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Music Blog: Black Lips, Flying Lotus, Chali 2Na Dubstep

So here it is, installment number two of my weekly “what’s what”  in the world of music. There’s some really great stuff going down this weekend, and some great new tunes getting serious rotation on my iPod.

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6/24 The Future #007:  Brainfeeder Sessions at 103 Hariet

This Friday, 103 Harriet is hosting The Future #007:  Brainfeeder Sessions.  Brainfeeder is the record label of world-renowned Los Angeles-based producer Flying Lotus.

FlyLo’s 2008 full-length debut Los Angeles was a game-changer that immediately made him an underground icon. 2010 saw the release of his masterpiece, the operatic space-themed opus Cosmogramma.

In the interim between these amazing records, Lotus started Brainfeeder, with the hopes of nourishing an extremely fertile–though relatively known outside Southern California–scene.

During that short span of time things blew up, and now Lotus finds himself at the helm of a successful independent label and surrounded by a crew of amazing talent. L.A. is simply where it’s at right now as far as the whole abstract hip-hop/ left-field beat thing goes.

The event, where Mr. Lotus will perform alongside labelmates Thundercat, Teebs and Austin Peralta, will likely be consciousness-expanding.



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6/25 Icee Hot presents Ben U.F.O. and OneMan

On Saturday night, the Mission will be overrun by bass invaders from across the Atlantic, courtesy of the Icee Hot crew.

OneMan and Ben U.F.O. are both leading lights in the ever-evolving world of bass music: hugely influential figures who will be going head-to-head in their first San Francisco appearances.

As a co-founder of the highly respected Hessle Audio record label, Ben U.F.O. has been instrumental in guiding the nebulous genre through a post-post Dubstep world.

OneMan is one of the most daring and technically proficient DJs around at the moment.  On his radio show for Rinse FM, he plays everything from classic disco, hip-hop, house and electro to the latest in grime and bass music.

If you’re at all interested in the ever-evolving London underground, you could hardly ask for a better snapshot of what’s happening right now.

Expect low-end mayhem as these two will surely test the limit of Public Works’ mighty Function One Soundsystem.

Link to Event Page

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6/25 Jazz Mafia Orchestra featuring Chali 2Na at the Stern Grove Festival






The Stern Grove Festival’s opening concert last Sunday was incredible. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings played a free stellar show to an audience of thousands.

This week’s Stern Grove show will almost certainly be equally amazing. The Jazz Mafia are a home-grown Bay Area collective of musicians from the Mission who create a fusion of jazz, funk, hip-hop and electronic music.

After receiving a $50,000 grant back in 2008, multi-instrumentalist Adam Theis, the group’s founder and primary composer, created an hour-long symphonic piece called Brass, Bows & Beats. The piece, which required 60 musicians to perform, was a critical success after its premier at the Palace of Fine Arts.

On Sunday, The Mafia will perform Theis’ new symphony, Emperor Norton’s Suite, with the help of baritone Jurassic 5 alumni Chali 2Na.

This is the piece’s debut and the performance is free, so take advantage.



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Album Review:   Black Lips – Arabia Mountain

The latest release by this Atlanta quartet is a stunner. I’ve been listening to it on repeat for almost a week now, and during that time more than half the songs have been stuck in my head at some point.

It’s a dynamic record that flits effortlessly through a broad range of styles, channeling the best of a decades-long tradition of garage rock music.

The energy, the bombast, the sheer racket these guys create is very identifiably punk – the band even refer to their sound as “flower punk.”

But the sophistication of the songwriting – the melodic content, the arrangements, the variety of different instruments – is not what one would associate with typical punk rock.

There are elements of jangly indie pop, reverb-drenched surf rock, raw delta blues along with a ragged psychedelic edge.

The hooks are often alarmingly infectious, at times straying perilously close to doo-wop territory as on Spidey’s Curse, an ode to Peter Parker.

Arabia Mountain is a thoroughly satisfying listen, a deft mix of noise and catchiness. Perfect summertime listening.


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