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Black Masala, frantic world funk

DC based Black Masala continues lighting up venues across the DMV with their signature blend of Eastern European Dixie funk.  Think polka and funk make strange bedfellows?  Think Again!  With a mix of screaming brass, strong guitar/bass riffs, and frenetic singing, the 9-piece band brings the funk to every show.  And with two albums and counting, the band just keeps on moving forward. 

Catch Black Masala January 27th at the New Deal Café in Greenbelt, MD, or February 18th at Big Chief in DC.  

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Best Bay Area Music Videos 2016

Goodbye 2016! As I dawn on my fourth year as editor of The Deli Magazine San Francisco in 2017, I want to thank all of the bands, managers, publicists and readers for sticking with us through the ups and the downs. My heart and prayers go out to the families and friends of the victims of Ghost Ship and to all of the artists and creatives who have been displaced due to the rising costs of housing throughout the Bay Area. Stay Strong. The Deli is with you!

Local music journalist, Rachel Milani has done an amazing job of compiling the 10 Best Bay Area Music Videos! I thank her and hope you dig these amazing music videos!

Associate Editor,
Jordannah Elizabeth

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down - “Astonished Man”

How Thao Nguyen isn’t selling out shows at Madison Square Garden yet is honestly perplexing, especially after the release of this year’s A Man Alive which is the best album yet from Ngyuen and her band The Get Down Stay Down. In their video “Astonished Man” we get this edgy, indie pop band in all their glory. The song starts with the same stark punchiness from the drums (or drum machine) that leads many of the band’s best tracks. Straightforward guitar riffs quickly steal the scene, commanding attention with confidence and not to mention the tease of those sexy bass synthesizers throughout the track. The story that unfolds begs the question, is it just a little harmless knife play or are we seeing our protagonist experiencing the very real pain of estrangement from love?

LSD and the Search for God - “(I Don’t Think That We Should) Take It Slow”

Always gorgeous, eternally dreamy, it is so good to have LSD and the Search for God back on the scene. Since the video for “(I Don’t Think That We Should) Take It Slow” was released at the beginning of this year, the album it comes from Heaven Is A Place has been touted by more than one best of the year lists for shoegaze and dream pop. Deservedly so, what more do you want from a band who brought back both psych and shoegaze? Sure, the instagram aesthetic has grown stale in many ways but not here, not with this band. The band kicks around a hazy San Francisco haloed in rainbow light, our beloved city is almost obscured by all the filters and lens flare but remains recognizable to any self-respecting local.

Con Brio - “Free & Brave”

Filmed throughout West Oakland, Con Brio’s video for their single “Free & Brave” takes one of the most uplifting stances toward the current socioeconomic and political strife rampant not only in our metropolitan here in the Bay but the United States at large. The band manages to make a colorful scene out of the symbolic black and white aesthetic of the video. Groovy frontman Ziek McCarter never drops the funky, psychedelic soul this band is known for while paying respect to such notable historical figures as MLK and Trayvon Martin. What Con Brio has created here is a new national anthem aimed at restoring faith in our ability to overcome a time fraught with racial violence and divisions. This is the new US of A and we couldn’t ask for a better messenger.

Waterstrider - “Nowhere Now (Acoustic)”

Sure, it’s the simplest on this list in terms of production or storyline but Waterstrider, and particularly frontman Nate Salman who is the sole player in this acoustic version of their song “Nowhere Now”, belong on any list of the Bay’s best music. Salman’s signature falsetto is the foundation for much of Waterstrider’s music, though under normal circumstances their killer percussion section cannot be ignored. But to have that voice here in all its stripped down glory is a beautiful addition to their oeuvre. We’ve all wondered who we are and where we’re going. “Nowhere Now” tackles those overwhelming questions with unsurpassed grace.

Hot Flash Heat Wave - “Bye Bye Baby”

In the video for “Bye Bye Baby”, Hot Flash Heat Wave reboots that lo-fi VHS-thetic that has remained appealing for at least a few years now. The videotape is the bondage in the disappointed story these guys tell about a potential relationship that never gets off the ground. Sexy and silly at the same time, we get to see the babe in question writhing in videotape as the guy who wants her wistfully drools over found footage realizing that he will never have her. It’s like watching a bootleg 90s teen movie, endearing and painful at the same time in an awkward quest for sexual gratification.

Sugar Candy Mountain - “Windows”

The desert has certainly had an influence on Sugar Candy Mountain who formed in Oakland only to travel down south for an ongoing stint in Joshua Tree this year. The switch in scenery has actually seemed to make them more themselves than ever. That is, a sun-soaked psychedelic journey that transcends the senses while graciously never getting too heady. Since then, the band dropped 666, an album less foreboding than the name suggests, and this summer put out the video for single “Windows”. It could be the soundtrack to one of Tarantino’s alt. Western masterpieces with a creeping, twangy opening that eases into its pop backbone as the video explores a dreamlike desert landscape.

