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Saturday, September 25, 2021

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Arts + CultureMusicThree terrific artists to support directly this week

Three terrific artists to support directly this week

Rainy-day Oakland jazz, slinky and soulful robot funk, and gorgeously dark rock for Bandcamp Friday

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 that time, fans paid artists and labels in excess of $59 million dollars, helping cover rents, mortgages, groceries, medications, and much more. If you are one of the 800,000 fans who’ve participated, shouts to you for being human. 

The next Bandcamp Friday is September 3, and 48hills will continue to make suggestions, reminding readers and fans of music that on the first Friday of every month for the rest of 2021. Your help keeps the lights on for so many. Appreciate Cha!


Oakland jazz artist Dan Berkson has that thing that all musicians should be concerned with acquiring. Range. His soon-to-be-released album Dialogues represents Berkson’s experiences in London, “where jazz is a living, breathing, dancing scene. It’s his self-described love letter to the city, bristling with British talents such as bassist Andrea di Biase and drummer Jon Scott and recorded in his final days in the city before relocating to California.”

“Maggie’s Last Day,” his recent single from the upcoming project, feels like that reserved drizzly day outside you must venture your beak into. Handle your biz. I did smirk at the notion in the press release that stated “Detroit dons Theo Parrish and Moodymann are every bit as important to this record as Charlie Haden, Carla Bley, Keith Jarrett, Ornette Coleman, Jimmy Giuffre, and Herbie Hancock.”

However, upon listening to the roomy, candid but still versed and knowledgeable mood on “Maggie’s Last Day” a couple of times, I believe it all. Freestyle Records is the very consistent label that’s been righteous and funky for years. And with Joe Muggs, the seasoned veteran, featured writer for Bandcamp Daily and Pitchfork, handling the digital release liner notes?

Dialogues, out on September 17, gots to be a worthy project. I’m looking forward to this.

Pre-order the whole album here.


Lemme tell ya. Miss Kell, the lead vocalist of the Oakland four-member group ESSES, is kinda freaking me out. That just may be the intention at hand. “Before The Blight,” a pulsating, quietus-driven dirge moving quickly into the very woeful void, is giving off the supernatural ever-lovin ‘fidgets. 

ESSES, who began in 2014, hits with wrath that feels like Siouxsie Sioux speed bumped over the post-punk mayhem and floored it straight to black metal Shangri-La, declaring “I’ll take all the darkness.” With menacing bass, guitars pushed to 11, and drums pummeling your existence into mush, the album Bloodletting for the Lonely is a soundtrack for the wretched. Unrelenting heavy music spewing from the root.

Purchase the album here.


MF Robots ( short for MUSIC FOR ROBOTS ) is a way for Jan Kincaid and Dawn Joseph to poke fun at microwave sounds, passed off on vintage tinny platforms—operating like Skynet—that are supposed to be considered music. These veteran tastemakers GET to be critical in those distinctions.

Ever heard of Brand New Heavies? Only one of the UK’s most successful Acid Jazz bands, that influenced Mark Ronson, D’Angelo, Jamiroquai, Erykah Badu, and The Roots to name a few. Welp, Kincaid, and Joseph met in that band. And formed this one.

Their forthcoming second album Break The Wall is arriving in early October and the single “Brand New Day” is a full reading of soul, funk, and R&B at a mid-tempo gait, pleasantly taking the edge off your day. Cause life is kinda hard in 2021, right?

With a sing-a-long chorus from Joseph, full horn charts, magical organ touches, and slinky bass patterns, it fits the ‘nowstalgia’ looks happening during this worldwide ’90s revival. But don’t call it retro, bub. More like right on time. Break The Wall is out digitally on October 8, with vinyl and CD following on November 26th.

Pre-order the whole album 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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