What do rap, hip-hop, and R&B from the States have in common with dancehall, grime, funky house, and garage ("garridge") from Britain? An awful lot, as it turns out: The collision between these scenes and sounds have produced some of the most thrilling, futuristic electronic music of the past decade. And BREAD's latest party features the San Francisco debut of three Britons working in this continuum.
DBM stands for Deadboy and Murlo, a meeting in the middle for two artists with different sound palettes but similar approaches. Deadboy is known for high-contrast technicolor house music with heavy garage influences — like his mega-tune "Wish U Were Here" — while Murlo produces vivid, synth-centric grime. As DBM, they throw all these sounds into a blender, leavening the mix with American rap and R&B.
Blackdown is the co-founder of London's Keysound Recordings, a record label that played a crucial role in expanding the horizons of dubstep and grime. He's also a phenomenal DJ, one of the scene's most underrated. BREAD's resident DJs will get the party started.
Other worthy parties this week
Bézier Record Release Party with Scott Moore at The Eagle, 9 p.m. - 2 a.m. Thursday, July 21. $8; sf-eagle.com
Bézier, the synth-wielding alias of Honey Soundsystem member Robert Yang, just released a fantastic new EP on Honey's HNYTRX record label, which I reviewed in these pages several weeks ago. This Thursday, he plays live to celebrate its release. In person, Bézier is a synth maestro, corralling his army of machines like a conductor, coaxing forth vivid, neon-colored Italo-techno-synth-pop. Scott Moore, guitarist for S.F. queer punk outfit Flesh World, joins Yang, performing on synths.
Brouhaha presents Huerco S. and MGUN at F8, 9 p.m. - 2 a.m. Thursday, July 21. $10-$20; feightsf.com
Brouhaha's latest shindig brings together two of the newest, most exciting, and uncompromisingly weird artists from the contemporary American techno underground. Huerco S. hails from Kansas City but is based in Brooklyn. He's known for hazy, dreamy, murky house music, and beyond: His latest record is beatless, drifting ambient music. MGUN, meanwhile, hails from Detroit. One of a new cadre of producers from the Motor City, MGUN makes left-field techno inspired by the legacy and sounds of his hometown.
FACE International featuring Måns Ericson at Bruno's, 9:30 p.m. - 2 a.m. Friday, July 22. $5; brunossf.com
Heavy disco and esoteric Balearic jam purveyors FACE usher in a new concept, hosting a series of internationally renowned selectors in the side room at Bruno's, the Mission Street nightclub. First up is Sweden's Måns Ericson, half of duo Rollerboys, with a freewheeling, open-format approach to DJing. Expect to hear weird disco, psych rock, international sounds, slo-mo house, and more — not club tunes, but perfect for vibing out with your crew. FACE resident Eug and PLAzA warm up.
Galaxy Radio's Goth Prom with Topazu and Jon Hicks at The Knockout,
9 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday, July 23; theknockoutsf.com
What's that, you say? You didn't go to prom because you were too busy being goth? Ah, 'tis a tale as old as time. Worry not: Galaxy Radio is hosting its fourth annual Goth Prom, and it's as fun (and silly) as you might expect, given the name. Special guests Topazu, who helms the Infinite Beat show on Radio Valencia, and Jon Hicks, local musical anthropologist-slash-vinyl obsessive, join the Galaxy Radio DJs for a black-clad dance party.
Notable Local Records:
Freakquency Space Mind Continuum by The Love Dimension; self-released
The ghost of San Francisco past looms large these days. Our beautiful city is caught in the midst of an identity crisis — it seems, at times, in danger of coming apart at the seams. That's why The Love Dimension's latest EP, Freakquency Space Mind Continuum, feels like such a nice surprise. It's a short, sweet, delightfully fun listen, a summery, surf-y, psychedelic revision of a time when life in San Francisco wasn't so complicated.
"Short and sweet" are the key words here: The EP is barely 15 minutes long. But that's OK: The tunes are so catchy and easy on the ears they encourage repeat listens.
The EP opens with "Together Again," its best and most memorable tune. It's a blast to listen to, a fun, playful, psychedelic pop ditty featuring stick-in-your-head, surf-inspired guitar licks, perfectly retro harmonized vocals, and simple, sing-along lyrics.
"When Soul Love Begins" sounds like a classic garage rock tune. "Surf Heart," much as its name implies, owes its existence to Dick Dale. "Get Real Wild" and "It Could Be Awhile," a song in two parts, is my least favorite on the EP, but it's still remarkably catchy, to its credit.
Fuzzy, hazy, lo-fi production is the rug that really ties the room together. You won't find any new ground broken on Freakquency, but sometimes unabashed nostalgia is all you need.
ReBuild / Broadcast Frequency by Dimentia; self-released
Dimentia is an Oakland artist with deep roots in the "breakcore" scene, a very particular subgenre of electronic music in which jungle-inspired breakbeats (hence "break-") meet relentless kick drums at high tempos (borrowed from "hardcore techno," hence "-core"), all covered in an aggressive industrial sheen. These two recent EPs, released two weeks apart and similar in tenor, see Dimentia broadening his horizons, exploring electro influences and sound design.
"Electro" is a term with a wide swath of meaning; I use it here in the classical sense: Think Kraftwerk's Computer World. "ANS," the tune that opens Broadcast Frequency, is electro in its purest form, a brilliant club-tempo jam featuring cybernetic synthesizers, heavily processed vocals, and infectious drum programming. Its eponymous track and "Gush," also, are electro through and through, and not coincidentally, are my favorites across both EPs.
The tail end of Broadcast and the entirety of ReBuild are faster and more aggressive. "Static Voices" and "Empty Promises" are full-throttle, high-tempo electro cuts, not unlike what you might find on a DJ Stingray record.
They're solid, but I keep coming back to the first three tracks on Broadcast, the straightforward electro cuts. They possess a funky swing and have room to breathe, something I don't find in the EP's other tracks. If Dimentia doubles down on these electro vibes moving forward, consider me hooked.