Bay Area native Tony Molina is unabashedly fond of confessional pop, brooding hardcore, and Taco Bell. As principle songwriter of prolific San Francisco group Ovens, he recorded hundreds of poignant, brief pop songs with thick guitar riffs and blistering leads. But Molina simultaneously fronted a number of ferocious hardcore bands like Lifetime Problems and, currently, Caged Animal. "Don't Come Back" is the lead single from his solo debut LP, Dissed and Dismissed, which continues Ovens' basic, hook-laden guitar pop. But the acoustic intro heard in this video is actually a separate, 12-second track on the album entitled "Sick Ass Riff." The video is directed by Hannah Lew from San Francisco post-punk trio Grass Widow, whose resume also includes videos for the Mallard and Wax Idols.
There's practically an entire genre of music video that revolves around two basic elements: San Francisco at night, and black-and-white imagery. The latest quality contribution comes from fast-rising Bay Area rapper IamSu!, who finds Union Square, the Stockton Tunnel, and the general vibe of the nighttime city in monochrome a perfect setting for this moody cut off his $uzy 6 $peed mixtape. "Losin' Ft. CJ" finds the rapper in introspective mode, rhapsodizing about the sacrifices he's made to rise in the rap game. That sweet vocal hook and swirling background sample -- basically the whole backing track -- comes from Rochelle Jordan's song of the same name. But IamSu! and CJ definitely add some lyrical edge to Jordan's smooth nightscape. Check it out:
In advance of his Underground Celebrity EP, which will be available on iTunes and Amazon on April 16, rapper, dancer, and San Francisco State student Priceless Da Roc dropped an EA-Ski-produced single called "Hella Saucy" that features an accompanying dance video.
Priceless and Richmond DJ J12 are the duo behind last year's infectious J12 dance craze. After hearing "Slow Down" by Clyde Carson and the Team, Priceless and J12 made their own version of the song with a guest verse by Priceless and dance moves the two created for the track. Carson embraced the version and made it an official release many months after the original dropped, a wise move that gave his song a large boost. He also featured the J12 dance in the video -- by which time it had already spread through Bay Area schools and dancefloors.
As it turns out, though, the J12 was just the first move.
Legs is a newish indie-pop band from Oakland whose two original members, Jeffrey Harland and Matt Bullimore, met in a parking lot while trading Weezer bootlegs. They eventually started the band that became Legs -- a melodic low-key five-piece that will release its debut album on Loglady Records April 23.
First single "Two Colours" features sometime-vocalist Ameilia Adams on the low vocals, and puts all this band's strengths on display: buoyant melodies, understated (nearly lo-fi) production, and an interesting major/minor tension. The video is rather odd, but suits the song well: It consists of one steady shot of Adams, with colorful washes of smoke wafting around, and blends in footage of other members playing their instruments. Check it out, and catch Legs performing at an afternoon show this Sunday, March 24, at the Knockout with Pink Films and Reds, Pinks, and Purples.
Behold, Antwon. The San Jose rapper's End of Earth mixtape made our list of the best local rap releases of 2012, and his latest tape, last week's In Dark Denim, is even better. (Grab it here.) The highlight and first video is "3rd World Grrl," a gritty party-funk beat that features Antwon getting explicit about his sexual pursuits. That would be a fairly accurate description of all of In Dark Denim, but (as SPIN's Brandon Soderberg has noted), Antwon's sex raps stand apart: They come off less as annoying braggadocio and more as desperate liberation. There's a pleasure to lines like "We fuckin' in the morning like who cares who we waking," sure, but it comes in lieu of the darker moments that surround "3rd World Grrl" on In Dark Denim. Suitably, then, this song has an all-fun video, where a puppet Antwon gets his silly-ass mack on in the club. Watch it, grab In Dark Denim, and let's all wait excitedly to see where Antwon goes next.
Oakland's League510 starts off the year with a new video for their single "Representa". Using a hook cleverly cribbed from Kreayshawn's "Gucci Gucci" ("I put that on my potna, I put that on my family/ Oakland city represent, address me as 'Your Majesty'"), "Representa," which first dropped as just a song in April 2012, frames "The Town" as a place of pride. There's no boasting about pimping or gunplay, just a genuine happiness to hail from such a vibrant place. TK, Mont, Mr. Knowitall, and DJ Blacksmith bring this to light in the video not only with its many glimpses of the physical beauty of Oakland, but by expressing their enjoyment of themselves and their art.
Has anyone ever gone to a wax museum and not left feeling creeped out? Seems unlikely, and even more so after this gorgeous -- if somewhat unsettling -- new clip from Magic Trick, the solo project of Fresh & Onlys frontman Tim Cohen. Directed by Ryan Browne, "Weird Memory" casts Cohen as a baseballer halfway between a feeling and a memory, lost among the waxy faces of ex-presidents and international revolutionaries and grand dames of the screen. (That's when he's not alone in the dark, being hypnotized by the 'tube.) The video was actually filmed at The Wax Museum at Fisherman's Wharf, where the odd juxtapositions (Einstein, Jesus, Reagan?) well suit the glassy melancholy of the song. Speaking of which, this is one of the prettiest Magic Trick tunes we've heard yet, all beachy guitar melody and shimmering chords. Check it out:
Recession stories: Many people have 'em, and some are worse than others. Here's one from local funnymen Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits about the sad, shitty things one must do to make rent. Shitty, like, literally: "Blues Turn Brown" finds Mr. Ebola rather depressed by the piles of mutt feces whose removal has now become his occupation. The video finds the bandmembers working in a grocery store, contemplating theft, and impersonating elderly ladies in order to poach a bottle of wine. It's pretty funny. And it's catchy enough that you might find yourself humming about "scooping up dog shit from my uncle's lawn" for a good portion of the day. Also, it has dogs -- lots of dogs:
As settings for music videos go, this is one of the more interesting ideas we've seen: S.F. MC A-1 (aka Adam Traore) filmed this video for "Double Dose" in the streets of San Francisco right after the Giants won the World Series. Amid the toilet-paper-throwing and sign-waving and Henny-passing, there are fires, vandalized buses, and some seriously grouchy members of the San Francisco Police Department. Things get dicey a few times, especially toward the end, but A-1 keeps his cool, rhyming pretty much on-lyric throughout the whole thing despite many, many distractions. It makes for a good rap video, but "Double Dose" is almost more interesting as a street-level document of what really happened the night in 2012 that the Giants won it all:
What would happen if District 9 happened in the City the by the Bay? It'd look something like this new clip for "My Revenge," from local rockers King Loses Crown. The super high-quality clip shows a San Francisco ruled by robots -- they're in the Japanese Tea Garden, on the streets of the Mission, in the dirty bathroom of your favorite bar. And they're, well, kinda scary. The clip was directed by Jim Mitchell, who did the visual effects for films like the Harry Potter series, Sleepy Hollow, and Jurassic Park III, so the robot street people and robots making out are unsettlingly vivid. King Loses Crown provides the driving, industrial-rock soundtrack to one of the best local music videos we've seen all year. Check it out: