Tia Nomore

 
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Coming up in cypher circles and freestyle battle arenas, Tia Nomore forced her entry into hip-hop’s boys club. The 22-year-old’s claim as Oakland rap’s little sister started as a teenager when she would jump into her older brother’s rap circles and ditch class to record G-funk-inspired hyphy music. Tia’s fiery wits, lyrical dismantling and command for respect earned her studio time with HBK Gang’s Show Banga, Iamsu! and Too $hort producer Exclusive, and that combo of qualities has been the bedrock throughout her continuous transformation into a fully-realized artist. - Taken from Rocket Radio premiere of “Tokidoki Lenses”

 

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Rocket Radio

“Tokidoki Lenses” is a preview of Tia’s drift into a refreshed take on hyphy, with producer credits to the label’s founder Patrick Brown and rostermate Will Butler. The tandem bakes in a nostalgic 90s R&B vibe as the track alternates through beat iterations; Tia doesn’t flinch, seamlessly adjusting her flow even when she hits the chorus, spoken in Japanese. Loosely translated to, “keepin’ it one-hundred, I don’t play games”.


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Berel

 
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“Music helps me live in the moment. That’s the best high. It’s the best effect music can have on us” the R&B crooner, Berel, explains. Berel Alexander is a songwriter & vocalist based in the Bay Area that provides a nostalgic take on the R&B/soul genre. On the first listen, in a creamy falsetto and rich tone, BEREL entices listeners into a sound that can only be described as a gracious romance, a cooled-out version of soul, brimming with energy.  The San Francisco-based R&B singer/songwriter is turning water into waves and gathering believers along the way.

By fusing old-school R&B with soulful singing, BEREL stands in elite company with the likes of JMSN, Xavier Omär, and Tom

Misch by complimenting the sound with his own musical depth. BEREL states “Swimming in sounds, I stumbled head over heels into a surreal moment of musical bliss, trying not to take myself too seriously.” With the support of a fiery group of producers, instrumentalists, and songwriters from the Los Angeles music scene, BEREL has crafted an incomparable blend of R&B, soul, jazz, and a touch of indie folk.

BEREL pours his heart, soul, and life experiences into his music through relatable stories - a seamless weave with nostalgic

60’s and 70’s tones. Being firmly influenced by the icons of jazz and soul from the past, he continuously expands his perspective by always keeping his ears open to today’s diverse genres and styles. The resulting sound that occurs is a smooth, tasteful, enriching sound, with musical depth reminiscent of Bill Withers, Live at Carnegie Hall. The self-described “modern renaissance-man with an affinity for fashions in music of the past" has now teamed up with the Bay Area's indie savior label Text Me Records, giving him the support to catapult this undeniable talent to the top.

 

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Elwood Mercy

 
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Elwood Mercy is a new band fronted by Alton San Giovanni, who’s former project Niteppl became a staple of the San Francisco music scene during the early-mid 20-teens.  Alton, now a touring member of Ryan Karazija’s Low Roar and coming out of a 2017 in which he had the opportunity to tour much of North America and Europe, has truly come of age musically.  Combing insightful, biting songwriting with deceptively simple pop arrangements, and just a hint of film-score sensibilities, Elwood Mercy is Alton’s attempt to broaden himself as an artist and find his place in this strange new world.  While Alton’s music as Niteppl focused largely on exploring post-EDM, and was compared to the bombast of artists such as M83, MGMT, and Justice, Elwood Mercy see’s San

Giovanni stripping his sound and sensibilities down to the bone, and creating something that is completely his own.

3 <3 Songs, Elwood Mercy’s first EP, is a short sampler of things to come.  The opening track Bug Song throws the listener almost immediately into a world of blasting percussion and searing lyrical content.  The song explodes with elements of 70’s rock, with blistering layered guitar, tambourine, and a mid-song breakdown reminiscent of 60’s psychedelia stars Tame Impala.

Raaags continues the three track EP with a feeling of longing and a sense of not just an unrequited love, but a life left unlived.  This feeling mixed with Alton’s distinctive production style and arrangement oozes with images of

driving across California freeways with no destination in mind.

The final track Crushed Velvet Ultra Lovers (Pt. I) sees a calmer, most narrative driven piece.  The titular Crushed Velvet Ultra Lovers are a couple that are being torn apart by an outside force, known in the song as the Black Hole Super Soldier.  This song again bleeds 60’s and 70’s rock worship, and finishes the EP with Alton’s pleas to feel “braaaaaaaannnnnd neeeeeewww”.

With his first EP 3 <3 Songs, Alton San Giovanni’s Elwood Mercy seeks to position itself as a new voice in the indie-rock, singer-songwriter genre.  San Giovanni’s distinct singing style and efficiency at lean, mean songwriting cements Elwood Mercy as a band to watch.

 

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Comeherefloyd

"Elwood Mercy's Single 'Bug Song' Brings You To That Place. Then Keeps You Hooked With 3 Song EP.. ‘3 <3 Songs' is the buffet sampler of things that are being constructed in Alton's diabolic musical mind. You fall in love with this single 'Bug Song'. Then you are confused about 'that love' in 'Crushed Velvet Ultra Lovers' and 'Raags'. It's a trip around the world of and about love, in three effective songs." - Comeherefloyd

Hi54

Get to know Elwood Mercy in his Q&A with Hi54


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Ex-poets

 
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Comprised of multi-instrumentalists Jordan Brooks and Colin Killalea (who takes the lead on vocals), Ex-poets’ create introspective music for twilight times, headphone music for strolling city streets, or just leaning back and taking one last drag. Sonically they slide neatly between Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Nick Hakim, and like all the greatest music, Ex-poets’ songs allow for interpretation. For Jordan “Still Waiting”—with its thrumming bass line, sinuous synths, and a graceful topline that bears the fingerprints of Jeff Buckley at his most spare—the song explores present-day paralysis. For Colin it’s “a tribute to love and wanting to be alone with that person and the elements.” Jordan and Colin met over a

decade ago, two music nerds (from Illinois and Virginia, respectively) drawn to New York City to study music at The New School. They wound up in a jazz session together, Jordan on upright bass and Colin on sax, and quickly bonded. Their tastes are similarly eclectic and voracious: Wayne Shorter and Sun Ra and João Gilberto; the Books, Can, John Lennon and J Dilla (whose influence can be heard on album opener “Our Homes” where piano chords kick off an off-kilter dance with dusty beats until the grooves coalesce to a create a soothing swoon of a song).

