Since its inception, Icee Hot has focused on being ahead of the curve — bringing the freshest upcoming talent to San Francisco. And while it's a bit too early to call it, 2014 may very well end up being the Year Of Mood Hut.
Mood Hut is the collective name of a group of young Canadian producers — just how many are involved is difficult to pin down (because of a predilection for pseudonyms and the general facelessness common to many underground house and techno producers), but the primary actors seem to be Pender Street Steppers, aka Jack Jutson and Liam Butler, and the memorably named Hashman Deejay, aka Tanner Matt, who may or may not also moonlight as Bluntman Deejay.
Since 2012, they have been releasing a steady stream of cassettes and vinyl, offering up their unique take on house music, in which the cheesy-yet-evocative New Age vibes of your parents' record collection (I'm looking at you, “Deep Breakfast”) is reconfigured with thumping, disco-flavored minimal house rhythms. If this sounds a bit silly, that's because it does indeed come across that way at first. But the grooves are infectious, and subsequent listens reveal that these guys aren't messing around: They're seriously talented, crafting smart, languid tracks (few Mood Hut tracks are faster than 120 bpm) that sound like they could just as easily been produced in 1992 as 2014.
Joining the Pender Street crew is Seven Davis Jr., a new producer whose funky, soul-infused house music sounds like a modern, fresh take on vintage Moodymann. Local producer Roche, who crafts melodic, sunny house music with an array of hardware, will be playing a live set to celebrate his new record, just released on Icee Hot's eponymous record label. As always, resident DJs Shawn Reynaldo, Ghosts on Tape, and DJ Will provide support throughout the night.
Other worthy parties this week
United Hearts Fundraiser #2 featuring Addison Groove, Grenier, DJ Earl, Jason Kendig, and more at Public Works, 9:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 11. $15-20; publicsf.com
Ever wanted to party for a good cause? Here's your chance — 100 percent of the proceeds from this party go toward purchasing a school bus for children at the United Hearts School in Bawjiase, Ghana. If that is of no particular relevance to you, the stellar lineup may interest you instead: Addison Groove, one of the most talented post-everything bass music beat scientists in the U.K., is headlining, alongside DJ Earl from the Teklife crew out of Chicago. Expect futuristic footwork, juke, and other fast-paced beats from these two. They're joined by Grenier, an L.A.-based producer, one of the few Americans whose sound approaches the classic Bristolian dubstep motif. Jason Kendig of Honey Soundsystem leads a team of local supporting DJs.
Surface Tension presents Shifted at Mercer, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday, Sept. 12. $15; mercer-sf.com
Since appearing seemingly out of nowhere in 2011, Shifted has released a steady stream of uncompromisingly dark minimal techno records driven by texture, atmosphere, and rhythm. Melodic patterns in his productions often take a backseat to subtly shifting percussion, which gives his tracks a hypnotic, droning quality, an experience which carries over into his long-form DJ sets, composed of the latest and greatest in underground techno. Surface Tension resident DJs will open up the night. (Disclaimer: The author is one of the promoters hosting this party.)
Direct to Earth presents Luke Hess, Dimi Angélis, and Bob Five at F8, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, Sept. 12. $15; feightsf.com
Heavyweight depth-charge techno from Detroit and Amsterdam collide at Direct to Earth's latest party. Luke Hess is best known for producing melodic, dubby techno on Omar S's FXHE label out of Detroit; he's also affiliated with Denmark's Echocord label, one of the premier dub techno labels in the world. He's joined by Dimi Angélis, a Dutchman with a long string of releases (mostly collaborations with Jeroen Search) that are heavier and not as dub-centric as Hess's, but no less melodic and captivating. The pair are joined by Bob Five, one of Direct to Earth's residents, who will warm up the dancefloor for the evening.
Summertime Radness Part Two with Tiger & Woods and Dam Funk at The Phoenix Hotel, 1-6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14. $20; thephoenixhotel.com
Celebrate the end of summer in style with the second Summertime Radness, a pool party at the Phoenix Hotel hosted by Lights Down Low and DJ Dials. Last time around, it was pure L.A.-in-S.F. vibes: lots of attractive people maxing and relaxing around the Phoenix's pool while a dancefloor raged nearby. Expect something similar this time around, with music provided by disco-edit kings Tiger & Woods, whose slow-burning grooves (their tunes slink along at around 115 bpm) remain a perennial San Francisco favorite. L.A. funk-freak Dam Funk is coming along, too, for a DJ set of electric space-funk, which is like listening to Prince on psychedelics.