For Main Attrakionz' anticipated Amoeba Berkeley in-store this week (on Tuesday, June 30th at 5pm) in support of their brand new 808s & Dark Grapes III (out that same day on Vapor), the prolific Oakland hip-hop crew's Squadda B promises a most memorable show that will be "a real celebration of everything we've been through since Carter Middle School." North Oakland's Carter Middle school is where the rapper/producer born Charles Glover is referring to. It was there that he first met up with his partner in rhyme, Damondre Grice (aka rapper Mondre M.A.N.).From that point on, at the young age of 12-years-old no less, it has been quite a ride for the inseparable, prolific, pioneering pair.
From the get go, the two go-getters tirelessly entered every local talent shows they could find. Over the following years they would win a lot of them too. But more importantly they learned and grew from their experiences that would help pave the way for a career that, for the artists who are only now 24-years-old, has already been quite accomplished. They've recorded a shitload of music (approx 15 full-length projects, although only two albums, including the new one, are commercially available), worked with such artists as Danny Brown and A$AP Rocky, been credited with being among the chief architects in creating the alt rap psychedelic hip-hop sub-genre of "cloud rap," and landed a deal with Neil Young's Vapor Records, to name but a sampling of their accolades to date.
Main Attrakionz "Ain't No Other Way" (Vapor, 2015)
After grabbing the above sampling of flyers for punk and indie rock music shows in the Bay Area this week, it made me think that it's like 1982 all over again, flyer-wise at least. Back then this basic cut and paste collage style of basic, no-frills, black and white Xerox flyers with ransom note lettering was the most prevalent. The only difference (besides the bands and venues changing) is that back then they were mostly 8" by 10" size flyers whereas the ones above are all quarter page scale - that way you get four times the amount for your buck, plus people are less likely to fold them and not read them again.
The above flyers are for what should be some good shows too including Wednesday (July 1st) at El Rio in SF with Party Force, Lucky Boys, and The White Barons ($7, 21+ Info), and tonight (June 27) at the Stork Club in Oakland with Beast Fiend, TV Static, The Connies, The Wastedeads, and Fuzz Attack. ($5, 21+ Info). The other two flyers include one for new downtown Oakland music bar the Golden Bull on 14th (near Broadway) where this upcoming Friday, July 3rd, five acts are booked including CCR Headcleaner, Ubu Roi, Means End, Sselxes, and Rays ($8, 21+ Info). The other show flyer is for the Knockout on Mission in San Francisco on July 8th when Maximum RnR along with Thrill House present a punk show with Quaaludes, Piss Test, Rays, and Sloppy Kisses. ($7-$10, 21+ Info)
The latest hip-hop albums chart is care of Billboard charts and represents the highest selling hip-hop albums in the country for the past week. The chart includes some that have been out for a minute such as Nicki Minaj's The Pinkprint that originally dropped at the end of last year, and Drake'sIf You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late that was released back in April. Out since March but still selling strong is the various artists'Furious 7 Soundtrackthat includes the current megahit single by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth "See You Again" (video below) that is dedicated to the late Paul Walker from the movie franchise, and a diverse array of album contributors including Sage The Gemini,Mos Def and DJ Shadow, and Kid Ink, Tyga, Wale, YG, and Rich Homie Quan whom all team up together for the opening track "Ride Out." Chart entry new releases that arrived this month include Major Lazer's Peace Is The Mission which is the third LP from Diplo and friends. Vinyl collectors make note that Mad Decent will release an LP version in early August.
While it might seem like you can't check your inbox or social media these days without being asked to contribute to yet another crowd funding project - some which may not seem quite worthy of your hard earned cash - there are some really excellent and needy projects out there that could only happen with grassroots-level crowdfunding support. Such is the case with the recently launched GoFundMe drive for SF Punk Renaissance 2015 (Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Punk) that happens in San Francisco in late September.
The event is overseen by the The Punk Rock Sewing Circle, a volunteer group comprised of artists, musicians, and activists from the early days of punk rock in the Bay who organize art and music-based events to promote early punk culture and raise funds for social justice causes. Scheduled for a full week, September 20th to 27th, the SF Punk Renaissance 2015 is shaping up to be an eclectic week of "old school punk pop-up events celebrating the catalytic revolution of the first wave" and will incorporate concerts, spoken word shows, panel discussions, punk film screenings, and iconic punk art and photo gallery exhibits. While no bands have been named, "seminal bands of the era" that are promised to play during the week. There are so many incredible bands from that era, even if the lineups have changed, to draw from including The Mutants (whose music is featured in the GoFundMe video below) and The Avengers who, along with Jello Biafra, were among those at last week's the SF City Hall 100 Year anniversary.
Zeke Thomas "Blackness (feat. Chuck D & Jasiri X)" (2015)
If you ever despair that comedy seems to have eclipsed music's once key role as the lead thought-provoking voice, offering insights into the news making social and political issues of the day, Zeke Thomas's vibrant new track "Blackness" featuring Chuck D and Jasiri X will dispell that feeling. The song and its accompanying Charlie Zwick directed video above prove that popular music can still be political and central to the national dialog. And right now that national dialog seems to be squarely focused on the topic of race in America. It is the also the one addressed by EDM producer Zeke Thomas — the club DJ / producer / son of NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas on the track "Blackness" whose release could not have been more perfectly timed with its publication over the past week. On "Blackness" Thomas is joined by the always politically outspoken hip-hop voices of veteran rap revolutionary Public Enemy's Chuck D, along with contemporary political rapper (self-described "Raptivist") with some in-your-face, social commentary. Reportedly it was longtime political activist Harry Belafonte who introduced the Thomas to both Chuck D and Jasiri X. The introduction came from his organizationSankofathat encourages "artists and performers of color to actively create art that may serve as a catalyst for positive cultural evolution" for the single that was released by Tommy Boy. My hope is that Thomas will release a hip-hop mix too. My other hope is that a new wave of political rap like when PE were at their peak 25 + years ago, with powereful outspoken songs like "Black Steel In The Hour of Chaos" off the album It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back (video below), will make a re-emergence in popularity.