 

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Noisey

Here's the bare bones of it: This song is magic—dusky, measured, sexy; familiar yet fresh, languorous, and possessing an intimacy and poise that bodes well for duo who have come clean out of nowhere. Kinda. Ex-poets are made up of vocalist Colin Killalea and Jordan Brooks. Both are ridiculously dextrous multi-instrumentalists (Brooks calls Killalea something of a "studio freak"), but in recent years, you may have caught them as the guitarist and bassist (respectively) providing the sauce for Albert Hammond Jr.'s band.

Grimy Goods

An odyssey into the sublime, Los Angeles-based duo Ex-Poets’ upcoming album Too Much Future finds serenity in the warm-dreaminess of its soundscapes. In the ensuing twilight that Jordan Brooks and Colin Killalea (both members of Albert Hammond Jr. of The Strokes solo project) have so quietly manifested a severe introspection runs deep throughout, one that seems to question more than it answers. But it’s in their unhinging pursuit of the abstract that Ex-Poets excels, conjuring up the purest moments of loneliness, regret, and unmitigated love.

Buzz Bands LA

Ex-poets’ “Tracks” is one of those songs that could soundtrack a daydream. It’s effervescent, dreamy and floating, featuring pleasant waves of synths and soft vocals over a simple but present drum beat, reminiscent of early Washed Out.

Comeherefloyd

Jordan Brooks and Colin Killalea are the EX-POETS, and with songs like ‘Still Waiting’, they drench you with the molasses like sugar, crystalized in powered hesitations in love and affection – keeping you alive, sane.

Taking the slow ride through the jungles of love, isn’t easy. He was at the front of the small dingy, and the fog was too thick, sometimes, to navigate. It was a dangerous situation where the crew could have flipped overboard, and just die.

PopMatters

"Still Waiting" is a song that keeps things relatively simple. Anchored by the steady thrum of a cruising bassline that strides through the song like the coolest cat swaggering through the neighbourhood. It's the kind of animated opening that perfectly suits steady rolling down long avenues whether by car or on foot. Coupled with lithe synths that snake their way around Colin Killalea's purposely elliptical lyrics, the pair establish a smooth, summery groove albeit one with an underlying sense of longing. It's a song that succeeds in leaving a lasting emotional impression, something that the pair were keen to establish.

Meaww

'Too Much Future' might come across as an easy-listening album, what with its laid-back tempo and moody, contemplative melodies, but half-way through the off-kilter jazz influenced opening track 'Our Homes', it's instantly clear that there's something much deeper at play here.

Earmilk

The track was "written after a fever dream while things were coming into clarity about a past relationship," according to Killalea, and intentionally shares a name with Louise Erdrich's novel Tracks. He called it an "elemental song" that is "mourning a loss, and set in nature." Influenced by Sade's album Lover's Rock, the resulting song is rich in texture and saturated with the sounds of heartbreak. The sonic intensity grows with each second, culminating in a climactic realization followed by a sudden yet necessary release. 

IndieMinded

“‘Tracks’ is a love song sharing a namesake with Lousie Erdrich’s Tracks, written after a fever dream while things were coming into clarity about a past relationship. “I’d fall into the ice only to break your heart.” Could never do enough, at least the way I saw it… It’s an elemental song, mourning a loss, and set in nature.


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SAM JOHNSON

 
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Sam Johnson’s love for music goes back to his adolescent years, when he learned Bob Marley and Sublime songs on hand me down instruments, and started a reggae band at his high school in Huntington Beach, California. This early influence inspired him to create his laid-back, soulful blend of pop, rock, and reggae styles that he describes as “quintessential California music”. 

But he says his music career really started 8 years ago in San Francisco, where he street performed 5 days a week in the hectic, carnival-like atmosphere of Fisherman’s Wharf. Dodging seagulls and competing with the other street performers for the tourists’ attention, Sam’s chops developed at an accelerated rate. “The first day I played in the wharf, I made $60. I knew one day I would make $600!” In this way Sam supported himself full-time for more than 2 years - one CD at a time, one dollar at a time. He says “it was like touring the world from a street corner.” 

Many of the successes and relationships Sam has had since then are directly related to his time spent busking. During his street performing years, he made thousands of fans from all around the world who support him to this day. So much, in fact, that his fans fully funded his third EP “The City” through Kickstarter, backing the project with nearly $10,000. The album’s lead single “The City” received airplay on San Francisco’s Live 105 FM for several weeks. 

Although he is no longer street performing, Sam maintains a busy performance schedule with over 200 shows per year touring at college campuses across the US, performing at festivals, and corporate and private events, and the Ritz Carlton San Francisco invited him to be their resident performer, a spot which he has held for the past 5 years. In 2016, Sam joined top 40 artist Andy Grammer on his west coast tour, performing for thousands of fans each night as his opening act.

Since then, Sam has shared stages with many big pop and reggae artists including Shwayze, Collie Buddz, Flipsyde, Common Kings, The Holdup, Leilani Wolfgramm, Anuhea, Mike Love, and more. 

Sam’s original music is also frequently featured in TV shows on MTV, FOX, NBC, BRAVO, and SPIKE. Macy’s used Sam’s version of “In The Midnight Hour” for their popular nationwide Black Friday ad campaign for 2 years in a row. He has also written songs specifically for the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) that they keep in regular rotation. 

Sam signed a deal with start-up label Text Me Records in 2018, and has since released half a dozen singles, with hundreds of thousands of Spotify plays, and his song “Faded” debuted at #3 on the iTunes singer-songwriter charts. A new full length album is on the way in 2019.

