With one month to go before the launch of WFMU's Free Music Archive, we'd like to offer a preview of some of the sounds that we'll be hosting from that progressive hub of foggy creativity known as the San Francisco Bay Area. This post is part of a series of Free Music Archive regional previews that has so far hit Portland OR, Los Angeles CA, Chicago IL, Providence RI, Philadelphia PA, and Columbus OH.
Now we head to the Bay Area in honor of Billy Jam/Put The Needle On The Record's second remote broadcast from Oakland CA, which is going live at 3pm east coast/12pm pacific on these here airwaves. We'd also like to shout out Creative Commons, the San Francisco based non-profit that adapts intellectual property law to fit the digital era. Creative Commons licenses help make the Free Music Archive possible, as they do for the SF-based archive.org and Creative Commons' own ccMixter.
Read on to find mp3s from some of the many Bay Area artists who'll be sharing some of their work via the Free Music Archive: Chief Boima, Citay, Cryptacize, Death Sentence: Panda!, Thomas Dimuzio, Gigante Sound, Hank IV, Kowloon Walled City, Negativland, Nodzzz, Oaxacan, Thee Oh Sees, Bob Ostertag, The Pets, Sic Alps, Sir Lord Von Raven, Kelley Stoltz, T.I.T.S., Wildildlife, Wooden Shjips, Xiu Xiu, AND MORE!!!
Bringing out some of the best in the multinational/transcontinental dj conversation vein, Chief Boima has electrified the e-waves recently with several mixtapes featuring his patent mix of African coupe-decale, highlife, and relentless up-to-date-ness in the dj mix format. He's currently riding a dj residency at Little Baobab in the Mission/Hill district as well as promoting his own monthly party: The Highlife. Also, he produces tracks under the collective moniker Banana Clipz with Oro 11, Zurita, and Brooklyn's Uproot Andy. To top it off, he plays cello in the instrumental Beaten By Them, whose newest record is available from Thrill Jockey. Catch him writing at Sherbro Son as well as Ghetto Bassquake.
Banana Clipz - Push Am Left Right (mp3) | Chief y Chango - Panty Wanty (mp3) | Chief Boima - Cello Duet No. 1 (mp3) | Chief Boima - Techno Rumba (mp3) | Chief Boima - Decale House.mp3 (mp3)
Death Sentence: Panda!
Paul Costuros, Chris Dixon, and Kim West make up this animalistic noh wave group. DS:P! incorporates drums, saxophones, clarinet, flute, and vocals, into their free-jazz skronk rawk assault. They played live on Bill Zurat's show in 2006 (video here). The trio's Weasel-Walter produced debut EP, Puppy, Kitty, or Both, was also the first label release from topnotch UK booking collective Upset! The Rhythm. UTR have since released a bunch of music, including DS:P's newest album and stuff from one of Kim West's other groups (see T.I.T.S. below)
Death Sentence: Panda! - Exit Villager (mp3) from Insects Awaken (2008 Upset the Rhythm)
Death Sentence: Panda! - A+ Cannibal (mp3) and A Time To Bear Arms (mp3) from Puppy, Kitty or Both (2005 Upset the Rhythm)
Electronic/noise musician Thomas Dimuzio has been active since the late 80s. As an engineer for his own Gench Studios, Dimuzio has helped produce recordings by the likes of Isis, Negativland, and People Like Us. And his penchant for live sampling makes him a favorite collaborator for artists ranging from Chris Cutler to Matmos to Wobby. He is a well-respected musician in his own right, and has posted many audio samples on his mp3 page and concert archives. In 2002, he released a double CD of live performances -- half solo and half collaborative -- aptly titled Mono :: Poly (Gench/Asphodel). The entire release is available from his website, and here are a few samples: Shorn (mp3) | Mince Treat (mp3) | Lode w/ Zipperspy (mp3) | Toadjam w/ DJ Qbert (mp3)
DJs of Mass Destruction
This is wfmu DJ Billy Jam's Bay Area-based DJ crew, featuring Dawgisht and The Embedded DJ Pone. In 2003, Billy produced a non-profit compilation to benefit several Pro-PEACE organizations in opposition to the Iraq war. And now that this war is officially over (source), we'd like to share a few tracks with you.
