Long lines, drug deals, loud garages, zesty meals
Garage goes living room:
Over the past 12 months, the proverbial school of NorCal garage rock has reached its apex. Ty Segall, who wowed Midtown a couple of weeks back at his local winter-tour warm-up show, turned heads this past June as well with the release of Melted, a full-band effort that launched previously solo Segall from the lurch of his own lo-fi malaise and full on into a world of Beatles and West Coast rock-inspired fuzz, complete with “Lady Madonna”-inspired bass line on one of the album’s poppier tracks, “Caesar,” and the supercatchy, John Lennon incarnate “Girlfriend.”
Segall’s live set also has emerged from lo-fi shadows: It’s now upbeat, conducive to more than just head bobbing, and he has more or less abandoned the dark, groggy bore that occasionally brought down his solo performances. Plus, at his show in January, Segall reaffirmed my hunch that El Castillito is home to San Francisco’s best burritos and tacos.
And this past week, another San Francisco duo, Sic Alps, reached garage-rock zenith with its very fun, 22-song (most of them übershort ditties) release, Napa Asylum. The album’s first track, “Cement Surfboard,” best encapsulates this NorCal lo-fi sound, both with the song’s title—great metaphor—and also its pop-friendly but grungy vibe. Sic Alps has really embraced pop songwriting after previously ponderous, less-accessible releases, such as the worth-tracking-down Pleasures and Treasures.
So what does this mean for garage rock? Is it mainstream enough to, say, enter the living room? Or is this the end? Simply put, who gives a damn: The tunes are so darn good. (Nick Miller)
I can be your cameo:
The best scene from C Plus’ new video “Stay Up,” off his recent EP All on Me, is shots of him, DJ Oasis, A.V. and Chase Moore chilling on a front porch. Other cameos include Capitol Garage and what appears to be somewhere along the American River Parkway. I’m a sucker for local cameos.
And yet no one ever asks me to appear in their rap videos. Anyway, the video itself, directed by Bosse Media, is solid and, released a couple weeks back, is just one in a fleet of local hip-hop videos lately.
For instance, Jae Synth’s video for Bueno’s “Fuck Goin’ Broke” dropped a couple weeks ago as well. This vid tells the story of a drug dealer, Bueno, who’s traveling from Sac to Los Angeles for a drop. But, while the bit has good production value, there is but one fatal flaw: You never see the money or the drugs! I mean, doesn’t that kind of have to happen to pull off a realistic hustle? Or maybe I’m just jealous that no one invited me to the shoot.
Lines all the way to Zelda’s:
This past week’s second incarnation of the Sacramento Electronic Music Festival reaffirmed yet again that locals will turn out en masse for beats. At one point last Thursday night, the opening soiree of the three-day festival in Midtown, the TownHouse Lounge had reached capacity—and yet a line of dozens snaked north on 21st Street, nearly a third of the way to Zelda’s Gourmet Pizza.
Nice turnout. And some good performances to speak of. Placerville one-man-act Pregnant’s new set—very pop-heavy—was the highlight of Thursday. And that’s including Daedelus (who went on late, late, late).
Also intriguing was Bonjay, who a friend likened to a poor man’s MIA, what with the duo’s aggressive beats and dancehall vibe. I’m not sure that’s a fair pigeonhole, but beat maker Ian Swain and the in-constant-motion Alanna Stuart do pack a familiar, albeit mighty, punch.
Next year, I look forward to even more out-of-town headliners at SEMF—and a larger venue. Up that ante!