 

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The Bay Bridged

San Francisco weather is warming up this week, just in time for Sam Johnson's breezy new beach-inspired pop song, "Palm Trees." This dreamy, upbeat tune is the first of many singles that Sam plans to debut over the next several months with San Francisco label, Text Me Records. His Southern California roots, permeated by influences of Sublime and No Doubt, float out of each note in "Palm Trees," creating an apropos backdrop to summer's impending heat and whimsy.


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Drew Banga

 
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Drew Banga's credits include Kamaiyah’s “I’m On,” Rexx Life Raj and ymtk’s “What’s Up,” 1-O.A.K.’s “Lost & Found” (which he co-produced with Kuya Beats) and Caleborate’s latest single, “Bankrobber” (with Chose1). He’s also the musical director for Duckwrth, overseeing every aspect of his live show and producing for the Republic Records-signed rapper and singer. He also co-produced much of Kamaiyah’s highly-anticipated, forthcoming sophomore album.

“There’s not an artist in the Bay I haven’t produced for, done a song with or gone on tour with,” Arnett says. “I’m a producer. I don’t sing, but I write. I try to make whatever I put my hands on better than what I heard before. And I’m all about cultivating people’s sound.”

Drew Arnett didn’t start producing professionally until a year

before making the “I’m On” beat for Kamaiyah in 2015. “I just wanted to be a touring bass player,” he says. Now a full-time producer and musician, Arnett spends most of his time at Different Fur as an in-house producer for the studio-affiliated label, Text Me Records. He has his gripes with the lack of an industry infrastructure in the Bay Area but sees his affiliation with Text Me as a tipping point.

“I work closely with artists at Text Me and I’m gonna be able to put the spotlight on a lot of artists in the Bay. Kinda like A&R-ing, but I’m producing too. The artist can be nobody and the producer can have such a big name and the song can go platinum. That’s what I want to do.”

Taken from the KQED article "Behind The Beats: Drew Banga" by Adrian Spinelli

 

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For our debut installment of The Baylist, we've got new and recent songs from twenty excellent Bay Area artists, including Tanukichan, Shannon Shaw, Drew Banga, and Fantastic Negrito. Give the mix a spin below, then scroll down for liner notes about all of the featured musicians!

If you’re tapped into the music scene in the Bay Area these days, it’s hard to miss Drew Banga. The talented OSA-bred drummer, turned bassist, turned producer has collaborated with a laundry list of the Bay’s most prominent and emerging artists.

 


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dot Vom

 
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dot Vom is a San Francisco band that has existed in a state of flux since 2013, living out a long rotation of genres and band members before finding their footing in 2018 with a five-member roster and a tongue-in-cheek but earnest brand of over-disclosure.

Songwriter and vocalist Dany Ricci (one of the two remaining veterans from the original lineup, along with bassist Katiana Mashikian) channels a quarter-life crisis through raw emotion and blunt lyrics, rendering self-deprecatory torch songs almost charming until they're cut down by rolling waves of distortion, courtesy of guitarists Beau Mathews and Zach Fahrney.

Practically raisedby wolves (60s oldies, 80s Cantopop, and 40s Italian crooners), Ricci draws from an eclectic range of outdated influences to create their own Omnichord-driven vein of pop. Keeping them current is drummer Shahan Salim, formerly of SF cave-show staples Banshee Boardwalk and Schlemiel O'Neil.

 

EVENTS

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Smuggling face-melting riffs under soft math-rock harmonies, it’s an excellent opening salvo from an EP packed with infectious earworms. Recalling fellow fucked-up rock’n’roll peddlers Shannon and the Clams, the quintet craft slow-burning torch songs unafraid of giving too much away. Dreamy organs ground the group in an ethereal space and let their taut guitars and precious lyrics unfurl.

East Bay Express

That’s dot VOM, as in vomit, anyhow. It’s a little sweet, a little sickening — lead singer and omnichord player Dany likens their music to “when you wake up in the morning and you’re throwing up but you can’t tell if you just ate something red last night or you’re throwing up blood.”

Come Here Floyd

DOT VOM is a San Francisco band that is here in this dimension just to tickle your inhibitions and thoughts of melancholy deep within your heart; and in your brain, your legs, your back, your motivations.

We’re pretty damn pumped to premiere the newest single from the Bay Area band dot Vom! And if that amazing band name isn’t enough to sell you, then scroll down and press play because this very melancholy but deliciously old school pop track should be enough to seal the deal!

KALTBULT.

Practically raised by wolves (60s oldies, 80s Cantopop, and 40s Italian crooners), Ricci draws from an eclectic range of outdated influences to create their own Omnichord-driven vein of pop.


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TVRQUOISE

 
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TVRQUOISE is the Los Angeles based, genre-bending, indie pop project of vocalistand songwriter, Faye Wellman. Her 2017 self-titled EP immediately garnered positivereviews by The 405, Audiofemme, and Blackbook. TVRQUOISE’s music is described as electro-dreampop with looping vocal melodies, textured beats, and sweeping synths, and has been compared to indie act, Braids. Earmilk put it best: TVRQUOISE’s music is “a beautiful dichotomy of pessimism and optimism.”

Faye Wellman grew up immersed in music and the arts while moving between various towns of Michigan’s west coast. At the early age of three, she remembers singing songs from Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes, an album favorited by her mother. At this young age, Faye began accompanying her mother to

private voice lessons, absorbing her earliest memories of vocal training.

During her adolescence, Faye attended rock music camp, founded by Bay area Blues guitarist, Jimmy Dillon (Bruce Springsteen, Sting, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, and Santana). Over a six year period, Dillon mentored Faye as the two played gigs promoting his music camp. When Wellman was thirteen, Dillon encouraged her to start writing and performing original music. Faye cites Dillon as a major influence in her musical development.

After graduating from Berklee College of Music in 2013, Faye relocated to Los 

Angeles. Driving cross-country solo, Faye credits the experience with removing many of her mental blocks and planting the creative seed for TVRQUOISE. She was inspired after visiting a Tibetan store in Boulder, CO where the shop owner implored her to buy some turquoise prayer beads. “The woman told me about the stones: how they’resupposed to help open your throat chakra, make you release through your voice, and protect you through travels. I just thought, “this really resonates with me right now.”

