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Thursday, February 22, 2024

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Arts + CultureMusicBandcamp Friday picks: Singing praises of The Grease Traps,...

Bandcamp Friday picks: Singing praises of The Grease Traps, Oakland’s bouillabaisse of bump-and-go

Plus: Acid cowgirl Mikayla McVey's lithe voice breaks easy-going or hard AF on new album.

On the first Friday of every month since March of 2020, Bandcamp has waived its revenue share of the website’s online music sales to help support the many artists who have seen their livelihoods disrupted by the pandemic. Imagine that, a tech-centered company putting their heads together for something besides trolling your socials with disinformation!

Over the course of these 18 Bandcamp Fridays, fans have paid artists and labels more than $70 million dollars, funds that have helped to cover rents, take-out dinners, weed to ease the mental strain of life during COVID, mortgages, groceries, medications, and much more. If you’re among the nearly 800,000 fans who participated, we appreciate you!

It will likely be several months before live performance revenue returns in full. So, we’re going to gear up to continue supporting upcoming Bandcamp Fridays on March 4th, April 1st, and May 6th. You can check here at 48hills for suggestions on how to spend your music dollars on those days. Thanks for doing your part to support the music community.

RED PANTS — WHEN WE WERE DANCING (Paisley Shirt Records)

There is a washed-out glory to the drone and jangle from this Madison, Wisconsin band. When We Were Dancing, its new cassette release on San Francisco imprint Paisley Shirt Records, whips up an “over it” clamor I’d search for on a Friday night stroll through The Mish. (Listen, If I’m walking around Friday nights it means I have a DJ night off, and I’m trying to connect my ears with a different frequency. Keeping it … a night off.)

Red Pants can rip for sure, but the vocals always come in under the mix, equal parts exhausted and haunted. This delivery plays with the notion and title of the first knife-cutter of a track “Lost Momentum.” Matter of fact, the entire cassette plays beautifully with the notion of exhausted defeat, employing depleted phonation constructs that whip about, barely.

It’s Racer 5 IPA time, at your fave half-packed bar-venue, with this band on stage churning it out to a slight shoegaze congregation. Get hypnotized by the longhairs nodding it out to these short circuit fuzzy-muddled dingers.

Friday nite goals, achieved.

Purchase here.


Pardon my manners for not finding out about and singing the high praises of Oakland’s bouillabaisse of bump-and-go, The Grease Traps, sooner. The majority of the time, a retro band will excel in one specific area. But The Grease Traps cover all sides. They cruise through The Meters-type joy in repetition, swing by the cinematic psychedelic vibes of ’60s soul, touched by the acid-rock influence, give high praise to the JB’s hustle-bustle—we even get a bit of that Tower of Power slow jam finesse and low-rider cruise, too.

The group is blessed with Daryl Norcott, a lead singer who goes by “The Gata.” Norcott burns on social issues found on the single “Roots,” but can also ride the wave of guitar-picking-meets-snare-snap breakbeats à la Daptone throwback “Get In The Groove.” The group’s debut release an immediate cause for purchase. The Traps have supplemented their sound with the Monophonics horns and even recorded at Kelly Finnigan’s Transistor Sound studio in San Francisco, as well as their own spot, Fifty Filth Studio in Oakland.

Rare, raw, and complete is how these Grease Traps come across.

Purchase here.


I was hooked by Mikayla McVey’s song “New Year” and the corresponding video late in December of 2021. The self-proclaimed “acid cowgirl” musician has a way of packing a week, or sometimes a month, into one song. No lag, just impersonating life and how it feels. Easy-going or hard AF, that lithe voice cuts on both sides. McVey is able to transport the vibes through unfussy delivery, as she does on new album Time Turns Everything.

“New Year,” a kraut-rock jammer, works those country vibes toward the background, and instead props up celestial space throughout. That’s where you’ll find McVey calmly moving about.

Need a surreal lil’ pick-me-up to make it through the day? Check out her magically-engaged, real East Bay landscape video. Equipped with dancers, dogs, the Bay, Mount Tamalpais, Bushrod Park, all alive with sunshine, well-to-do momentum.

Pick up the transporting Time Turns Everything here.


For years, Harvey Sutherland has curated his particular sound: loft-jazz-meets-contemporary house-electronic. It’s a concoction that brought him up through the ranks. This Mike Katz, who plays keys and synths under the alias of Harvey Sutherland and hails from Melbourne, has been steady releasing singles for close to the past decade on Voyage, Echovolt, Peoples Potential Unlimited, and Voltaire Records.

The Australian artist said he was guided by his own theory of “neurotic funk” when making his debut record Boy, which is slated for release on April 29th. The LP’s second single, “Feeling Of Love” featuring Dâm-Funk, shows deeper direction, an expansive move for Sutherland. Coupled with great chords and uplifting themes, the musician maintains his ascension , employing assistance from the progenitor, point man, and ambassador for the modern funk and boogie movement. The accompanying video was directed by Fons Schiedon, who follows Dâm-Funk and his synth levitating across Los Angeles.

Pre-order Boy here.

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 Shiver
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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