Oakland is about to experience a renaissance of fresh, unpretentious, widely-influenced pop music, and Bells Atlas is going to be right there at the top. Intelligent, sensitive, and sexy, the arrangements and vocals get better with every listen.
A dark, Detroit drive-by from the often-playful South London beatmaker and longtime Danny Brown producer. Adventurous for sure, and an auspicious preview of whats to come ('Watch The Ants' and 'Old' both due this summer)
J. Loans still has a little ways to go in finding his own unique voice, but there's an undeniable, babyfaced appeal to his first solo outing. It's blazey, Oakland apartment rap; anthems for the dollar-store economy; caught between pre- and post-swag; keep ur cool.
Interests include wearing interesting hats, staying cold, cooking until crispy, N Ging A F. U O E N O, F U N E X?. If's satire only in the way that Das Racist are ad reps for Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Shout to Clarence Thomas and Schoolboy Q.
Kaytra is a monster with hip-hop beats, defying anyone who would slap him with a label, be it trap, bass, or Killa Cat muzik. One of my favorites on HW&W Recordings, an LA record label putting new beats on the map: bit.ly/17mqeSP
One of the best instrumental releases of last year. Ryan Hemsworth can squeeze in an Elliott Smith sample as easily as a freestyle ripped from an iPhone voice memo. Complete with dance-appropriate remixes for every track.
Not usually one for the dark/wistful one-two pop, and maybe it's because they're from the Bay (well, Sacramento), but Sister Crayon consistently hits the sweet spot. Music for being grounded on a Friday night in November and sneaking a toke under your duvet.
For a fleeting moment they looked like the greatest hope for East Bay indie pop. They're currently holed away putting the finishing touches on a second release, let's hope they bring the bliss once more.