Sponsored link
Thursday, February 2, 2023

Sponsored link

Arts + CultureMusic16 great (and mostly local) releases that shined in...

16 great (and mostly local) releases that shined in the mess of 2022

Toro y Moi, Pastor Champion, Loraine James, Anteloper: These are the sounds that reflected a year all over the place

Music in 2022 was similar to real life: Messy. Big. Retro. Nonsensical. Rough. Revived. Divisive. All over the place.

OK, messy as hell. Like, white girl wasted—or à la the makeshift bar at a Capp Street loft party at 3am where the vodka looks shady, the only mixer of choice is corner-store Gatorade, and the combination is barely getting the job done.

But it’s 2022. Gwan then, jump in. Break a few rules. Shit, drink some of that “I wouldn’t try it,” no-one-has-touched-that-bottle-all-night liquor. Although your herbalist, partner, two cats, and their litter box (which demands immediate attention at 5:47am regardless of your shenanigans) strongly advise against it. After these past years, we thirsty for that kinda mess again, ya know? Parched.

But the one thing about a mess, it indicates that you are alive, sorting out the new rules—or making them joints up on the fly.

Remember .. this year?

With the help of Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” Kate Bush found Zennials, with her 37-year-old banger running up that chart again. With their 1987 soft rock bop-of-sorts “Everywhere,” Fleetwood Mac hawked the bejesus out of electric vehicles. Beyoncé released a sublime, nostalgic disco record (possibly addending Roisin Murphy’s beautifully twisted disco fantasy records from 2020 and 2021, just saying) that properly credited disenfranchised folks. Kanye West, who went from billionaire to millionaire in a day, lost the hearts of his remaining fans with his bish, and Taylor Swift broke Ticketmaster.

Mess–y. However… in the Bay Area, we’re still pushing the nation’s pulse with retro-fantastic post-punk, lo-fi hip-hop, psychedelic R&B, sweeping dream-pop, footwork-hinged drum and bass, indie-pop, and redemptive gospel.

And that is what we at 48hills are here for: to celebrate those releases, along with some other titles worthy of proper shine.

ENJOY!

UFO!, “LEVEL UP” EP (PSYCHO BUMMER)

Edwin Garro, better known by his stage name UFO!, is a producer, DJ, artist, and musician who played a significant role in San Francisco becoming the nation’s drum and bass hub in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Many American ravers bought Garro’s early US-produced drum and bass records, such as 1999’s “Science Fact / Enemy Infiltration” EP. The four tracks on his latest EP “LEVEL UP” revisit and update those early stages with sincere love and expert arrangements.

Through jungle, footwork, juke, and those trademark pounding bass lines coupled with blindsiding chord progressions, Garro is off again making sublime techstep energy thats just waiting to crush a subwoofer.

MARIA BC, “HYALINE REMIXES” (FATHER/DAUGHTER RECORDS)

CON BRIO, “SEASONS”

SPACE MONTH, NO PAST NO FUTURE (WAX NINE RECORDS)

PASTOR CHAMPION, I JUST WANT TO BE A GOOD MAN (LUAKA BOP)

Put to tape in just two nights at the 37th Street Baptist Church in Oakland, Pastor Champion’s I Just Want to Be a Good Man proves when you let a gospel album sound stay true to the church setting in which it was recorded, you get a service.

Champion, unfortunately, died following a short illness in late December 2021. But his first and only album is a raw, honest, moving tribute to a traveling preacher, carpenter, and father of four who could take musicians who had never played together before and achieve a higher glory.

NON PLUS TEMPS, DESIRE CHOIR (POST PRESENT MEDIUM)

It’s not just the classic post-punk earmarks of dub textures and smudgy soundscapes that make Non Plus Temps’ debut release Desire Choir earworm material. This Oakland outfit steals—excuse me—repurposes from all the right people, then adds a layer of their own weirdness to the fetching bouillabaisse: viola and push-pull altitudes. What an initiation.

NEUTRALS, “BUS STOP NIGHTS”

AUTOMATIC, EXCESS

LOS BITCHOS, LET THE FESTIVITIES BEGIN!

JIMETTA ROSE, THE GIFT: AROUND THE WAY QUEEN (STREET CORNER MUSIC) and JIMETTA ROSE AND THE VOICES OF CREATION, HOW GOOD IT IS (DAY DREAMER)

Jimetta Rose, the Los Angeles vocalist who appropriately labels herself a queen, singer, writer, peacemaker, and occasional shit-talker in the name of all things holy, dropped two gems on us this year.

