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Wicked Man Releases Single - Soil Leaking Water

Oakland's Wicked Man is an undeniably unique act with influences ranging from Fela Kuti and Ali Farka Touré to the songwriting prowess of John Prine and Andrew Bird. The group’s new single, Soil Leaking Water is an eclectic blend of bluesy fingerpicking, soaring synths, electronic drums, and darkly haunting vocal melodies.

The track is birthed in sounds of sweltering, trance­-like guitar licks, comes of age in its jazzy­pop­funk groove, and builds strength with eclectic frontman Yonatan Tietz’s soulful vocals, keyboard master Andrew Kunz’s synth work and drummer/percussive coordinator Max Denny’s self­-sampled electronic functions. As a band, their sound has evolved and expanded upon the bold 2014 debut Fingership EP, growing into a more intricate tapestry of fantastically enticing rhythms that leaves us all chomping for more.

Give this track a listen. Hell, give this track ten listens. Put it on at yer July 4th backyard BBQ. It’ll grow on you, that’s for sure. Wicked Man will be releasing their next EP in September and touring the West Coast in the fall. More info is available on their official website, wicked­man.com. - Justin Kohlberg

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Solovox Gets Funky For The Stumbling Hippies – LOL stage at What The Festival

After an enigmatic set by Big Gigantic came to a close, the crowd stumbled and scattered like a group of flying around a lightbulb that just went dud. It was now time to skip into the WTF’s signature Illuminated Forest but not before a quick omen with people holding a sign that says “We Need New Friends.”

Breathe in. Breathe out.

“Ommmmmmmmmmmmmm”

The path leading you into the forest and down to the LOL stage is steep, and full of bright distractions so we had to lean far back almost on our heels as we slowly entered. As we descended lower, the faint sounds of synthesizers and electronic beats found its way through the trees and into my ears. With each step, it got louder, and the fuzzy effects started to go straight to my brain. Eventually, I could distinguish the electric tones and piano solos. They were coming from Portland’s producer and keyboard wizard, Solovox.

He began carefully blending in layers of synths over his mixes that wrapped in hip hop, break beats, and rock and roll into a dance floor explosion. Once everything was layered he would go off on a keyboard tangent, crushing his way through his own music. Suddenly, the beat came to a rest and he unleashed a furious bluesy piano intro that fed into the Beastie Boys belting out the opening verse to “Pass the Mic.” The voices of Mike D and MCA were suddenly being overpowered by the beginning of another solo that turned the course of the set with a little prog rock.

The LOL stage is set up almost at the bottom of the forest. It’s where yoga and other classes took place and there were several platforms spotted in different locations leading down to the stage. This set up created a choose-your-own adventure format. Some plats were full and some you had all to yourself, but Solovox was reaching to all depths and delivering a transcendental performance in the middle of the woods.

A couple of songs and several more volatile keyboard solos, the set came to a close and a crowd that had to stumble its way into the set was left with that same disorientation and forced back to reality until they found their next escape.

-Photos and story by Colin Hudson

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Device Grips Make a Crowd that Felt Good Feel Great

As the sun was beginning to go down on the What The Festival’s final day and all the spirits were just about in the right place, Device Grips travelled from Portland to life these souls even higher. They set up their big sound on the main stage and right around 6:30 they walked onstage and went into a slow build up with long instrumental sections and trumpet solos before diving into “Coke Infusion” off of 2013’s Year of Boomslang.

A set that hovered around the first ten minutes going in between a psychedelic jam and progressive rock grove was suddenly pulled together Tyler Jon’s rapping. Hopping around these elements usually doesn’t work for those that try it, but Device Grips experience and fluidity shined through as worked in this signature sound on such big stage. They then played some newer material and unleashed “Traffic” a vocal intense jam behind flashy drums and a solid groove soothed right into “Last Days.” Both these songs are off of Forth World, released last month.

Device Grips played several more songs with guitar solos, smooth bass lines, and captivating hip hop that eased a crowd with few working muscles left to begin a final night of dancing. After three days of hard electronica, it was refreshing to see a full band. Especially one with the showmanship and suave of these local musicians.

-Photos and story by Colin Hudson

 

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Beth Israel- "Love"

If you weren’t familiar with Beth Israel’s music before, hearing new track “Love” all on its own might easily see you placing this band within the realm of some math-rockier 80s avant-garde synth-using stuff, but it just as easily feels like something that entirely (and almost gleefully) confuses genre labeling. The whole track is so washed out it actually does sound like you’re hearing it through tin, and the 80s comes in hard with the breakdown riff that starts the song and is dropped throughout it, chopping up the steady synthpop beat and the shoegaze drone that is laid over the track. It’s fucking fun shit, and it keeps up the tongue-in-cheek, “not doing it for the praise” attitude that the iconoclastic and semi-secretive Beth Israel has cultivated over the past few years.

“Love” is cut right out of Beth Israel’s recent The Loaner EP (which you can here in its weird-ass entirety here), and it’s one of like three parts of that 15~ minute record that could actually be called a traditional song. The rest is some strange, creative business, so if you’re into the weird factor of “Love” (or just weird abstract shit in general) you’ll find much to get into in The Loaner as well, because “Love” is probably the least weird part of the whole strange shebang (It literally starts with a minute+ of British imperial orchestra music, with no explanation. Our vote is that is pretty awesome, even if it doesn’t make for easy jamming.).

“Love” is below, The Loaner is here, and Beth Israel is all up in your brain with their whacked out post-punk.

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Premiere: Rin Tin Tiger - Dandelion Dream + News on Their New Album

The San Francisco based avant country rock band, Rin Tin Tiger is gearing up to release their third full length album entitled, Burial Grounds. There’s something very charming about the music Rin Tin Tiger makes. You don’t see and hear a lot of country music coming out of the Bay Area as of late, but RTT has a way of using light reverb, and alternative rock compositional styles that probably draws you in a bit more than a traditional country band's music would.  With that said, country is at the very forefront of their sound and it’s great that they’re not afraid of that. You can hear elements of Sonic Youth and meanderings of shoegaze and folk music in their songs as well.

We’re lucky to be able to premiere a fresh track from Rin Tin Tiger's upcoming album called Dandelion Dream. Not all music has to be thrashy or pop oriented. Dandelion Dream is a simple love song that shows no false pretenses of trying to be something it’s not. If you’re looking for a RTT track that is faster paced, check out their first single, Small Cuts that Bleed A Lot. Their music is confident, fun and a bit different. Make sure you pre-order Burial Grounds in CD or digital format via their bandcamp or Itunes.

Rin Tin Tiger will be performing live at their double album release show with Owl Paws plus Growwler at The Independent on July 10th.

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