DJs of Mas Destruction - 2. WAR (mp3), 10. Liberate the Children (live) (mp3), 14. Weapons? What Weapons of Mass Destruction? (mp3), and 23. War Is What They Got/Epilogue (mp3) - from the album WAR (If It Feels Good, Do It) released on Hip Hop Slam in 2003. The comp also features Steinski, Fakts One, and Azeem (who will be one of many guests on Billy Jam's Put The Needle On the Record remote broadcast from Oakland this afternoon -- don't firget to tune in!) And check out the archive of their 2007 performance live on KFJC.
1. Kowloon Walled City - Turk, Taylor, and Jones (mp3) | 2. Kowloon Walled City - My Hands Are Turning To Bricks (mp3) | 3. Kowloon Walled City - Another Corporate Takeover (mp3) | 4. Kowloon Walled City - Inheritance (mp3) | 5. Kowloon Walled City - Make Us Pay (mp3)
It's missing the point to say that Negativland helped pioneer what John Oswald later coined "plunderphonics". Mark Hosler, one of the group's founding members, is the first to say that "Copying has gone on in art and music throughout the ages". Copyright reformers Digital Freedom recently brought him to DC to lobby that point before congress, and you can read the whole transcript here.
Negativland has been around since the late 70s, and the collective continues to produce an array of entertaining, thought-provoking artistic works. The elusive Weatherman maintains a fascinating webpage of field recordings, home videos, and baby room monitors here. Don Joyce has been doing his radio show, Over The Edge, on Berkeley's Pacifica station KPFA since 1981, and encourages you to call in some time to join the mix. Following the group's legal battles in the early 90s, the group has been active in copyright reform especially in regards to fair use, helping Creative Commons develop its Sampling license. They've adeptly transformed their legal troubles into more artwork. The "Gimme The Mermaid" video (below) is a reaction to lawsuits from the U2/SST fiasco, with samples from all parties. Also check out Hosler's account of its creation from his talk at the New School that Liz posted on this blog a couple years ago.
Some recent Negativland highlights:
Negativland - Downloading (mp3) from the album No Business (2006 Seeland) -- comes with a 56-page essay about the cultural public domain
Negativland - Richard Nixon Died Today (mp3) from the album Thigmotactic (2008 Seeland) -- New album with Mark Hosler at the helm of the group, with contributions from Thomas Dimuzio. The disc comes with 36-pages of artwork and lyrics for each of the 17 tracks.
Negativland's video for Gimme The Mermaid, a collaboration with Disney employee at-the-time Tim Maloney, from the DVD Our Favorite Things (2007 Seeland)
Super catchy sing-along slop-punk from south of San Francisco with a new 12'' on the way NEXT WEEK from the consistently awesome What's Yr Rupture label. Their first 7'' is sold out but here's a cruddy mp3: I Don't Wanna (Smoke Marijuana) (mp3) and here are two tracks from the forthcoming WYR 12'': Nodzzz - Is She There (mp3) Nodzzz - In The City (Contact High) (mp3)
Consisting of Oakland enthusiasts Amy Friebertshauser (Vocals, electronics, percussion) Mike Guarino (Drums, percussion, electronics, string instruments) and Derek Monypeny on guitar, Oaxacan make sparse, percussive space music with a few rock instruments with a healthy portioning of free-ittude. One of their free-bangers was recently included on Last Visible Dog's Crows of the World Vol. 1;a veritable who's who of the current drone/psych/cassette/cdr underground.
Oaxacan - Are (mp3) | Oaxacan - The Rainbow Has a Beard (mp3) | Oaxacan - The Ground is Firm and So is My Palm (mp3) | Oaxacan - Tokyo Lzrs (mp3) | Oaxacan - Immolation excerpt (mp3)
Thee Oh Sees
John Dwyer's wildly meandering but consistently awesome musical output can be traced back to Providence, RI, where he played short bursts of spastic noise-rock as one half of Pink & Brown. The the late 90s, Dwyer moved out to San Francisco and founded noisey garage rock outfit the Coachwhips (and also did some time in The Hospitals). Next came OCS, which started out as some sort of back-porch acoustic vs. noise project with assorted collaborators, but has blossomed into one of the greatest bands around. Thee Oh Sees (if that is their real name) are John Dwyer joined by Brigid Dawson, Petey Dammit, and Mike Shoun.
In between high profile releases on Narnack and Tomlab, Thee Oh Sees
released some lower-profile but still excellent releases, like the Peanut Butter Oven 12'' EP. It's not entirely clear what happened to the 300 or so physical copies of this 12''. It was released on Chris Johanson's Awesome Vistas label (the same label that originally released Sic Alps' Description of the Harbor).
