New indie record label Warm and Fuzzy declares Oakland: The Secret Is Out with its flagship compilation of the same name. But for most of us locals, the fact that Oakland has a become a capital of rock in recent years should come as no great surprise. What is amazing is that a label has documented the music of an important region without trumping up its own contribution to the scene. That's because Warm and Fuzzy is less of a business and more of a love letter from two fans to the artists they adore. The initial inspiration for creating a label and putting out a comp struck 26-year-old Emily Harrison in true O-Town fashion -- as she was driving to the KFC/Taco Bell and chatting on her cell about how rad the local music scene had become. "I just felt that there's this real sense of music community in Oakland and it needed something to represent it," she says. "Oakland is tough, but in a good way. It has this amazing cultural history and so much going on, and it just doesn't feel the need to prove itself sometimes. [It's] not a scene where people go out to be seen, but [where] people are actually really enthusiastic about music and being in bands and doing something that's creative, which I think is really awesome." Her friend Jamal Mahone agreed, and soon the two were gathering tracks that showcase the tight-knit Oakland rock scene.
"You'll see the same people at some hardcore punk show and then something like the Foxgloves -- that's really sort of country-tinged, cute, melodic pop stuff," Emily says. That unique family vibe that binds all of Oakland's creative artists is really what solidifies the comp and explains its various flavors -- from the dark goth-influenced Black Ice to the Richard-Hell-reminiscent closing track from the Cuts, or the infectious '80s synth-pop of Partyline.
You can get a taste of this delightful mix by stirring it up at Warm and Fuzzy's compilation release party this Saturday at the new Mile High Club. The show starts at 9 p.m. and features five of the CD's amazing bands -- the Militant Children's Hour, Partyline, the Weegs, the Catholic Comb, and the Death of a Party. The price is $6 and includes fun times with guest DJ Nako. Check out OaklandMileHigh.com for the dirty details. -- Amrah Johnson
Troubles forgotten in El C.
Without your love/It's a honky-tonk parade/Without your love/It's a melody played in a penny arcade. So goes "Paper Moon," one song in the repertoire of the Frisky Frolics. But you get the feeling this throwback quintet wouldn't mind playing in either a honky-tonk parade or a penny arcade. They'll certainly be right at home playing Depression-era classics like "Louise," interspersed with rarer numbers, at El Cerrito's Down Home Music (10341 San Pablo Ave.). Listen to that ukulele wail this Saturday at 2 p.m. for free. 510-525-2129. -- Stefanie Kalem
Our Seth, So Mature!
If you were a fan of ironic rock pranksters Spore Attic, be sure to Ween yourself off the shtick before listening to SA member Seth Lepore's new project, Older Than Hours . The Berkeley-based Lepore has cut the comedy in favor of earnestness for his new songs -- abstract odes to love, identity crises, and politics, recorded at home with the help of ample electronics. Live, Lepore pads out his dissonant, new-wave bedroom pop with drummer Jason Levis (Married Couple) and other Bay Area notables. Check it out at Epic Arts (1923 Ashby Ave., Berkeley) this Friday with dance-pop outfit Masoose . 8 p.m., $5-$10 sliding scale. EpicArts.org or 510-644-2204. -- Stefanie Kalem
The always resourceful and inventive Oakland Public Library has scored a first with its exhibition, What the ... Is That? It's made an art show out of a Lost and Found Dept. Someone with a sense of humor gathered the odds and ends -- photos, cards, notes, etc. -- left behind by students visiting the library's Teen Zone in the last few years. Sounds like a ready-made time capsule of urban teenage life in the early 21st century. Drop by the Teen Zone on the second floor of the main library, 125 14th St., and have a look. -- Kelly Vance
Culture Spy - April 20, 9:52 AM
Culture Spy - April 13, 12:18 PM