted on putting the whole album on tape. To do so, they teamed up with engineer Eli Crews of New, Improved Recording who has worked previously with tUnE-yArDs, Deerhoof and Questlove. Ouroboros is scheduled for release on September 24th.
Tough to beat The Coup's new video, but these local acts are worthy of a few minutes of your work day.
Warm Soda — "Jeanie Loves Pop”
Warm Soda invades the bedroom of a Sixties suburban teen queen in its video for the power pop track "Jeanie Loves Pop." Catch the band at Brick & Mortar on Thursday, June 27 before it embarks on an international tour, and keep an ear out for new songs, which frontman Matthew Melton said are shaping up to be “way more musical — lots of acoustic guitars and cellos, even violins.”
Only comedian Patton Oswalt can get away with calling The Coup's Boots Riley "Kanye."
In the new video for "The Magic Clap," off the Oakland outfit's 2012 album Sorry To Bother You, Oswalt acts out the song's political lyrics in hilarious quick cuts of him prancing around a leopard-print sofa. There's also a bunch of silly props and a prism that shoots a rainbow out of Oswalt's hands. Tuesday morning on the Internet doesn't get better than this.
The Express is pleased to premiere the debut EP of Oakland's Mortar & Pestle on Post Primal Records. It's something of an emotional roller-coaster — or, at least, like being inside an emotional pinball machine. “U.V.,” the first single, does actually start with the sounds of a pinball machine, but it isn't all fun and arcade games. The tone of the somber-but-bouncy second single, "Pristine Dream," sets the mood for the album a little more accurately. Sonically languorous, lyrically disconsolate, and all-around intense, this debut's register matches the band's origin story: Vocalist Janaysa Lambert met keyboardist Paul Shinichi through a mutual friend and were quickly joined by drummer Sean Paul Duke. Woefully, the friend who brought them together passed away, but not before she christened the new group as Mortar & Pestle. The band kept the name and honored her life through music.
Manatee — "Which Way To Go" and "Theme (Dugong Sing-Along)"
The Oakland quartet Manatee has two new tracks out this week on the B-side of a seven-inch split with Stockton's Surfer Club. Manatee rocks hard and in a range of ways: the first track, “Theme (Dugong Sing-Along)” is instrumental, drawing on some surf-rock melodies, distorting the amps, and adding some chaotic Arena-rock-grade drums. “Which Way To Go” is a forceful cover of the Eighties hardcore band Big Boys, and it manages to make more noise than the original. The split is the first in a series called Nothing To Lose by Death Party Records
Local blog/promoter Thizzler wants your vote for the best new artists in Bay Area hip-hop and Mission Creek Oakland Music and Arts Festival (MCO) has opened up submissions for bands to play its month-long festival in September. It's a short window for both, so don't miss out.