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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

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Arts + CultureMusicLocal Action Video: 4 clips show Bay life through...

Local Action Video: 4 clips show Bay life through the eyes of its bands

Roll video! Marinero's ode to displacement may draw a tear, but Love Jerks' world-record pregnant dance party should dry those eyes.

We have an embarrassment of riches here in the Bay Area. Not only do we consistently churn out some of the most forward-thinking, quirky, indie, alternative and funky artists spanning all types of genres, we also get their music videos from time to time. Those clips often reflect our view of life here, our day-to-day matched up to a soundtrack of sorts. The Local Action Video column happens when we have beguiling visuals from interesting Bay Area artists. Enjoy!


What is one of the most defining characteristics of a Bay Area resident? Having to relocate.

That’s right. One of the rites of passage of living in San Francisco over the past 20 years or so is not being able to afford rent. 

Marinero has chosen to make his debut album Hella Love—out this month on Hardly Art imprint—a wet kiss dedication to the city he loves but can no longer afford. 

Jess Sylvester was drawn to his artist name Marinero (it means “sailor” in Spanish) as a means to honor his parent’s stories. His father had a maritime career, and his mother was a Mexican-American who grew up in San Francisco. 

Of Nuestra Victoria‘s title track, Sylvester shares, “It’s my way of talking about gentrification in SF, or specifically the Mission where my mom and family grew up. The song is about a bakery, or panadería, called La Victoria, and was a place where my mother and tias went growing up, a place I also went to that is no longer there. It was one of the oldest Mexican-American businesses in SF and I wanted to honor it.” 

Sylvester, who relocated to Los Angeles after finishing the album’s recording duties, performs confidence with his kismet clash of Toro Y Moi-type vibes meets breezy Latin jazz, pop singer-songwriter fusion. It’s a synthesis that hits modern and 1970s snug, all at once. You can hear Ennio Morricone, Esquivel, Carole King, and Serge Gainsbourg just as much as Chicano Batman, Connan Mockasin, and Chris Cohen. In the heartfelt-beautiful video for “Nuestra Victoria,” Marinero roller skates backwards down Sycamore Alley and several other side streets that Mission residents love to use, specifically on Friday nights when we have duck the bridge and tunnel show. Purchase the album here.

FAKE FRUIT — “MILKMAN” (Rocks In Your Head)

Bay-area based band Fake Fruit, composed of Hannah D’Amato, guitarist Alex Post, and drummer Miles MacDiamond, released their debut, self-titled album earlier this year on Rocks in Your Head Records. Fake Fruit, a fave band here at 48hills, is fronted by the suffer-no-fools Hannah D’Amato and can be felt in the throes of a jangly art-rock, television-esque long narrative, or a quick-cutting Wire, Pylon, or Minutemen friction haze. But that takes second fiddle to D’ Amato’s range of voiced attitude. Truth-telling most often comes in the most raw form. So her whispering, questioning, shouting, blowing off steam with that sublime post-punk timing, infusing shouts and shrills, is a fresh and novel representative on the evolving post-punk front.

New single “Milkman” opens with methodical bass and blips of scorching guitar. Post and MacDiamond’s chanting vocals, “Hot sidewalk/No shade/Milk curdles/With age,” give way to D’Amato’s punchy voice. The accompanying video directed by Spooky Orbison features D’Amato as a guitar playing milkman and Post and MacDiarmid as singing milk bottles. D’Amato elaborates: “‘Milkman’ is about noticing a relationship is far past its expiration date, and realizing that you’re the one that’s going to have to take care of it.” Purchase here.

PARDONER — “DONNA SAID” (Bar/None Records)

It’s the typical band origin story. Living in proximity in university dorms at San Francisco State and sharing a mutual love of Yo La Tengo and Polvo led to Max Freeland, Trey Flanigan, and River van den Berghe to form the core trio of the outfit Pardoner. According to the lads, Pardoner melds slacker rock attitude with pummeling hardcore for a visceral sound. They are just a bit of wise-asses too, making pop-adjacent moves with guitar feedback and jeering clapbacks on the pay attention “Donna Said.” Indie-jangle meets tsunami wave paradise within two minute and change, filled with whip smart quips: “I got feelings and guitar, I wanna trade it for cash.” 

It’s fitting. The band’s third album Came Down Different will be released on the label responsible for an early Yo La Tengo record (1990’s Fakebook), and half the songs were written in a wonky tuning that Freeland stumbled on while trying to learn Polvo songs. 

Now, about that cash. Purchase here.


Bay Area band Love Jerks, comprised of Rebecca Garza-Bortman and Bryan Garza, started writing “Out of Body,” their self-proclaimed  “future-wave funk anthem,” right after learning that they were going to have their very own baby. They took cues from relaxation techniques learned in hypnobirthing classes.

“What better way to deal with the anxieties of birth, than to write a song?” said Rebecca Garza-Bortman. 

The track was composed while she grew a baby bump, the lyrics inspired by a midnight pregnant craving for Hot Cookie, followed by a stargazing hike atop the Corona Heights rock. 

But the music video, released this past Mother Day, takes things to the next level. It portrays a lighthearted journey of a sperm and an egg, juxtaposed with a pregnant dance party in full swing. And oh, what a dance party. It set a world record with 127 pregnant dancers in a single music video. Buy the single here.

John-Paul Shiverhttps://www.clippings.me/channelsubtext
John-Paul Shiver has been contributing to 48 Hills since 2019. His work as an experienced music journalist and pop culture commentator has appeared in the Wire, Resident Advisor, SF Weekly, Bandcamp Daily, PulpLab, AFROPUNK, and Drowned In Sound.
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