September is a pretty dull time for music, especially when it comes to new releases. Most artists and bands have already put out their new material over the summer, or are holding onto it until the end of the year.
Still, a few Bay Area artists — including some big names like Tycho and Nef The Pharaoh — graced us with new music this month, and they don’t disappoint. Check out the list below which includes everything from rap to rock to world music, proving just how eclectic the Bay Area music scene is.
Epoch by Tycho
The fourth studio album of San Franciscan Scott Hansen (a.k.a. Tycho), Epoch is an ambient and instrumental music lover’s wet dream. Filled with Hansen’s characteristic gliding synthesizers, this record is a little more upbeat and driving than its predecessors, and there’s more drums than usual, too. Perfect for doing, well, practically anything, this is the kind of stuff you could play in the background if you are studying or working, but it also works just as well in the car or in a laidback, lounge-like party atmosphere.
Fresh Outta Space 3 by Nef The Pharaoh
This Vallejo rapper has proved yet again that he’s not only creative AF, but that he puts his all into each of his projects, even if they are just mixtapes. Nef’s third project in under 12 months, Fresh Outta Space 3 is a testament to hyphy’s longevity with its booming bass, zippy synths, and thundering 808s, all coated with Nef’s crackly, high-pitched voice. Though there are less featured artists than normal on this album, Snoop Dogg makes an appearance in “Smoke Suffa.” as does up-and-coming Oakland singer, ymtk.
I Will Not Stop Singing by Zomba Prison Project
This 14-track album, featuring songs from prisoners and officers in Malawi’s maximum security prison, is the second installment of its kind (the first Zomba Prison Project album was nominated for a Grammy in 2015). It was produced by San Francisco resident and Grammy Award winner Ian Brennan who traveled to Malawi with his wife to record the songs. Despite the hardships that Malawi is currently facing — it’s the #1 poorest nation on earth — and that life in prison poses — the inmates have gone without food for days because of “delayed funding” from the government — the songs on the album are upbeat and dance-inducing.
Oil In Water by I The Mighty
In San Francisco quartet I The Mighty’s new EP, they reimagined tracks from their previous album, 2016’s Connector, in different genres. Songs like “The Hound and The Fox” and “Playing Catch With .22” are transformed from frenetic punk-tinged rock songs (that sound like something by New Found Glory) into jazzy, pop numbers with live instrumentation, including up-right bass and horns. Regardless of the change, I The Mighty’s signature energy is still there, and it’s pretty cool to hear a more polished version of this usually rough-around-the-edges band.
The Tonite Show With Ezale by Ezale
The ’80s influences in The Tonite Show With Ezale run deep, no doubt thanks to the Oakland rapper’s collaboration with the legendary DJ Fresh. The funky 10-track project is as old-school as you can get, with homie anthems, like “We Out Here” and “Day Ones,” throwback party jams, like “We Want Some Pussy,” and flashy braggadocio ditties, like “All It Take.” For hip-hop heads, this album is a must-listen, and even Pitchfork liked it, awarding it a 7.4 out of 10 rating.