Rose does it all with Sarah Vaughan phrasing ease on the shelved, new-to-us, years-in-the-making album The Gift: Around The Way Queen. From poetry readings to some hot bars, it was the thing-thing for the summertime whip, loaded with relentless thump.

However, with Jimetta Rose and The Voices of Creation’s debut release How Good It Is, we get an album full of that rolling bluesy type of word of God presence that just bulldozes. It’s the gospel album Rose always had tucked up her sleeve. Produced by Mario Caldato Jr., dubbed “The Maestro” by the Beastie Boys, and his wife Samantha Caldato, “this new black classical music” was recorded within the walls of an East Pasadena church, according to Rose. It’s sound is purposefully scattered amongst all the hues: R&B, soul, and the undefined, over six songs that traverse through astral jazz and Sunday morning Word of God.

ANTELOPER, PINK DOLPHINS (INTERNATIONAL ANTHEM)

I remember exactly where I was when Paul Robeson died, when Cobain passed on, and when both Biggie and Pac expired. On the night Michel Jackson died, folks—both commuters and those unhoused—were dancing to “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” at the 16th Street Bart station.

It was a rare crime-free night.

But when news of jaimie branch’s untimely death broke this summer, it was a crushing blow for jazz heads, music fans, and anyone else who had followed her brief-but-meteoric career.

Passing at the young age of 39, the composer, trumpeter, multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, and vocalist went silent just as a mainstream following was coming to her jazz table. This Brooklyn-based creative was on the verge of something otherworldly.

Her final album came from Anteloper, a project that branch founded with drummer Jason Nazary, a longtime friend and collaborator she’s known since her teens. Pink Dolphins, their five-song journey into “psychedelic space music,” is a fuggin’ beast.

If you think the title implies some kind of hippy-dippy nonsense, think again. The Jeff Parker-produced spaceship (yep, that Jeff Parker) employs modular FX units, synthesizers, sequencers, delay/looper pedals, extra percussion, and Roland TR08 drum machines.

The album’s five tracks, all brimming with “I don’t give AF” type-risk, are drenched in new-school electronic drip and break down the barriers between instrumental modal ideas and punk rawk expression, aided by machines that go blink in the dark.

“Baby Bota Halloceanation,” a shouting-into-the-abyss bruiser where 21st century blues get heated, is a tone poem in which Nazary’s constant rhythm bombs and branch’s relentless screams are carried out across the great macrocosm. Sun Ra, Mouse on Mars, J Dilla, Moor Mother, Harriet Tubman, and Autechre are all wafting through the air. It’s a colossal revelation.

We lost a real one.

LORAINE JAMES, BUILDING SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL FOR ME (PHANTOM LIMB)

RROXYMORE, PERPETUAL NOW (SMALLTOWN SUPERSOUND)

VARIOUS ARTISTS, TOUCHING BASS PRESENTS: SOON COME (TOUCHING BASS)

TORO Y MOI, MAHAL (DEAD OCEANS)

Toro y Moi, our Bay-Area arbiter for many styles of chill, remained just that on his debut release for the expansive Dead Oceans imprint, already home to Khruangbin, Mitski, Japanese Breakfast, and Phoebe Bridgers. No one was surprised: each record by Chazwick Bradley Bundick, aka Chaz Bear, throughout his decade-long career, has sounded different, but has maintained that very NorCal laissez-faire.

Mahal, a five-years-in-the-making, guitar-based record, combined “genre of the day” hyper-pop with quasi-retro-sounding tunes, blending moody and groove-centric arrangements.

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.

Sponsored link

Top reads

The state of California is screwing San Francisco on housing

Thanks to Sen. Wiener and our own delegation, San Francisco may be in serious trouble in four years—and it won't be the city's fault.

Punk rock vegans, adult affairs, and Quantum Cowboys: 3 hot Indiefest tickets

Bruce LaBruce, Moby, David Arquette, and more talk to us about their latest bombshell flicks.

Landmarks board punts decision on the future of Castro Theater

After five hours of impassioned testimony, a decision that isn't a decision sends the issue to the Board of Supes.

More by this author

Best of the Bay 2022 Editors’ Pick: Great American Music Hall

Post-show takes swapped back and forth outside this O'Farrell Street lodestar are savagely San Franciscan.

Best of the Bay 2022 Editors’ Pick: Stanley Ipkuss

Of the infectious local DJ and musicmaker's energy, we can only say: "Some cats play records, while others be spinnin'."

Under the Stars: Strap yourself in for the C.I.A.

Plus: Broken beats return with New Sector Movements, and don't miss the Pharcyde reunion and Big Joanie live
Sponsored link

You might also likeRELATED