In 2017, Faye met Patrick Brown - engineer, producer, and owner of Different Fur Studios and Text Me Records. TVRQUOISE soon signed with Text Me Records, leading to the creation a full length album. TVRQUOISE's debut album is set to release April 2018

 

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Earmilk

What is something in your life that's been holding you back — or something you've needed to eradicate from your life, but just haven't found the courage? In dream-pop duo TVRQUOISE's debut single "Paralyze Legs," they explore this idea of the battle with the conscious to break free or continue to drudge through quicksand, helpless.

the 405

We all use others as a crutch from time to time, and this song tackles that subject straight on. So give 'Paralyzed Legs' a spin and get hyped about the new TVRQUOISE material coursing through your veins.

Idolator

On their first song, this bewitching California duo forgoes traditional pop structure, instead starting with an extended intro of hiccup-chopped vocals that eventually turns into a spiraling synth séance. The former Berklee College of Music students put your head in the clouds with a digi-sprawl reminiscent of early Braids and keep your feet on the ground with tactile lyrics.

Audiofemme

“Paralyzed Legs” documents a young woman’s realization that she’s in a dangerously co-dependent relationship – a motif we can most certainly relate to. The video is a representation of being trapped so to speak – depicting someone caught beneath a white sheet, struggling to break free perhaps.

Myspace

“A group of friends, including the person I was pretty much hopelessly in love with, jumped the fence to the neighborhood pool. I jumped in the pool and waited for him to follow — he never did. To an outsider, it seemed like a meaningless, passing moment, but within that moment I realized how symbolic this scenario was of our entire relationship,” she says. “Three years later I finally let go of the hope that he would come around and this song was written as a reflection.”

BlackBook

It's not hard to believe that both Faye Wellman and Matt Hogan of LA electro-pop du TVRQUOISE have had formal training in music; indeed, the pair met in Boston while they were studying at Berklee College of Music. And their music exhibits much a classicism as it does whimsy.


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GrandBankss

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Born on a gloomy Island off the east coast of Canada, Tim Vickers AKA GrandBankss moved to the states at a fairly young age and began studying music and double bass. After spending 10 years producing and working with bands in the San Francisco Bay Area, Pat Brown took him under the wing of Different Fur Studios and gave him a place and resources to write and produce at a professional level. Working with emerging Artists such as MVCK, Elujay, Ace Diego, Odie, DerekTed as well as writing his own Experimental Electronic and Bossa Nova tracks, GrandBankss is creating his place in the Bay Area music. “Ownership” featuring Elujay marks his debut.

 

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Devise Mag

This San Francisco producer throws down some laid back hip hop and soul incorporating layered harmonies in a unique way.

Spill Magazine

“Silver Crest” is a track written by GrandBankss while waiting for an artist to show up to his studio fashionably late. In fact the entire album was originally written and recorded on his phone at Different Fur Studios while patiently waiting for musicians to arrive, and more so when they didn’t show up.

Not Dead Yet Bay Area

Thanks to both big bankss and EIH's contributions, "Ownership" manages to radiate both breeziness and murkiness - the musical equivalent of sweet and sour soup with pieces of donut in it. It's no easy feat, and one that immediately sets the duo apart from the legions of aspiring Text Me Records' signees huddled in the rain outside of Different Fur Studios.

 


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George Montgomery Dallas Davis

 
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A writer, producer and recording artist with a deft regenerative hand, you never quite know what Will Butler will whip up. Previously churning out infectious, gritty pop hooks under the name Social Work, Butler now returns as George Montgomery Dallas Davis with a whole new sound. Legally blind since his teens, Butler crafts his productions with a clever mix of adaptive technology and nonvisual technique to the point where people forget that he can hardly see anything.

 

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Lip Set

 
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Lip Set is collaboration between Vocalist Felicia Douglass and Producer Studio_Dad aka Patrick Brown. Douglass is a Brooklyn-based artist - most notably a keyboardist and singer in Ava Luna, she also leads her own band called Gemma. In addition to a number of vocal collaborations with artists such as Toro Y Moi, Baile, Helado Negro, and Diane Coffee, she produces her own electronic project with airy melodies over wandering synth lines and tropical rhythms and most recently joined Dirty Projectors. As an engineer Patrick Brown has worked with the likes of Toro y Moi, KFlay, Beat Connection, The Morning Benders, Lee Fields, and hundreds of others. In 2014 a collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Rob Pera under the name WOOF lead to a mixtape produced by the two

including rappers and singers like Mykki Blanco, Tragik, and G-Side. Now going by Studio_Dad, Brown is consistently producing both solo and with other members of Text Me Records... a process which lead to Felicia flying to San Francisco for a week to work on what became the "Saucy EP". The first single from the two debuted in remix form on Text Me's Valentine's Day mixtape and featured scrappy Bay Area rapper Tia Nomore.

 

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KALTBULT. MAG

Text Me Records release the 4 track ‘Saucy’ EP from Lip Set, a project of Patrick Brown aka Studio_Dad and vocalist Felicia Douglass of Ava Luna and Dirty Projectors. A slick mix of 80s influenced electro-pop and floaty melodies, ‘Saucy’ is a solid introduction of what these two can achieve in only 11 minutes.

Mystic Sons

US duo deliver a humble and atmospheric RnB-inspired jam, with nods to FKA Twigs


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Coke

 
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Raw, unrelenting, and careening out of the Bay Area of California is Coke. A quartet who craft angry and raw slabs of post-hardcore that chunk and chew with angular riffs and acerbic vocals. Plus, they have a song called ‘Ray Liotta’. Everyone loves Ray Liotta. Right?

They also have a song called ‘Da Da’. Which is also the name of a red wine that I really love. I don’t think that Coke drink red wine. I think they bathe in the blood of their enemies and drink from their hollowed out skulls. Maybe.

(OVERBLOWN)

 

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William Robert

 

The soulful sound of William Robert is designed to lift listeners out of the gray. A former NFL football player for the Detroit Lions and the UT Longhorns - turned pop R&B lyricist and vocalist - Robert will release a string of singles starting with Texas on April 28th 2017. He credits the raw emotion and vulnerability expressed in his music to influences like the Notorious B.IG., Sarah McLachlan, and Coldplay. These tracks embody what it means to start a new family while pursuing the most difficult thing one can do: expressing yourself honestly through art.

