Hieroglyphics is a hip hop group out of Northern California. Each year they celebrate new hip hop talent with their own festival in Oakland on Labor Day. I got the chance to cover their show this year and even though there were over a dozen quality performers to see on each stage, I was there for one.
It took me over three hours to get to Hiero Day, public transit wasn’t doing so well. When I got there the temp had to be hitting on 90 and everyone was looking for shade to sit in. But I had to find Anderson Paak. The main reason I was there.
I caught him right before his performance on the Third Eye stage. I ran up to him like a giddy fool and blathered about my love for his music. When I realized how foolish I was sounding, his manager assured me that they all felt the same way too. We talked a bit longer about other LA emcees, I actually told him the only other one that could compete with him was Doja Cat. He got a kick out of it.
His performance on stage had just as much character as his music, along with the short time I talked to him. The day was a highlight I’ll be holding on to at least until next Labor Day.
Back in high school a friend of mine invited me to a show at First Avenue in Minneapolis where Prince recorded Purple Rain. One of the side stages was playing all house music and when I stepped in I thought, I am the only white dude here, except one other guy we’ll get to in a second.
I’ve been to clubs in London, San Francisco, Tel Aviv, where ever, but I never saw anything like this. Guys were thrusting their pelvises into women. Women were thrusting women. Men thrusting walls and anything else they could their hands and waists on. It seemed like a comic over embellishment. Some were thrusting so hard they knocked the other person over.
The other white dude I was just talking about thrusted a girl so hard she fell off the stage. When she got back up she thought I was the guy and started bitching me out, but quickly realized I wasn’t him.
I was introduced to The 13th Grade by way of One T. I don’t know how I picked up on his Audible, but I never would’ve guessed the treasures I’d dig up because of it. Shortly after looking into him I looked into his collaborators. Most notably Josh J the freakin guitar wonderist and the rest of the honeypot collectively known as The 13th Grade.
The supergroup is based out of LA and houses 14 musicians, though a few are based in San Diego, Vegas or London. Not only do they have incomparably talented producers, DJs, instrumentals and vocalists, but their music ranges greatly. And they’re well on their way to making a label as sexy as any of their musicians.
So in good fashion we did what we try to do best, made a playlist out of ’em. Unfortunately we couldn’t get all 14 on here for one reason or another, but managed to get most. The list starts off with some funk n soul into jazz and half way through gets into the harder stuff. We end it where we started off, ’cause there was way too much soulful shit to only feature one from each artist. Like I’ve said already enough, there’s a lot of talent in The 13th Grade.
Outside Lands begins my favorite time of the year. It’s good weather in San Francisco, except in Golden Gate Park where it’s held, and there are plenty of fun things right around the corner. Treasure Island Music Festival, Beyond Wonderland & SF MusicTech to name three.
This year’s lineup for OSL is looking to be one of its best. I’ve compiled 12 of my favorites, not including Elton, D’Angelo, St. Vincent, Leon Bridges & Toro y Moi. Their SoundCloud presence is lacking and 8tracks doesn’t give us enough numbers to give a damn about dat.
Below the playlist we have two highlights from the festival, Odesza’s set and meeting Toro y Moi.
I found out about a new band with some sweet female vocals from the latest live TuneIn sessions and it inspired me to create a playlist (everything inspires me to create a playlist). Or rather finish up a playlist I had been working on for a while, Indie Girl.
All of the women on here are backed by some amount of instrumentalists. In other words, it’s not just some electronic producer behind the boards. Basically, it’s not the usual electronic shit I post.
It starts off with a more jazz jam band kind of feel and gets into indie rock a few songs in. I even put a little punk in there. At least I think it’s punk. I don’t know punk. It finishes off with more of the mellower stuff.
If you’re someone who manages bands or knows somebody who does, give Cloudsurfing a listen. They’re the band I saw at TuneIn and are in need of a manager, bad.
The first time I ran into Madelyn Grant’s name was on Odesza’s Sun Models. I had recently uploaded the track to SoundCloud and she had contacted me about including her name in the title. The only reason I hadn’t in the first place was because they really chopped and skewed her vocals, making her voice barely recognizable. But she was real nice about it and it seemed more than fair.
About two months later and I see Madelyn Grant on FKJ’s Waiting. I didn’t remember she was on Odesza’s track at first, but once I did I was all the more in love. Madelyn has a breathtaking voice, but even better she knows how to use it – a much bigger problem with most vocalists.
Since then Madelyn has collaborated with a favorite of mine, Emancipator. I asked her how she got to collaborate with all these legitimate producers and she said, I sent them my demos.
That’s it. In Odesza’s case they were requesting female vocalists, but the other two she just sent them a sample. That’s all it took. How the fuck does that happen? Oh wait, that doesn’t. Minus with Madelyn.
I’ve put together a playlist of my favorite songs of her’s as well as another list for producers she should also send her music to. Although, this time I think they should be doing the reaching out.
Relax in the House is even chiller to dance to than our Horizontal Disco list, but both can also be used for relaxing too. This however lays off the lyricists and goes for deep, melodic, four on the floor kind of music with short vocal cuts.
If you don’t like house though, I’m not sure you’ll want to chill in your house with this.
Here’s a special one for ya. It’s the first story I’ve written on here, at least a personal one. And of course it’s accompanied with a playlist, which tells the story much better. My writing only covers the first night and only 95% of that. Ya gotta earn the rest.
I was talking to my coworkers about the music in my Late Night Jazz list. While it’s definitely not the music of the early turn of last century, it still gives me that feeling of jazz for the evening, unconventional as it may be. It’s all covered in electronic sounds and that’s where our opinions stray.
Same goes with our funk-infused playlist, The Funk Shall Be Within You. It may go off into electro at times, but the feeling of funk is strong throughout and I don’t think any word could describe it better, especially electronic. Other than nufunk or any other made up offshoot, but that’s a whole other debate.