I think it's officially sold-out, but you can try asking Thee band at
one of their shows. In the meantime, taste this digital peanut butter
(warning, it's a bit Skippy...we're workin to fix that)
1. Kingsmeat (mp3) | 2. The Freak Was Clean (mp3) | 3. Quadrospazzed (mp3) | 4. Kids In Cars (mp3)
Pioneering avant-garde sampling artist who came up in the same downtown NYC improv community as John Zorn and Fred Frith. Two years ago, Ostertag made his entire discography available for free download under Creative Commons two years ago at bobostertag.com, and wrote an essay explaining himself which you can read here. Ostertag explains that "my principal interest is not in music distribution per se, but in the free exchange of information and ideas". This would seem to fit his approach to art and life; Ostertag is a well-regarded author and political activist, and in the mid 80s, Ostertag took a break from music to focus on the political crisis in Central America. He returned to composition in 1991 with Sooner or Later, which is built around a sample of a young El Salvadorian boy burrying his father. His most recent work, w00t, is an incredible 50-minute expedition composed entirely from fragments of computer game music.
Bob Ostertag - Sooner or Later part 1 (mp3) | Sooner or Later part 2 (mp3) from Sooner or Later (1991RecRec Music, Re-issued on MVORL/Seeland in limited edition in 2001. [Seeland 514])
Bob Ostertag - w00t (mp3) (bobostertag.com 2007)
When this Oakland 3-piece stopped by for a live set on the Evan "Funk" Davies show earlier this year, Evan called them "super-catchy punky power pop chock full of hooks. These guys manage to sound like they should have been on the Bomp! label in 1977 without sounding dated, so if you're a fan of punk-edged pop gems from bands ranging from the Jam to the Time Flys you'll want to check this set out. (Plus they've got a former member of the late great FM Knives!)". The group followed a series of 7''s with a full-length LP, Misdirection, on the Static Impulse label.
The Pets - Live on the Evan "Funk" Davies show 6/24/2008, Engineered 6/7/2008 by Stu Rutherford: 1. I Want Fun (mp3) | 2. A Lotta Things (mp3) | 3. Can't Keep Myself Straight (mp3) | 4. Blame It On The Kids (mp3) | 5. Misdirection (mp3) | 6. Paper Plane (mp3) | 7. Only One (mp3)
Matt Hartman and Mike Donovan seem to be carrying the SF noise pop flag these days. Sic Alps coat classic tunes in a layer of dust, playing stripped-down slop rock with no pretense or sugar coating echoing out of a distinctly resonant cave. And they maintain their sound wherever they go, because they seem to believe that Do It Yourself means you have to lug your own P.A. to the show and run all audio through your own equipment. Where did they get this idea from? Maybe locals the Hospitals, or the late great Coachwhips?
Sic Alps - Live at WFMU on Brian Turner's show Nov. 6, 2007, engineered 10/24/2007 by Glenn Luttman
1. Gruxxe Bathe Ballade (mp3) | 2. Brill Building (mp3) | 3. Mater (mp3) | 4. CO-CA (mp3) | 5. A Story Over There (mp3) | 6. Latin (mp3) | 7. Stories (mp3) | 8. Everywhere There (mp3) | 9. Semi-Streets (mp3) | 10. I Know Where the Madness Goes (mp3)
Some of these recordings can be found on an awesome limited cassette called Fools Mag (Folding Cassettes, March 2008). More sic music and info here.
Sir Lord Von Raven
Sir Lord Von Raven is an Oakland super-group led by Sir Eric Von Ravenson of local garage-punk group the Time Flys (hear them live on Terre T's show in 2006 with The Cuts). Lead guitarist Greg Ashley is also the group's producer, and the "psychedelic guru" who brings a whole 'nother dimension to Von Raven's power-pop and trash-punk tunes. Ashley moved to Oakland from Houston in the early 00's, where he released an excellent solo album on Birdman Records and started a short-lived but killer group Gris Gris (Birdman also released a disc by his old band Mirrors). The group's rounded out by drummer Jay Bronzini (who has been involved with the Cuts and Time Flys) and Josh Miller on bass. We're psyched to debut two kick-ass jams from their forthcoming release on HappyParts Recordings:
Sir Lord Von Raven - The Glass Castle (mp3) | Take It Or Leave It (mp3) from the upcoming album- "Please Throw Me Back In The Ocean". The LP/CD will be out in spring 2009, so mark your calendars.
In 2009, the Concord-based HappyParts will also be releasing the Greg Ashley-produced album by four teenage punks from Berkeley High known as The Impediments: The Impediments - 2012 (mp3) from their forthcoming album on HappyParts Recordings.
