Haven't you heard? California is headed for a drought. We recommend you do your part and switch over to liquor instead -- er, well, maybe throw a mixer in there for hydration or something. Ninety-five percent of the population agrees: consuming alcohol is much more socially acceptable in the company of others. So help us all and put the tap water down in favor of a few cocktails at the following events, which trade in quality techno, cosmic boogie, and spliffed-out hip-hop. Read on -- your weekend awaits.
9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1. $6
If it's synthetic, funky, and soulful -- it's boogie. The past 10 years have seen a revival of interest in the obscure R&B sounds of the 1980s. This has resulted in the creation of "boogie," an invented collector's genre that focuses on obscure artists working in the vein of groups like the Gap Band and D-Train. In San Francisco, this style is usually associated with the long-running Sweater Funk parties held weekly at the Knockout. However, there are also a few local acts whose funked-up and electronic sound draws cues from the music of this period. One such act is Loose Shus, a project started by Dave Luzius, which he describes as a hazy and nostalgic remembrance of the music he grew up with in the 1980s.
Mention boogie to Luzius, though, and you're bound to get an eye-roll. "That's for other people to decide," he says, "I don't really see it as 'boogie'; the sounds are too modern, too sci-fi. I started making it naturally off a recollection of the past, and didn't even know it was a curated genre until Randy played some stuff for me." The Randy he's referring to is Randy "Hottobo" Ellis, a San Francisco DJ and producer who collaborates with Luzius and co-owns Voltaire Records, the label behind Loose Shus' latest self-titled EP.
But it's not hard to understand why the connection might be made: "Ladies," the lead single off his new release, cruises along smoothly, like the sonic equivalent of an '85 Oldsmobile Cutlass. There's a chunky arpeggiated bassline and tough Linndrum percussion made soft by noodling analog synthesizer keywork and fat washes of jazzy piano chords. Listening to it recalls the early instrumental works of similarly minded L.A. producer Dâm-Funk, whom Luzius credits as an influence: "He's the pinnacle, but I'm mostly pulling from Gap Band, Dazz Band ... Michael Jackson, and modern artists like Chromeo and the Valerie guys."
In fact, some of Luzius' music has been adopted by modern boogie dancefloors. "Featurette," from 2011, was picked up and played by DJs serving that circuit, like Mayer Hawthorne, the L.A. DJ, collector, and crooner. Earlier this year, Loose Shus turned in a remix of Hawthorne's latest single, "The Walk," which remakes the '70s soul ballad as a dystopian slow burn in the vein of Face Value-era Phil Collins, but funkier. Which, in a weird way, gets to the heart of how Luzius himself views his project. "I'm making stuff off vague memories. It's nostalgic, it's playful, and kind of weird. But there's a lot lost in translation from how I remember it and the reality of how it was." You can get lost in his interpretation when Loose Shus plays live as the headliner of the latest Push the Feeling party this Saturday.
9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31. $5-$10
There's no shortage of hip-hop-leaning bass music in San Francisco clubs these days, but not all of it is created equally. Enter the Rootnote Collective, a loosely affiliated international group of artists whose output is unified by a love of wonky rhythms, blunted samples, and hazy keyboard work. This Friday, the crew takes over Public Works with sets from leading lights like BoomBaptist, Dibiase, and Ashtrejinkins for a night of spaced-out and futuristic beat wizardry.
9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31. $10-$20
Philadelphia, though often eclipsed by a certain other major East Coast city, is rich with dance music history. No one celebrates it better than King Britt, a Philly native whose output, which extends back to the '90s, splits the difference between lush Philadelphia International-style disco (his Sylk 130 project) and extremely deep tribal house (his classic "Tribal Confusion" as E-Culture with Josh Wink). Check out his Boiler Room mix.
10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1. $5
You might need to travel to Berlin for an all-day, all-night techno experience, but the next best thing can be had at Surface Tension. It's a new party at Project One that effortlessly blends the genre's current dub and industrial fixations with cues pulled from the sound's roots in '80s European synth-pop. This time it's going residents-only, with local selectors serving it up right on the club's impressive Turbosound system. Check out Surface Tension's Soundcloudfor some mixes.
10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1. $5
After six years as the city's premiere '90s rock party, Debaser is calling it quits. For the final edition, it's returning to the Knockout for one last night of flannel-clad sing-alongs and good-natured mosh pits. Expect all your favorite grunge and pop-punk tunes, courtesy of resident selectors Jamie Jams and Emdee.