The singles to be released include a feature by go-to Bay Area backing band The Park as well as vocalist Nona Brown, who has worked alongside artists such as The Fray and Lenny Williams, and Claire George of HEARTWATCH. Texas will be one of the first releases under new label Text Me Records.

 

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SF WEEKLY

With its background harmonies, piano melodies, and redemptive qualities, William Robert’s first single, “Texas,” could very well be a gospel song. Of course, it’s not — it’s more R&B, with a hint of blues — but it just goes to show you how creative and out-of-the-box Robert is willing to be.

The Bay Bridge

"Parachute" is a lush, inviting song, with inventive production encompassing Robert's soulful declarations of love. The new track is the third in a series of weekly releases from the singer, who previously played football with the Detroit Lions.


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Same Girls

 
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Fun at times, moody at others, Same Girls writes music to process the ever changing landscape in which they grew up. All friends and all Bay Area natives, the band reflects on the striking shift in their lives and their surroundings through their songs. Drawing inspiration from classic movements, like Motown and Grunge, and playing with 21st century sensibility, the Oakland-based act has created an idiosyncratic sound that remains familiar to casual and passionate listeners alike. Flanged guitars and crisp basslines over attacking percussion form the backdrop for vocalist Taifa Nia’s infectious hooks. Lyrically, Nia is vulnerable, reflecting on the changes in his relationships with those around him and confiding in listeners moments he’d like back. Equal parts dramatic and animated, “Young Minded,” the band’s forthcoming studio album, swings the pendulum between droning riffs and buoyant melodies in an attempt to carve an identity for themselves amidst the upheaval.

 

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The Bay Bridged

Ah, youthful days of summer. For some of us that felt like eons ago, but Oakland band Same Girls' latest single "Sailing" recalls a sunny bliss, lifting the rainy days of January.

Lead singer Taifa Nia has a deeper message, however, beneath the groovy guitar lines and funky bass. As drummer Otto Janes describes, "'Sailing' is like a dream — the melodies suggest wish fulfillment, but there’s a darker edge to it. As if in the dream, you can’t really find what your looking for, or you have to wake up as soon as you do."

Xune Mag

San Francisco indie rockers Same Girls turn up the volume on their second single with a driving piece of sun-tinged garage rock. Sounding like a slightly more cleaned up version of the more raw, noisy sound of 80’s alternative rock bands such as Dinosaur Jr and The Replacements, “Inner Space” is a rambunctious track of youthful exuberance clearly showing that, in 2018, guitar music is still alive and kicking.

The Deli Magazine

It’s obvious from the first few seconds that Same Girls have ensnared a bolt of lightning in a bottle here, and made an instant hit. If this is any indication of what's to come on their forthcoming album Young Minded, then prepare to add a new favorite album to your list.

BuffaBlog

Bay Area quartet Same Girls likes to keep things fresh, especially evident on their latest single, “Young Minded.” Pairing a talk-speak vocal approach (think Tokyo Police Club, Bombay Bicycle Club, etc.) with discordant indie-pop guitar lines, “Young Minded” is an eccentric ditty that brings a new approach to a well-established genre.

New Noise Mag

Read more about "Young Minded" on New Noise Mag

Read more about "Domino" on Culture Addict, All Things Go, and Rock Your Lyrics


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Mikos Da Gawd

 
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Douglas still relishes that time indoors, tucked away in the studio — except he’s not always by himself anymore. Just as producers and vocalists need each other, fellow producers can drive one another’s creativity. Douglas is part of a loosely formed Bay Area collective of hip-hop producers, many of whom we’ll be profiling this week as part of this series. “In producer culture, we stay in a room and work,” he says. “It’s about bringing people together and creating these collages.”

As we descend back down Bernal Hill, Douglas points to San Francisco General Hospital in the distance. “I was born right there,” he says. On the lower part of the hill, the cold wind chill dies down and a warm breeze sweeps across his open black hoodie. He stares at the building where his life began and ponders his purpose.

“People lose sight of the fact that you can make a huge impact while remaining mysterious,” he says. “That’s kinda why I got into producing.”

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The Bay Bridged

But Mikos has been doing some gourmet cooking in the kitchen. In his newest song, "Start Something New," Mikos serves up a side of vocals to the track's bouncy main course (the funky bassline, soulful chords, and tickling keys are signature Mikos), coaxing his muse to start anew and join him, in life, and on the dance floor. 

Complex.com

Ahead of that, we're being treated to "Alpines", an enriching and soulful rap track aided by Oakland rappers Ricky Lake and Young Ocean. It's long been known by Mikos Da Gawd fans that he excels when working with singers and rappers alike and the few names we've already seen attached to the project suggest we're going to see the best examples of that yet.

Hell Yeah, Brother! drops March 4 via Text Me Records, featuring guest appearances from Rexx Life Raj, Adam Vida, Bruh From Last Night, Elujay and more.

Do the Bay

Mikos shows off his dance moves and goofy personality in the clip, and we have to admit the dude has some serious rhythm. Filmed in various locations around Golden Gate Park, it’s all very picturesque and oh-so-local. The video's laid-back vibe pairs perfectly with Mikos’ chill demeanor. That's not to say he's slouching when it comes to legit vocal skills, from the casual chorus to the clever rhymes he spits about life and love.


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Mars Today

 
 
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EARMILK

The horn happy track reminds us a lot of Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment as there is Rafa Postel on the trumpet but also Daniel Casares on the sax and Balboa Becker on the trombone. The track doesn't just stop at being horn heavy there is also Nate Mercereau on the guitar giving the track a little extra flare. Mars weaves his dreamy vocals through all the instruments flawlessly as he sexually serenades us on matters in between the sheets.


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Undine

 
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Undine is a solo musical and visual project of Sean Paulson, an accomplished recording engineer at San Francisco’s Different Fur. It is an engaging mix of lo-fi, hip-hop, psychedelia, and glitched out home video art.

