On the first Friday of every month since March 2020, local music platform Bandcamp has waived its fees to help support the many artists who have seen their livelihoods disrupted by the pandemic. Over the course of those eleven individual days, fans paid artists and labels over $40 million dollars, helping cover rents, mortgages, groceries, medications, and much more. Nearly 800,000 fans have participated.
Although vaccines are starting to roll out, it will likely be a while before live performance revenue starts to return to its profitable and fully safe state. So we’re going to continue supporting Bandcamp Fridays here at 48hills in 2021, April 2, and May 7. While boosting local talent is the first order of business, recommending good music—no matter where it comes from—shall remain in the mix as well. Enjoy our picks, add them to your shopping cart, and support these artists!
Sour Widows, “Crossing Over,” Crossing Over EP (Exploding In Sound)
Bay Area trio Sour Widows consists of Maia Sinaiko, Susanna Thomson, and Max Edelman, who began their journey as a band in 2017, but all three have childhood connections. After the release of their self-titled EP in February of 2020, the plan was to continue touring and start work on a full-length album, but we all know that story well and good by now. Because of the pandemic, insert expletive, things got peak-level different. Embracing the downtime, stuck with no alternative, the band decided to work remotely, making new material themselves. The previous release teetered between audio extremes. But this next EP, while following a similar layout, blending illuminated voices into vibrant eruptions of guitar squall, comes off stately. Interior.
The seven-minute title track “Crossing Over,” a gentle build into the expanse, wields sneaky, broiling rigidity out of beautiful vocals and “aching lyrics centered around a long-distanced relationship.” Susanna and Maia worked on the song while quarantining together and struck indie gold. Listen, somebody here in the song, is going through something, somewhere…. But it’s the long building stretches that allow outsiders to partake in the introvert experience.
Humanity all over is going through some type of malaise in this COVID mess. But as humans, we really don’t like to hear our own whiney shit. We just don’t. Sour Widow somehow turns the difficult trick of making the obvious, captivating.
Crossing Over EP is available April 23; you can purchase the single here.
Seven Davis Jr., “We Should Go Out,” One EP Special Edition (Secret Angels Records)
This is the version of Seven Davis Jr that keeps ffolkes stepping to the AM… That high snare/kick drum all up in the mix? Whew. It’s full go-bang time, people. Our San Francisco producer, on his own tip and nobody else’s.
According to the Bandcamp, liner notes, he’s relaunching his music imprint Secret Angels with full digital and physical distribution behind it. The label’s first official release is the One EP (Special Edition).
“With a roster of unique artists in the pipeline, Secret Angels will definitely be a go-to for exciting rare sounds. Sev’s next album is also forthcoming, which will be his first ‘above ground’ release since the 2015 Universes album on Ninja Tune”.
You can purchase “We Should Go Out” here.
Double Identity, Have To Feel It EP (Voltage Music Label)
So I get a social media ‘snuggle’ early Monday morning from none other than the venerable Tomas Palermo—Bay Area DJ staple, former Managing Editor of XLR8R, and co-host of the weekly radio broadcast Friday Night Session with Andrew Jervis. He’s just released his new four-track EP “Have To Feel It,” under his Double Identity moniker, and it’s this cool sampling of beats, tempos, and textures, with movement being the main operative, that proceeds from dub, downtempo, and freestyle all the way up to house, in this ambient unforced manner.
You can pick it up here…..
The Reds, Pinks & Purples, “The Biggest Fan,” Uncommon Weather (Slumberland)
From the several musical lives of San Francisco musician Glenn Donaldson, The Reds, Pinks & Purples—his most recent project—is a self-assembled, progressive-pop, melancholic bag filled with jangle and hum. It may feel pastel and twee, but it possesses a surgical bite with each sneering lyrical observation.
His recent single “The Biggest Fan” feels dinkily quaint, if you will—as the pastel-colored San Francisco homes on his cover artwork— but don’t let the outre sentiment fool you. His subject matter speaks to cheapo music nerds who pay lip service, not money, to performers barely scratching by in their overpriced city.
Glenn Donaldson explains the source material for the song:
“There’s this thing that I witnessed sometimes after shows, people walking up to the merch table to say ‘I am big fan,’ but then they would apologize for downloading or streaming your music for free. This song is meant as a guilt-trip for those who claim to be ‘fans’ but haven’t bothered to purchase the album yet.”
We can all purchase “The Biggest Fan” here.
Asta Hiroki, “Left Behind (feat. Lalin St.Juste),” Entropy (Jalapeno Records)
Lalin St Juste, lead singer of Bay Area band The Seshen, contributes to this winsome piece of New Age stillness, joining Brighton-based visual artist and producer Asta Hiroki. The result is “Left Behind,” a stunning arrangement featuring jazz-influenced electronica that bodes well. Supported by BBC 6Music, JazzFM, and La Belle Musique, the single and entire project links up impressive poetics with sparse modernistic composition.
You can purchase the single here.