Rituals of Mine - “Ride or Die”

More Oakland-love, this time coming from Rituals of Mine FKA Sister Crayon in their video for “Ride or Die, their single from album Devoted. To start, the exquisite videography alone beautifully unveils the powerful talent of this Sacramento-bred duo. Melancholic and evocative, the voyeuristic scenes show culture as synonymous with joy. At the same time the lyrics convey so well the opposite feeling, the longing for someone to love and be loved by. The chorus rises powerfully from a down-tempo well of emotion spread across 3 ½ minutes of layered vocals and icy, minimalistic hip-hop beats.

TV Heads - “Chin Up”

TV Heads is a brand new band and though they are currently based in LA, frontwoman Angelica Tavella has enough roots in the Bay Area that they cannot fully shed that association, and why would they want to? Her own record label OIM signed the band and they have since released the video for their single “Chin Up” from debut EP Total Fucker. A punk-wave attitude dipped in lush 90s harmonies, guitar, and synths comprise the core of the TV Heads’ approach. Half party and half baptism, the video for “Chin Up” depicts a cry for salvation while the band moves through a modern world hell bent on getting the better of them.

Spooky Mansion and Tino Drima - “A Space God Appears”

More short film than pure music video, we got a two for one deal when Spooky Mansion and Tino Drima paired up to make “A Space God Appears”. References abound in the 10 minute flick about a goofy battle in outer space, not to mention the apropos timing with the new Star Wars movie, while we see the dudes duke it out to a soundtrack of crooning psychedelic doo-wop. This video is cool because it is a great example of the spirit of creative playfulness that is born of a bunch of musicians just trying to do what they love. It’s young but it is also undeniably fun and at the end of a year that has been heartbreaking in many ways maybe that is enough to make it great.

Perhapsy - “All My Soul Swallowed”

Simply the showcasing the beauty of the greater Bay Area’s gorgeous natural landscape, we see Derek Barber of Perhapsy navigating a surreal and perhaps purely imaginary world in his video for “All My Soul Swallowed” from his sophomore album Me Tie Dough-ty Walker. Is it a weird acid trip or a metaphor for some hidden part of the mind of this rising local talent? We see our main man followed through the woods by a mysterious (half of a) woman and just generally being his dreamy, indie pop self while playing a rad custom guitar. Shout out to the vintage Nintendo controller that seems to keep trying to start a fire in the woods.





Best Bay Area Songs 2016

Written by Guest Editor: Stefan Aronsen of SF Intercom and Balanced Breakfast Industry Meetup

As an avid concert-goer and music promoter, I listen to a lot of music from Bay Area bands. However, I don't find myself listening to very many albums! I realize my being a music enthusiast that doesn't listen to albums might be considered a contradiction. Shouldn't a promoter of bands also promote full albums? The problem is, most fans don't listen to full albums, why should I be any different? Thus, instead of promoting people to listen to music in a way that they are uncomfortable with, I am choosing to promote a system that works.

Full albums can be intimidating for bands to produce. I regularly advocate that bands release singles instead of waiting to release music until they have enough songs to fill an album. The following is a playlist from 10 bands that released awesome music in 2016.

Fantastic Negrito - In The Pines
Many people discovered Xavier Dphrepaulezz and his band Fantastic Negrito when he submitted his song Lost in A Crowd to NPR’s Tiny Desk Competition in 2015 and won. However, my first introduction to him was as a guest speaker at Creative Mornings. The way he talked about his life, his songs and his goals made me want to listen to his music. While Xavier has had his roadblocks in the past, it seems there is no stopping him now.

CON BRIO - Paradise
I hadn’t heard Ziek McCarter’s band Con Brio before I saw them live at the North Beach Festival in 2014. I was blocks away when I first heard the exciting sounds of his band. As I got closer I was drawn in by his energetic performance. Did you know he does flips on stage? I didn’t until I heard him speak at SF Music Expo about how he originally joined Con Brio. With this new found knowledge I can’t wait to see them live again.

HEARTWATCH - Never Let You Go
How long have you been listening to Claire George’s band HEARTWATCH? Perhaps you were a fan when they were called The Tropics? Either way … you know them now … so you must be aware of their exciting sound. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them perform live at BottleRock, The Independent and Claire solo at OB Music & Art Festival. Never heard of HEARTWATCH? Listen now and find their next show near you.