T.I.T.S. are four women who make satanic ritual-abuse rock, perform in gowns, and feature associations with Crack: WAR, Death Sentence: Panda!, Verbalala, Death & Dying, MeowMeow and the MeowMeows, Towel, Condor, and Amber Asylum. You can keep up with them via the world's greatest url: http://www.titsacrossamerica.com. Here are two tracks from their double LP put out by Upset! the Rhythm: Strong Arms (mp3) | Math (mp3)
Incapable of receiving a write-up without mention of the melting/frying of skulls, faces, ears, eyes, nose or throat, San Fran/Seattle's Wildildlife blow out neverending, heavy psychedelic rifferage and cosmic rave melodies that culminate in a sound that brings to mind that one time Tony Iommi set himself on fire in the middle of the woods because he was tripping balls from too much In-n-Out Burger. They came through Brian Turner's show this past August and played a number of selections from their "Six" released by Crucial Blast (who also released the live session on their Crucial Bliss imprint).
Live at WFMU on Brian Turner's show April 8, 2008, engineered by Scott Williams
1. Metal (mp3) | 2. Grinder (mp3) | 3. Kross (mp3) | 4. Violent (mp3) | 5. Shining (mp3) | 6. Latace (mp3)
The Oakland independent-rock trio threw their load on the Creative Commons trolley this year with the instrumental "Untitled: Will You Please Sing on This," where fans were encouraged to download the song and share it with their own overdubbed vocal stylings of cathartic, morose subject matter. The result has been a smokingly interesting (and surprisingly British?) exercise in the far reaches of teenage bedroom recording and amateur flange use. Many more versions available at CASH Music.org. Blast these on some laptop speakers. Jamie Stewart & co. will be stopping by Liz B's show later this year
Xiu Xiu - Sing on this (original) (mp3) | Xiu_Xiu - Unpop: I am writing to let you know that things are going ok (mp3) | Xiu Xiu - Lyxes: Leave this town (mp3)
LINKS TO MORE BAY AREA MUSIC WE'VE POSTED RECENTLY
*Hank IV: live at WFMU's 2008 SXSW Showcase and playing live on Brian Turner's show Tuesday 11/18!
*Wooden Shjips: live at ATP (mp3s)
*Citay: live on Liz B's show (video), On The Wings (mp3) from WFMU's Free Music Archive sampler vol.1
*Sub Pop recording artist Kelley Stolz
*Cryptacize (Chris Cohen ex-Deerhoof, with Nedelle of Kill Rock Stars fame) live on Liz B's show earlier this year
*the fantastic audio collages coming from the Gigante Sound and Snurp labels (Qulfus/Borful Tang, Blanketship/Beaks Plinth Kai Kohola Leo, [Sunshine] Militant Childrens Hour etc)
*live set from Triclops
*Flying Luttenbacher Weasel Walter moved to Oakland in 2003, where he plays in Burmese, among other projects. Rare Vodka From The Fourteenth Century (mp3), a track from his recent album with Mary Halvorson can be found on WFMU's Free Music Archive sampler vol.2
*Steven R Smith of the Bay Area-born Jewelled Antler Collective live on Daniel Blumin's show last month (Daniel's posting mp3s of the home-recorded session, plus an exclusive interview, on Monday on this here blog!)
MORE FUN BAY AREA THINGS TO CHECK OUT
Noisy People (2007) Documentary by Tim Perkins about improv musicians, mostly San Franciscans
Ghost Ride The Whip (2008) Documentary about the Hyphy Movement featuring E-40, Mac Drew, MC Hammer and more
Aquarius Records -- for those of us who can't stop by to browse in-person, they post their informative reviews and audio samples available worldwide on the internet
LET'S NOT FORGET ALL THE GOOD RADIO
-KALX (UC Berkeley) :: KUSF (Univeristy of SF student-community station) :: 89.7-FM one of several stations carrying the bay area pirate radio torch! :: KFJC (Foothills College) -- was WFMU for a day and vice versa :: KPFA -Pacifica's flagship station, home to the aforementioned Over The Edge program and much much more :: KDVS if you want to head up towards Sacto/Davis, be sure to check out DJ Rick's shit-fi archives while you're there :: KOIT
Thanks to all the artists and labels who let us share these fine
sounds with you. And thanks to Dylan Going for helping research,
compile and write this blog post.
Please add your suggestions in the comments, and get in touch to help us grow the Free Music Archive!