 

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GoPro

Check out "Field of Reeds", as heard in GoPro's video showing off their new Fusion Overcapture, as part of the GoPro Awards


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MÒZÂMBÎQÚE

 
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Andrew grew up in the jazz and funk scene in San Francisco, where he developed an affinity for instrumental music like STS9, Tea Leaf Green and Medeski Martin and Wood. In his early twenties he bought a one way ticket to Zimbabwe without much of a plan or idea as to what came next. While traveling around the world, he studied and learned all sorts of percussion from a Kudu antler horn in Cape Town, ZA to the Tabla in Varanasi, India. Whether hiking to Everest Base Camp, tracking lions in Kenya, sailing to Madagascar or surfing in Indonesia, he was always amazed at how well artists like The Album Leaf, Tycho and Aphex Twin could enhance these experiences. His passion for traveling and the great outdoors gave Andrew’s musical direction a heavy influence on nature. MÒZÂMBÎQÚE seeks to portray walking along the sea, standing atop a mountain or sitting in a open meadow.

 

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JULiA LEWiS

 
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Benjamin Falik is ambivalent about the idea of personal fame. That's one reason the producer, songwriter and beatmaker chose the name Julia Lewis as a professional pseudonym: "It's little bit of smoke and mirrors," admits Falik, a Berkeley native. "I like playing with people's expectations."

That drive to upend the expected is a through line in Falik's work, as his reputation for making soulful dance music -- emotional, human productions and remixes that blend hip-hop and electronic elements with a shot of his first love, jazz -- has spread throughout the Bay Area and beyond.

Falik grew up in a house full of music. His mother was a violinist and classical pianist; her father had been a violinist as well; and both of his sisters picked up the piano as children. Their younger brother soaked up the sounds and rewards of rigorous practice. There was, he says, a lot of Chopin.

Falik, for his part, studied jazz as a young teen, playing saxophone, bass, guitar and piano. Branching out into classic funk and R&B, the young musician eventually gravitated toward the experimentation of electronic dance music and the urgency of hip-hop, insistent that he shouldn’t have to choose between Miles Davis and Mobb Deep.

The result is an impressive range: a drive for beats that are both soothing and surprising; a playful approach to blending the electronic and analog; an ear for obscure samples, digital synths and warm, old-school horns. It’s a confident style all his own, one that’s made him the go-to producer/remixer for experimental hip-hop vocalists like Duckwrth, Caleborate and Rexx Life Raj -- young artists who embody the sound of the Bay. "Handheld GPS," which he produced for Raj's debut LP Father Figure, has racked up 3.9 million plays on Spotify in the year since its release. Falik's talents as a live performer and DJ are equally diverse and in demand: In 2016 alone he opened for Too $hort, Dam Funk and Tennyson.

The next year sees Julia Lewis poised to become a household name -- ambivalence, smoke and mirrors be damned. “On the Regular,” the first of a forthcoming series of releases with Oakland rapper Elujay, is a laid-back, bouncy new track for the waning days of summer. True to his collaborative nature, Falik created the initial beat with fellow DJ-producers Mr. Carmack and Mikos Da Gawd: “It had a distinctly island vibe, and it made us all dance,” says Falik of the song’s easy feel. “Elujay heard it a week later and wrote a melody on the spot."

Other upcoming projects include releases with Atlanta singer-songwriter Bosco (Fools Gold Records), a Lil B and Rexx Life Raj collaboration, and more production work with Mr. Carmack as well as Ryan Hemsworth.

 

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EARMILK

“On the Regular” starts off with some pleasant piano chords and begins to build with a little bit of synth action until things rip wide open when Elujay gets on the mic. From there on out, everyone’s feeling good as Elujay delivers a performance fit for blasting out the car with the windows down. Elujay's laid back delivery over the sweet, sweet productions from LEWiS, Carmack, and Mikos make this loosie one hell of an enjoyable ride.

KQED

“There’s a level of unspoken trust, in that I can say these people are my friends and we make music together,” Falik says. “People come through and we make music and maybe hit up a bar. Music is my social life."

EARMILK

Producer and singer-songwriter Julia Lewis enlisted emcees Yung Pinch and Larry June for a smooth flowing new single "Living Fast Sipping Slow". Featuring a sleek but multifaceted instrumentation and a hypnotic bassline, this latest single manifests a sense of rugged solitude as it plays between slow-burning snares and sharp hip-hop.. With a blend of hip-hop beats and a few hints of bass elements, this track flows effortlessly through troughs of immense production. The intimate harmonized vocals on the chorus compliment an overall hypnotic trait making this single an overwhelmingly infectious hip-hop track


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Ricky Lake

 
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Born in Los Angeles, Ricky Lake grew up with family hailing from the west, east, and south sides of the city. Early influences came from the likes of Pharrell, Tricky Daddy, The Postal Service, Dj Shadow, and MF Doom among others. At 15 years old, Ricky and his mom moved to the outskirts of Nashville Tennessee, and it was there young Rick started recording his own voice in his bedroom. At 18 years old Ricky started performing around downtown Nashville, and continued to do so for about a year, moving in a similar scene as Isaiah Rashad and Ducko Mcfli, but not making the music he was actually after. Fast forward to 2017 and Ricky Lake has released 3 projects; Turquoise, RikkyLake, and John. After moving to the Bay Area, the influences of Ricky Lake seemed to

alter slightly. He began diving into music by Pollari, Ruben Slikk, Goth Money, Young Thug, and other artists who moved through their scenes with ease and simplicity, creating thick atmospheric vibes with straightforward melodies. His old love for 16 bars and fully structured rap songs mixes seemingly into his new sound, creating songs like "Jane Doe" and "Checkmate". Since being in the East Bay: he’s been featured in BARE magazine (UC Berkeley’s premier arts, fashion, and lifestyle publication), he’s opened for the legend Tommy Wright III on 2 separate occasions, he’s played numerous shows around Oakland and San Francisco, helped to created the East Bay collective YEARS, and contributes music to UNCOOL Records from time to time. His project "The Mother 966", coming 2018, promises to be a significant point in the young artists career, with many more to come.

