Nate Brenner is the bassist for experimental looping heroes tUnE-yArDs and Oakland jazz trio Beep! Now he’s giving a solo project, Naytronix, a whirl. Self-coined as an evil dance band, Naytronix recorded 20 songs before skimming the final cut to 11 for his debut LP, Dirty Glow.
Brenner said, "Over the last three years I've spent a lot of time in a van … so I think I just wanted to make a record that would sound good from beginning to end while cruising down a highway and hold the listener's interest the whole time." I haven’t heard the whole record, so it's yet to be determined if my undiagnosed A.D.D. will be able to self-control for the entirety of Dirty Glow, but I do like the video for the first single, “Robotix,” watch below. It features the Golden Gate Bridge, a Bart ride, a sailing adventure on the Bay… and a gorilla. Okay, I lied. With all of the Bay Area goodness and experimental dance mixing, I realllyyyy like it! Axelson, book this guy for a Popscene DJ set!
Two weeks ago, I was departing for Coachella Weekend 2. This was the first Coachella I’d ever attended, so I had no expectations except that there’d be a cool hologram if I didn’t melt before the end of the weekend. While I did come close to sweating every morsal of liquid from every pore in my body, I lived (and missed the hologram in order to be back at my job in San Francisco by 9:00 am the following morning).
So although I didn’t get down with Tupac, I did catch three of the Bay Area’s elite and felt quite proud for our little part of the music contributing world.
First up was Oakland’s Wallpaper. The electro-rock fivesome kicked off the festivities in one of the tents and lead singer Ricky Reed was arguably more excited to be there than any of the fans. He gushed about having been an attendee at Coachella for many years past and that it was mind-blowing to have been invited to perform. The synchronized drumming and adorable pink-haired singer were definitely a fun way to get things started (and in my case to begin applying sun block at rapid fire pace).
Later that first day, I struggled to leave the shade to catch San Francisco’s golden boys Girls at one of the outdoor stages. Obviously, I couldn’t miss Mr. Owens and his amazing backup singers, so I dragged my ass to the sun soaked crowded field. I’ve seen Girls before (read my review here) and while I think the backup belters are the best thing going on in that group, I’m pretty sure everyone else in attendance walked away saying it was a favorite from the weekend. Sometimes, I just can’t help but swing against the current, what can I say?
However, when it comes to the East Bay’s tUnE-yArDs, I am part of the in-crowd. I fucking love everything about Merrill Garbus and her saxophonists and her bassist and their whole vibe and their set on the second day was just GREAT. That the band is able to reproduce its sounds so flawlessly live is just WHOA. Plus, she did this really awesome bit where she had the audience close their eyes then turn away from the stage. When she had us open our eyes to the beautiful Indio Mountains that she was viewing from her vantage point, she exclaimed something along the lines of, “Look at where we are! How cool!!” And it was...even if it was anything but cool in temperature.
Oakland music producer Elephant & Castle (aka David Vincent Reep) recently released two videos for new tracks, “I Will” and “En Memoria” (featuring fellow Oakland darlings tUnE-YarDs), off his forthcoming album Transitions, out Tuesday, March 27 via Plug Research.
The nomadic, young producer traveled around Colorado, Texas, California and London, where he was inspired by the Elephant and Castle neighborhood's blues and soul sound. After returning to the US, Reep became fascinated with rave music and started interning at a studio where he self-released a 7” of his own experimentations. Next he released the acclaimedAnalogue EP, mastered by Daddy Kev, plus a bunch of singles available for streaming on Bandcamp. On Transitions, expect more jazz and ambient sounds similar to artists such as DJ Shadow, Flying Lotus and Burial.