This is not your parents' disco party.
Tambien, also known as Marvin and Valentino, are a pair of producers and DJs based out of Munich. Roughly speaking, you could call their music “disco,” but that doesn't do it justice. They start with a disco blueprint, for sure — 115-120 bpm rhythms and funky basslines, but instead of sampling funk and soul records, they incorporate sounds and influences from psychedelic outsider music, lending their productions and DJ sets a druggy, hazy, tripped-out feeling.
The pair runs a record shop in Munich called Public Possession, which also happens to be the name of their record label. Launched just last year, they've already released 12 records, many of which have sold out and are trading at high prices — and for good reason. The records, mostly from otherwise-unknown or up-and-coming artists, are all different flavors of disco and house, some feeling very Balearic (guitar flourishes, sun-kissed atmosphere) while others have a new-beat, body-music type of feel, paying tribute to Front 242 and all that. An easy, persistent groove is the thing they all share in common.
Tambien's DJ sets incorporate all of these vibes into one cohesive whole. They're a little bit house, a little bit disco, a little bit weird, and a little bit playful. Their spiritual sound-brethren seem to be New York's ESP Institute, run by renowned crate-digger Lovefingers, whose more-is-more approach mirrors Public Possession's throw-it-all-in-the-mix attitude. Rounding out the bill are Play It Cool's residents Matthew, Guillaume, and Derek, who will set the pace for the night until Tambien takes over.
Dax, Menno, and Public Works present Thugfucker, Doc Martin, Jay Tripwire, and more at Public Works, 9 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, Oct. 10. $12-$20; publicsf.com
Thugfucker, a pair of producers and DJs from New York and Iceland with a curiously unfriendly name, are premier practitioners of a new-ish breed of melodic, accessible house music that has become wildly popular. Not quite underground deep house, but not quite a mainstream affair, Thugfucker lies somewhere in the middle, crafting easy-to-love, disco-influenced tech-house with a knack for vocal flourishes. They're joined by one of America's hardest-working DJs, Doc Martin, who has been putting together marathon sets of house music of all stripes at almost every major club across the world since the mid-'90s. Jay Tripwire, a Canadian producer-DJ of similar pedigree, rounds out the bill with several local DJs providing support.
Surface Tension presents Surface Noise.001 with Prostitutes and Black Hat at F8, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, Oct. 10. $10-$12; feightsf.com
In the past several years, the seemingly dissimilar worlds of experimental and noise music and techno have had a remarkable meeting of the minds. Much of the most interesting techno of the recent past has come from producers who haven't traditionally made dance music at all. James Donadio (aka Prostitutes) is one such producer, approaching techno from a non-techno perspective, creating beautiful, mesmerizing dance music that sounds remarkably original. Black Hat, an Oakland-based sound artist who crafts brooding, ominous soundscapes with a dystopian sensibility, will be opening the night. Following the headliners, Surface Tension DJs close out the night with raucous techno and outsider house music till the wee hours. (Disclaimer: I'm one of the Surface Tension DJs.)
Ah, nostalgia. A curious thing about nostalgia — the more hyper-connected our society gets, the faster the pace at which we seem to consume it. In other words, it's already time to hark back to the early- and mid-aughts, when DFA Records reigned supreme, LCD Soundsystem was the band to end all bands, The Rapture wrote decent songs, and post-punk enjoyed a brief moment of mainstream success. At this party, you can tell yourself that Daft Punk is playing at your house and it seems like it might even come true. DJs Jamie Jams and Emdee will play all of the aforementioned hits and many more, bringing you back to junior year all over again.
Underground SF's newest monthly party focuses on the nebulous strains of techno and house music encompassed by the term “U.K. bass” — a terribly inadequate genre name if there ever was one. In broader terms, the genre describes the rubbery, bass-heavy tunes that started coming out of Britain once dubstep producers became fascinated with American house music: Think Boddika, Joy Orbison, Swamp 81. Also expect to hear more straightforward techno and some booty-shaking house music — think Dirtybird and the like. This month's iteration features Robert Jeffrey, a long-active San Francisco house DJ alongside Woo from neighborhood shop Vinyl Dreams and CM-4, party resident. If you're looking to party on a Sunday evening, this is the place to be.