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Sunday, January 23, 2022

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Arts + CultureMusicNoise Pop round two announced—and there's some real goodies

Noise Pop round two announced—and there’s some real goodies

Arooj Aftab, Irreversible Entanglements, Lara Sarkissian, and tons of local talent on tap for annual music fest.

Noise Pop, the annual indie music-film-media fest happening February 21-27, 2022, just announced 25 additional acts—it’s their second wave of revealed performers. Once again, the Bay Area comes well represented with acts: Tommy Guerrero, Experimental Housewife, Boy Scouts, Provoker,  Blues Lawyer, Lara Sarkissian, Sour Widows, and others.

Following on the first wave of announced performers in November, organizers have once again chosen wisely. Featuring groundbreaking performers such as Moor Mother, Makaya McCraven, Irreversible Entanglements, and Arooj Aftab, these are ‘in real time’ of the culture choices. Supporting the credo all art is political.

Other Bay Area homegrown acts include Guapdad 4000, King Woman, and Papercuts. The Microphones will be performing in the Bay Area for the first time in 20 years, in addition to intimate shows from Alex G and Dorian Electra at August Hall.

This year you can rely on Great American Music Hall, Bottom of the Hill, The Chapel, Rickshaw Stop, Swedish American Hall, The New Parish, Gray Area, Public Works, Cornerstone, and 1015 Folsom, among others as your venues of choice.

Those second-wave artist tickets go on sale this Friday, at 10am here.

Here are some artists from Noise Pop’s first and second wave announcement to get familiar with:


Chicago drummer, multi-instrumentalist, and “beat scientist” Makaya McCraven creates and plays the type of jazz that reaches all types of ears by staying consistently raw and unfiltered. Experimental is a cute term for it.

His improvised live sessions with new wave Chicago jazz musicians Ben La Mar Gay, Jeff Parker, and Junius Paul, from their International Anthem imprint, can wind up on a Gil Scott-Heron Reimagining. It all plays.

The thread that runs through all of McCraven’s projects is the drum: Speaking to every generation. Modal or digital. It’s gonna be a sacred thing to see this alchemist work and create in a live setting.


Sour Widows consists of Maia Sinaiko, Susanna Thomson, and Max Edelman: Two began their journey as a band in 2017, but all three have childhood connections. Maia and Susanna started out as a duo—they both played guitar, wrote lyrics, and sang. After their debut performance at 924 Gilman in Berkeley, they joined forces with drummer Max Edelman, which modified the duo into a zigzagging slowcore trio of illuminated voices and amped-up guitar squall.

Their “Crossing Over” EP, with its beautifully broken slowcore heart, exposed and reeling, takes the listener through sensitive, consuming vignettes. Setbacks and conquering moments are limned by measured vocals and the mind hive-intricate guitar teamwork.

Brooklyn Vegan called it “a cross between ’90s slowcore and early Sharon Van Etten.” We think it’s pretty dope too.


The founder of Oakland’s Club Chai, Lara Sarkissian is a polymath artist, radio show host, podcast producer, DJ, and label boss. Electronic music arrangements from this Bay Area pioneer can move calm, be spiritual or get electronically intense. Drum and bass, breakcore, or droney accents melding with the sound of the ocean, all encompass the Lara Sarkissian experience.

Props to Noise-Pop for acknowledging this innovator, and shining the spotlight on such an authority.


This combustible free jazz outfit made up of members from Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York met during a Musicians Against Police Brutality concert in 2015, protesting the murder of Akai Gurley by an NYPD officer. Fast-forward to 2017, the International Anthem label and New Jersey punk label Don Giovanni jointly released their self-titled début album.

Saxophonist Keir Neuringer, trumpeter Aquiles Navarro, bassist Luke Stewart, and drummer Tcheser Holmes, these musicians gave flight to MC-poet Camae Ayewa aka Moor Mother’s words—filled with bang-up agitation and seething anguish—via shuttering bass patterns, thundering ornate percussion accents, and call to arms horn charts. This punk-rocking application to jazz, with cut/bleed precision, has been topping best-of lists every time they drop projects. FACTS.

Noise Pop has landed the show to see in 2022. Period. It’s Energy time!


A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Arooj Aftab makes arrangements that sometimes haunt and stay with you for hours, days, and weeks after the first listen. It’s an experience. 

Visine for the ears. This young Pakistani-American prodigy brings a pearlescent eternalness built-in acuity to her arrangements, with built-in acuity. 

“Sufi devotional poetry and electronic trance, jazz structures and states of pure being” is how The New York Times explains these contemporary orchestrations. By 2021, she netted two GRAMMY Award nominations of her own thanks to her breathtaking sophomore album, Vulture Prince. Former President Barack Obama continually capes for the artist.

Expect that magic, live-in performance.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

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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