How ya doing, SF? Feeling good after that Dead and Company farewell poured 31 million into the local economy? We have capital-E-events coming up quick, so let’s keep it moving. Summer is hitting that good good spot.
It’s Under The Stars, babe. A quasi-weekly column that presents new music releases, upcoming shows, opinions, and a number of other adjacent items. We keep moving with the changes, thinking outside the margins. Stay hydrated, ’cause folks are acting real thirsty out here.
Let’s get it!
SWEATER FUNK 15 YEAR ANNIVERSARY FEATURING SPECIAL GUEST TIM ZAWADA AT THE KNOCKOUT, SAT/5
Sweater Funk, the iconic San Francisco night that celebrates boogie, two-step, and modern funk—strictly on vinyl, mind you—is becoming even more legendary. For over 15 years, the collective has made this city a destination for record diggers and those in search of that elusive dance party where, depending on the night, three or 17 DJs will show up with record bags and blow your mind. I’ll keep my words brief. I talk about this crew a lot because, in some respects, they are like an extended family. They are really nice people with that authenticity lacking in the world right now. You can hear how much this crew loves the music they play in their DJ sets. That’s all you want from a DJ night.
Listen to what this crew has to say about their baby. Tickets will be available at the door, more info here.
It’s been a trip. The “modern funk” scene as we know it was non existent when we started, labels had yet to launch, crews were just forming, the newer funk productions were only just beginning to be called modern funk, and that was only if you happened to be Dam-Funk as he’s the man who coined the term! We kept getting booked to play the “disco room” or other side room BS. Older DJs were like “why do you call it boogie, it’s just disco”. Folks didn’t get it…yet.
Now we have Modern Funk labels and artists all over the world we’ve worked with. Star Creature is one of these labels and has been one of the most influential and productive over the past decade, thanks to label boss, A & R man, DJ and funk visionary, TIm Zawada. Born out of his parties with Chicago’s legendary Boogie Munsters crew and his habit of mining Sound Cloud for new funk productions, Star Creature quickly grew to be a reliable source for modern funk from around the world, releasing these new tunes on wax and most of them on 7.″
Some of the artists TIm signed have been Shiro Schwarz (Mexico), Saucy Lady (Boston), E Live (Oakland), Birdbone Unlimited (Brian Ellis from L.A. and Tim Tucker from Sacramento), First Touch (Germany), Ourra (UK), Mogwaa (South Korea), Diamond Ortiz (San Francisco), Lucid Paradise (E Da Boss & Ishtar) and many more. He’s earned a reputation for being able to sniff out the funkiest jams around so it was an easy choice to have him join us as our guest DJ on our 15 year anniversary. Plus he’s just a really nice guy to kick it with.
The Sweater Funk crew will continue to hold it down with the deepest boogie, modern soul and 2 step soul in the bay, all on wax, all night long!
Thank you to all the dancers, we could not do this without YOU. Much love and respect.
Thank you to the Knockout for letting us do what we do!
Plus, an extra added bonus…We will have slipmats for sale, $20 each, cash or venmo.
THE 45 SESSIONS AT VICTORY HALL, FRI/4
Joseph “Diamond D” Kirkland, a native of the South Bronx, won a Grammy for his production on the title track from The Fugees’ album The Score. He has produced music for notable hip-hop artists such as Brand Nubian, Busta Rhymes, Cypress Hill, and many others.
As an artist, producer, and emcee, he is one of the few, very few, who captured the essence of a generation with his debut album. Stunts, Blunts & Hip-Hop, an enduring classic and a reminder of the Golden Age of hip hop, features a who’s-who of early ’90s artists who were in close proximity of Diamond D. In a 2017 interview, Kirkland expressed that the project was, “just a collection of beats and records I was setting aside. It was more about ‘One day I want to do something with this’ ideas.” Those designs became hip hop DNA.
As the country celebrates 50 years of hip hop this summer, it is only fitting for 45 Sessions to have Diamond D perform. In addition to his landmark records, awards, emceeing, and production techniques, he is also one of the best at mixing seven-inch records.
It’s gonna be a beautiful night. Pick up tickets here.
KIDS ON A CRIME SPREE, ARTSICK, GEORGE CHILDREN, FUNNY CAR AT THE GOLDEN BULL, SAT/5
It was just over a year ago that Oakland Weekender, the three-night event from Slumberland Records, took over The Golden Bull in Oakland. The event, largely comprised of SF/Oakland bands and some from New York and Northern Massachusetts, made a worthy and ethical racket. This showcase of sorts for a scene that’s maturing rather beautifully, was the last time we caught up with Kids On A Crime Spree (make sure to be real careful how you Google that order of words) and Artsick. Both bands will be performing at The Golden Bull this August, with George Children and Funny Car in support, and promises to be another night of great local music.
More info here.
BANDCAMP PICKS FOR FRI/4
THE OSCILLATORS, S/T (TRAMP RECORDS)
I was DJing a couple of weeks ago for all the new, shiny, happy people who have overtaken our fair city. They move to and fro in automated cars, entertaining themselves by watching the Paramount+ app while at a bar, while a certain DJ is mixing live and direct in the moment.
I was having a blast. Mixing it up. Keeping it eclectic, but still banging.
But I was curious to know what exactly could shake these new replicants out of their digital, “I want it all out of my phone right now,” multiple screens world. Then I found my Meters records. You know that band? They’re probably the funkiest outfit next to Parliament Funkadelic by way of 1960s and ’70s technology, and can still knock folks upside their head in this Twitter got-beat-down-by-Tik-Tok age. It was their cover of Sly and The Family Stone’s “Sing a Simple Song” that made groups of politely chatting folks snap their necks instinctually, groups of girlfriends stop spilling the tea, stand up, and shake that thang. Bartenders cracked a quick grin while performing their 17-ingredient-mixology-Ted-Talk of a drink.
I would be foolish to say that Seattle funk band The Oscillators, an experimental recording collaboration, sounds exactly like The Meters. However, I can confirm that they have a similar aesthetic.
Led by drummer Olli Klomp, the band includes members from The Polyrhythmics, Rippin’ Chicken, The Pulsations, Lucky Brown, The Trueloves, 45th Street Brass, The S.G.’s, and more.
Don’t be fooled by these tech-savvy individuals who believe that everything must meet Spotify’s standards in order to be successful.
This is incorrect! Erroneous!
The opening track of the group’s self-titled album, “Track Suit,” is a drum-heavy, guitar-picking, shuffling burner that has all the low-fi complexity that makes you want to sink your bare feet into a plush rug while sipping a Slurpee.
It’s safe to say that The Oscillators restore faith in the analog mystique, where the drums thump harder than a Shawn Kemp power dunk.
Check them out here.
DJ SAID & CEE ELASSAAD FEAT. DELE SOSIMI, “GREAT WISE CHEF” (FATSOULS RECORDS)
Great Wise Chief is a follow-up to the digital single that pays homage to Fela Kuti called “Fela Is Everything” and features Dele Sosimi, a London-based Afrobeat maestro who was part of Fela Kuti’s sound and movement. Sosimi contributes spoken word vocal salutations with modern Afro house beats rolling underneath. Producer Trinidadian Deep also provides an Afro-Caribbean remix. It’s another beautiful Afro house project from DJ Said, founder of Fatsouls Records, and the legendary Moroccan Cee ElAssaad, whose collaborative talents once again prove superior.