The Y Axes - Umbra
Do you love science, video games and nerdiness all wrapped up and delivered in an indie space rock style? Hopefully the answer is yes. If so, check out the high energy vocals of Alexi Belchere and her band The Y Axes. Since they formed in 2011, the band has come a long way in finding their sound and look. I was first introduced to the band in 2013 at a Balanced Breakfast meetup. The band’s guitarist Devin Nelson showed me a picture of his band, since then half of the faces in that picture have changed. With Devin and Alexi changing their bandmates they also created a more mature sound.

Kendra McKinley - Fine As A Vine
When Kendra arrived in San Francisco, a friend suggested she check out Balanced Breakfast. She quickly made many friends, played shows and recruited band mates. She managed to take her solo looped sound and progressed it to a full sound. She sounds amazing on the stage at The FIllmore or in the woods at DIO Fest.

Down and Outlaws - Lay Me Down
I’ve seen Peter Danzig and his band Down and Outlaws at a lot of theirs shows in San Francisco. I got their band patch at their show at Noise Pop 2016. I wear it proudly on my every day sweater. Though I’ve seen them plenty of times in San Francisco, my favorite experience is still spending time with them at SxSW 2016.

Panic is Perfect - Turn Back Into Stars
Managed by Guerilla Management, the same company that works with Con Brio, Mike Hoffman and his band have finally made it to the festival circuit. For many bands being selected to play major festivals like SxSW, Live 105 BFD Festival, and BottleRock is a major goal and a sign of success. Get ready for some more exciting shows from Panic is Perfect in 2017.

Dangermaker - I Won't Let You Down
I love spending time with the members of SF band Dangermaker. It doesn’t matter if it’s an intimate conversation at Mutiny Radio with lead singer Adam Brookes or being at a live show watching bass player Neko Fuzzmonk’s hair blow in the wind like a supermodel.

Battlehooch - EVERYDAY
If you haven’t met a member of Battlehooch, you must not like local music. With 6+ members in the band, they are larger than most Bay Area bands. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all the members of a band, thus my friends would often joke that they were in Battlehooch. Would you be able to know if they were telling the truth?

Abbot Kinney - It's the Middle of the Night
If you’ve been to LA you might know the landmark in Venice, California called Abbot Kinney Blvd. Hailing from Los Angeles, lead singer Jared Swanson has brought more than just a landmark name, he has also shared a lot of his industry knowledge with our San Francisco friends. Over the years a lot of bands have relocated from SF to LA. Abbot Kinney is a reminder to local bands that we have a scene and you can be discovered and experience a lot of success here in the Bay Area.





Soul artist on the Rise: Lady Moon & The Eclipse play Brooklyn Bowl on 1/30

With 2016 reaching its end, it is only right to look back on the past year to see what fresh tunes and artists escaped our searches through New York's hectic music scene. One such gem is Lady Moon & The Eclipse, a dynamic multi-genre roots and world band that released their EP, Believe, back in February. As their astrological bandname might suggest, every track on the record is steeped in some kind of cosmic spirituality, but that mood is manifested in distinct ways throughout the project. Each tune has an instrumental that takes influence from different genres, such as the soulful slow-jam "Rollercoaster" (video below), or upbeat, funky "Travel the World." These differences create striking contrasts, while the lone staple on each track is Ngonda Badila's cool vocals and clairvoyant lyrics. This band is one to look out for in the new year, and you can see them live on 1/30 at the Brooklyn Bowl. — Henry Solotaroff-Webber





Tender Loving Winter Times

Comparatively speaking in regards to the rest of the west coast, it's cold as shit outside. Since most of us have been schlepping around our respective abodes in snow day sweatpants attire, it's time to put on our finest doodads for a night that's sure to be less dramatic than the ones back in grade school. Say hello to yet another year of Tender Loving Empire's Winter Formal.

TLE doesn't disappoint, and this year's lineup continues in their good holiday faith. Rap Class will be up first, setting a lasting ambiance with his moody yet movement-inducing electronic sounds. With the voice of a soulful angel and enough rhythm to make anyone scream "okurrr!," Maarquii will be giving everyone some much needed life before that cumbia kicks in and gets everyone all sweaty, thanks to Orquestra Pacifico Tropical.

We're all in need of dancing away this shitty year and TLE's Winter Formal allows us to do so while still spreading some Christmas spirit. The dance is a toy drive for the Portland Fire & Rescue Toy & Joy Makers, so come out this Saturday with $10 and a toy (or $20 and no toy, as half of that will serve as donation). Come dressed at least mildly to impress, hit up the onsite photobooth and turn up for the season!

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