 

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The Bay Bridged

Ricky, who admitted that part of his creative process sometimes involves being intoxicated, simply thought that wasn't a world he fit in. But after linking with Text Me Records ("Text Me is about creativity and making what you want to make happen," he says) the 24-year-old born Marcus McAlpin is dipping his toes into the sticky world of music industry with San Francisco-based imprint as his guiding light.

Thizzler

rikkilakes drops off a new record called “Wino” via San Francisco’s Text Me Records. It’s a woozy record about the effects of drinking. Ricky knows how to turn up.


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Studio_Dad

 
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As a producer and engineer Brown has worked with the likes of Toro y Moi, K.Flay, Mykki Blanco, The Morning Benders, SISTERS, Darondo, and more. Often catching artists on their way up and helping to propel them forward. Recently he's started releasing original material and collaborations under the moniker Studio_Dad.

Based out of Different Fur, a studio owned by Brown (and one of San Francisco’s most historical and famed recording spaces), Text Me was formed as a writing and production team with a dozen or so talented musicians, producers, and songwriters lending to an eclectic mix of style.

 

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Elevator Mag

Bay Area blapsmith Studio_Dad hits our pages today with a dope new track featuring Rexx Life Rajand Donna Missal, entitled “Can Oui.” Studio_Dad’s fresh production leads the way for a silky-smooth jam that shows off some nice chemistry between Raj and Donna, who combine for a positively knockout pairing across the A1 instrumental.

Thizzler

@studio_dad recruits @rexxliferaj & @donnaMissal for this new single “Can Oui”. The release is produced by Studio Dad himself, and features thoughtful contributions from both Raj and Donna Missal. Lyrics about love, life, and the meaning of those two things are abundant. Check out the new record above.


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Flat Worms

 
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Flat Worms are a band from Los Angeles. They released their 7” on Volar Records and their debut LP on Castle face Records. They continue their ride on a buzzsaw wave of feedback-tipped riffs into the middle distance, smog choked sunset receding in the rearview, a thousand yard dead-pan surgically pinned to a high octane set of boredom energized punk pistons. Flat Worms - an ears-a-ringing missive from the end of the cul-de-sac, the mirage of direction wavering above a mid-sized American suburb at dusk, constellations bleached black by the sprawl. A little Wipers, a little Wire, and a lot of late-capitalist era anxious energy.

 

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Social Work

 
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A writer, producer and recording artist with a deft regenerative hand, you never quite know what Will Butler will whip up. Now churning out infectious, gritty pop hooks under the name Social Work, Butler also appears with many artists on the Text Me Records label. Legally blind since his teens, Butler crafts his productions with a clever mix of adaptive technology and nonvisual technique to the point where people forget that he can hardly see anything.

 

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The Bay Bridged

Not one to get cozy in a single genre, Butler opens "Underweight" with a reggae-tinted organ splashing around a reverb-drenched snare drum. Despite the island overtones, the track is unequivocally laid out with an R&B and soul blueprint. The track crawls by in just over four minutes, but listening to it captures the feel of trying to run underwater, or slicing through the high humidity of a summer day. We could play this on repeat for days.

The Bay Bridged

Heads up: The "other Will Butler," as he's known around here, just put out bass-happy track that will likely get you happy (and dancing) too. He records under the name Social Work, and "Onda" is exactly the thoughtful, groovy romp our summer needs.

SF Weekly

"Funny Dancers" is derived from a chopped-and-screwed track of the same name by fellow Oakland band Brass Magic. After a heavy dose of editing and a sprinkling of additions, Butler, who is the frontman and founder of Social Work, churned out this wholly original gem (but decided to keep the original song title for kicks). The only glimmer of the original song, he said, is the brass, which is why he suggests calling the track a "rebrass," rather than a "remix."


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Bobbi Rohs

 

Bobbi Rohs is a San Francisco based singer, writer, and producer born and raised in the Bay Area. After teaching herself how to play guitar at a young age, the artist begin to write songs for family events and church services. Once in high school she began learning different music software and debuted on the scene in 2015 with her first pubic release “That’s Bae”.

This single gained the artist quite the buzz and was featured on Tricycle Records 2016 new artist compilation. Since then Bobbi Rohs has release several songs and has positioned herself as more than just an aspiring singer by joining San Francisco based recording studio 'Different Fur' as a writer and session artist.

The singer is said to be inspired by a wide range of music from Missy Elliot to Cursive, which contributes to her distinctive sound and vocal range. Friends commonly describe Rohs's music as "Punk R&B, experimental electronica, jazzy, and folk trap". She has recently released her first full length album titled "HideAway" and is working on a second project with various producers in San Francisco where she currently lives.

 

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Thirty Six Plus

self-described “shy/low-key Leo”, Bobbi flexes her powerful vocals in her latest album Hideaway, released in May 2017. With the album under her belt, this year Bobbi has several projects in the works this year, including two EPs and a music video.

The Bay Bridged

Though it’s tempting to label her future-R&B á la Kelela, her versatility as a singer proves she could take things in many different directions. Rohs sounds equally comfortable crooning over 4 on the floor, mid-tempo dance tracks like “A to B” as she is on the moody, piano-laced slow-burner “Goosebumps.” Perhaps the real standout track here is “Out of This World,” her powerful voice rising over the swirling, ambient wash like a lighthouse on a stormy night.

KQED

Valentine's Day can be cheesy, but KQED Arts' playlist of new Bay Area love songs is anything but. These 10 tracks are full of smooth grooves and sexy rhythms to get your Feb. 14 going right -- whether you're hanging out with your boo or dancing alone in your room.


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Curasao

 
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Curasao is a psych rock pop band from San Francisco. Started as a solo project by Bobby Renz, White Knuckles is a band featuring Samantha Perez of The She's, Alex Swain of Mahgeetah and Deltron, and Robinson Kuntz of The Buttercream Gang and Change!. Angular weird rock that is fun.

 

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Eddie Gessford

 
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Creation is a moment of pure bliss and pure destruction. Chaotic birth paired with slow, silent death. And without either of the two this process called art would be impossible. Eddie Gessford is an experiment. A never ending process of failure and reinvention reflected into the mirror that is his art.

