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Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Top Five Parties in San Francisco This Weekend

Posted By on Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 8:34 AM

click to enlarge Trentemøller plays at Mezzanine on Sunday.
  • Trentemøller plays at Mezzanine on Sunday.

This is common knowledge, but take a second out of your morning and think for a minute: Right now, in Australia, people are experiencing April as a fall month. Frickin' weird, huh? Okay, now that you have that out of your system, consider this little round up of parties we've assembled for you. As usual, San Francisco's springtime party season offers some of the best nightlife entertainment of the year: we've got Danish pop techno acts, Berlin house oddballs, and even a rare showing of serious drum 'n' bass. Read on -- your weekend awaits.

Trentemøller at Mezzanine

9 p.m. Sunday, April 6. $25

With the release of The Last Resort in 2006, Anders Trentemøller established himself as one of the leading voices of Danish minimal techno. The work was a double-LP opus that painted a mellow, downtempo mood and found an audience outside of the techno world: Open-minded rockers, beat-addicted hip-hoppers, and nearly anyone on a comedown or bummer all seemed to enjoy its minimal aesthetic.

Yet that album's success has proven to be something of a burden for Trentemøller, as subsequent efforts have branched off in directions totally unrepresented by his most popular work. Nowadays, for instance, he basically makes indie rock.

Lost, Trentemøller's most recent album, came out in 2013 and received mixed reviews. The surprise of the record was its total adoption of the indie rock model hinted at by his 2010 LP Into the Great Wide Yonder, which featured live instrumentation and vocal work at times reminiscent of Mazzy Star (see "Sycamore Feeling"). But while Into the Great Wide Yonder still featured aspects of his prior work, his latest is a wholehearted embrace of conventional pop structure. The lead single, "Gravity," features Lower Dens' Jana Hunter, who guides the track from its initial buzzing synth effects into jangling guitars with a sweeping chorus more evocative of her own work than electronic dance music proper. The rest of the album follows suit with a whole grab bag of guest performers, such as Low's Mimi Parker and Blonde Redhead's Kazu Makino, who bring this music a good distance away from the world of dance.

That's exactly how Trentemøller likes it. "I never wanted to make club music," he says in an interview with The Quietus. It turns out that the runaway success of The Last Resort, and the ensuing classification of him as a minimal techno artist, were at odds with the fact that prior to that release he'd been playing in Danish alternative rock bands. He's long occupied a space between those two worlds, with a dance output on respected minimal techno labels -- like Poker Flat and 3rd Floor -- matched by the more poppy music of his albums. "Truth is, I don't see myself as part of the electronic music scene," he says. "Maybe I'm even more part of the indie scene, although that's also not quite right." But while his sound might not be techno proper, it does offer an accessible pop hybrid between the synthetic atmospheres of minimal techno and the emotive vocal work of indie rock -- all of which should be on display when he performs with a live band at Mezzanine this Sunday.

Advance DNB presents Quadrant & Iris at Monarch

9 p.m. Thursday, April 3. $5

After a long time gestating in the underground, drum 'n' bass seems poised for a comeback. Its recent incarnation takes all that was good about the '90s and '00s scenes -- tachycardic drum loops and ass-busting bass lines -- and adds a glossy sheen reminiscent of U.K. dubstep. Get into the feeling at Advance DNB, a new monthly dedicated to the style. Check out Quadrant and Iris' "The Raving Religion Promo Mix" for a better idea of how this might will go down.

Icee Hot presents Leon Vynehall and Anthony Parasole at Public Works Loft

10 p.m. Friday, April 4. $10

London house meets New York techno in the latest edition of Icee Hot. First up is Anthony Parasole, a longtime New Yorker whose work mixes East Coast aggression with the industrial brute of German techno (check out his Boiler Room mix). Joining him is Leon Vynehall, a London DJ whose output, like the recent "I Get Mine, You Get Yours," is defined by a steady drive and soulful, but not retro, flourishes.

We Are Monsters with Hugo Capablanca at Underground SF

10 p.m. Friday, April 4. $5-$10

Playful is not a term usually used to describe artists from Berlin. In the case of Hugo Capablanca, however, it works. His style reflects the irreverence at the heart of the German capital. He's a resident at the bizarro, carnival-like Salon zur Wilden Renate club, and his label, Discos Capablanca, champions dance music that's often cosmic, noisy, and disco-influenced. Listen to this recent mix he recorded on Beats in Space.

Surface Tension Residents Night at Mercer

9 p.m. Saturday, April 5. Free

Techno at its darkest is on the menu at Surface Tension. It's a new-ish party at Mercer that uses the space's black box atmosphere and superior Turbosound System to provide the closest analog to a Berlin techno bunker in San Francisco. This weekend's edition is no-frills, with a back-to-back set by L.A.-based '80s electronics outfit Soft Metals and local selector Rachel Aiello. Check out Surface Tension's Soundcloud for a few representative mixes.

-- @derekopperman


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Derek Opperman

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