Influenced by the irreverence of club kid and drag culture he incorporates this into his work. Eddie is hard to define. An unapologetically queer, genre/gender bending performer fused with a contemporary R&B artist.

 

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MASTER BUTCHER

 
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"Master Butcher consists of three bay area musicians/producers that have numerous credits, including for the likes of Toro y Moi, Kflay, Banks, and Philip Philips. This gritty and twisted music, however, is nothing like the previous works that these artists have done alone. Together they are Master Butcher, a group that experiments with a multitude of sounds and emotional swings throughout their songs."-IMPOSE

 

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Impose

This gritty and twisted music, however, is nothing like the previous works that these artists have done alone. Together they are Master Butcher, a group that experiments with a multitude of sounds and emotional swings throughout their songs.


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Rich Iyala

 
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Photo by Kristina Baky

Raised in San Francisco, Rich Iyala rips tunes that take a page from the Bay’s rich history of funk and soul. Years after breaking into the music industry as teenage emcee "sayknowledge", the rapper has changed his moniker, and vibratory level . Iyala’s new sound has evolved into blends of elemental hip hop, finding a sonic home somewhere between eclectic future beats and favela funk . His upcoming album Camp Mendocino is heavy on the soul horns, and taps into his hometown’s identity as the launching pad for funk groups like Sly & The Family Stone. Lyrics drenched in escapism and humankind’s complex, evolving relationship with technology. Through his work, Iyala looks to define a distinctly California sound of social resistance — in his own words, “future soul hyphy funk.”

An early mover in the Bay’s hyphy movement, the artist released his first album Vibe Called Quest as Sayknowledge at the age of 18. The LP won him mentions for his lyrical agility and irreverent video concepts in publications like Vibe Magazine. Say knowledge’s single “Ariel” was a campus radio favorite. He received early co signs from artists who are now longstanding collaborators, like producer Mars Today and Mikos Da Gawd of Soulection. More recently as Rich Iyala (a tweaked play on his birth name Rich Ayala, the “i” a symbol of the media-tech issues being grappled with in his work) the emcee has performed at venues across the Bay Area and joined fellow SF native Mr. Carmack on his Immersion tour. Black and Puerto Rican, Iyala is passionate about his Bay Area community and has been involved in numerous social justice campaigns. Recently he organized an all star benefit event in San Francisco for Hurricane Maria headlined by "Joe Kay " and is joining an October '17 march from San Francisco to Sacramento and back with the parents of SFPD murder victims.

After years of hiatus from major releases during which he started a weed delivery business, Mirage Medicinals (featured on VICELAND’s Weediquette), Rich Iyala is ready to surface from the SF struggle. “Damnwell,” a single off the soon to be released Camp Mendocino LP is a feel good beat ride that speaks to Iyala’s fixation on what defines "classic" .

 

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THE BAY BRIDGED

"San Francisco son Rich Iyala resurfaces to the mainstream music market with "DAMNWELL," the first single featuring Mars Today and Krikit Boi, off his upcoming album Camp Mendocino. For the past few years, Rich has immersed himself in uplifting the Bay Area community and social justice campaigns, expressing his support through on-the-ground action and utilizing his platform and reach to its full potential."


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O.C.D

 
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Based in Oakland, O.C.D. are a band that bends genres. Fusing elements of bossa nova and latin jazz with indie rock, and an all encompassing spirit of DIY punk, the five piece is in the midst of releasing their debut EP, titled “Growth”. Over the course of six tracks, the band rips through songs of love, failed relationships, and the shedding of skin. Aptly titled, “Growth” is an EP about change. Growing into something different from what you thought you would, or were expected to. It’s a curious place for a band to start, but one that feels right for O.C.D.

 

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Van Gammon

 
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Van Gammon wants his listeners to get one message from his work: that love is alive in a dying world. With a life revolving around connection, empowerment and self-discovery, his music makes the point.


“It seems like it’s unpopular to really be in love, show love or stay in love. I never saw it growing up, but I made the decision that I would love in a way that I hadn’t known,” he says.

Much of Van Gammon’s career has revolved around community and collaboration. After spending much of his

Fayetteville, North Carolina childhood in rap groups and battling circles, he moved to Alabama as an adult and formed the award-winning duo Hydroplanes. When he moved to Dallas in 2010, he added spoken word poetry to his repertoire and cofounded an open mic called The Lounge to build with other artists. He continued his teamwork by making an album called Natal Oasis with San Francisco producer SelfUno, and he began to book shows around the country.

But Van Gammon also converted to Christianity while living in Dallas. He always went to church with his mother while growing up, but for the first time he began to study the Bible—and as his faith strengthened, his relationship with music he fell in love with began to suffer. “I was conflicted with my message,” he says. “I didn’t know who it was reaching, even though people told me it was good.”

“There's a lot friction and conflict about what it means to love outside oneself, and it's resolved throughout the album,” he says. “I want to understand the sides of life I haven't been on instead of straight out condemning it. Finding a starting point for the mess and going from there to find a way out.” "Love Thy..." out October 13th.

 

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Fragile Friends

 
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Fragile friends are Sean Paulson and Lien Do who are really sensitive. Formed out of being in the same building all the time to now making music together, their music is a cluster of their vastly different music tastes. They are coming out with an EP soon and their first single is Grey.

 

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Komak

 
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Komak, otherwise known as Matthew Pereira, was born and raised in the Bay Area. Having been around music from a young age, he developed an interest for electronic music while at UC Santa Cruz majoring in Film. The concept of Komak, while originally from an unfinished film treatment, naturally became the inspiration for an electronic instrumental and cinematic musical style all its own. Komak finds its roots with an electronic style blending modern genres to produce tracks anywhere from progressive house, intense electro dance/funk, to lighthearted and ethereal synth-pop. Pulling influence from the likes of artists such as Feed Me, Deadmau5, and Porter Robinson, the first two singles to be released are “Kingdom of Dreams,” as featured on Quik by GoPro on November 15th, 2017, and “Komak: The Creature” on December 1st, 2017.

 

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