Monday, July 28, 2008

holla from the beaches..

I'm on Cape Cod, now, watching huge thunderstorms swallow the summer and spit it out, sweaty and humid, for a hazed-sun day or two. Purple lightning bolts flip the lights on outside almost every night. Strangeness, air pressure, ozone.

A quick excursion to Martha's Vineyard, a place I'd never been before, for a gig with DJ Flack, Wayne&wax and our host Dj Tigerbeatz, at Che's Lounge right in Vineyard Haven

resort towns are a funny vibe. But the party warmed up nicely and we ran overtime (till bored beach cops circled the party sharklike). Tigerbeatz played some good breaky clickys tunes and some of her own remixes -nice nice! then Flack rolled up with the classic 90s sounds, mixed with warm-toned tracks from recent days. Wayne's live set gets more complex and bumpin' every time - he built it up and steered us into ominous dubstep territory. I shook up baltimore breaks, blog house, 2step, bhangra, and the balkan tunes I could round up (since tigerbeatz rocks te balkan beats party more often than not) and then steered us back a few bpms with some clicky remixes and cutup dancey sounds - the Carl Craig remix of Cesaria Evora's Angola over some frikstailers, a nice long layer of sound, into the Malorix tune Belsalama. These three tunes make me think about the discussion sparked by Matt Shadetek's fantastic post up at Dutty Artz about the right way to make music (if I follow it correctly)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Oh Em Gee its LAZER SWORD!!

Tonight in SF!! this is gonna be out of control.. don't miss it!

Uniting All Dubwize Sounds
Global Dubwize Vibes & Dread Bass Culture
Saturday July 26th 2008 @ Club Six
Get in For $5 before 10:30pm by signing up at -->

Lazer Sword (Briefcase Rockers) Lazer Bass? Future Blap? Aqua Crunk? While critics throw phrases around trying to figure out what the heck to call the new crunked up, synth-heavy, low-end sound boomin? out the world?s speakers, Lazer Sword are fiercely blazing a hip-hop trail through every genre from techno, grime and hyphy to IDM and psych rock. San Francisco heads Antaeus Roy AKA Lando Kal and Bryant Rutledge AKA LL have been bouncing beats back and forth for the past couple years, honing their live set with original productions and fresh re-edits of current rap tunes, and getting compared to Montreal?s Megasoid, LA?s Glitch Mob and Flying Lotus, and Scotland?s Rustie and Hudson Mohawke along the way. But their sample-heavy, trigger-happy sound is all their own, and while the world waits for their first EP to drop on B.E.A.R. recordings, come hear'em at Surya Dub and find out what it's like to get hit with the musical version of one of those lightning bolts from Mariokart, the kind that blows the competition away and makes you feel bad ass while doing it.

Monkeytek(Lo Dubs, Portland) Monkeytek hails from the great NW of Portland OR and has been djing for over 12 years. His style is anchored by dub vibes and dread bass, oldskool jungle and dub and so... dubstep. He also co-runs LoDubs Records and Various, Portland's premier night of bassheavy music, alongside his pal Ryan Organ (Aleutian Audio). Monkeytek & Ryan Organ hold down the night monthly and since it's inception in December 2006, Various has featured appearances by DZ, Deville, Struggle & DJ Collage, 6BLOCC aka R.A.W., Kode9, Starkey, E3, Coda, Jon A.D., Dial M, Alter Echo, E.R.S. One, SPL, Noah D, Kyle T., Rubik, The Bassist & Mecca. He can also be found on the airwaves hosting a show on Sub FM. SD welcomes Monkeytek back to his NoCal roots and to rock SD. Check out his mixes at

Green B (One Love, Coo-Yah!) It was the release of Buju's Til Shiloh in 1995 that hooked this selecta on dancehall music. Her appetite could not be satisified, whether buying mixcds on Venice Beach or listening to all the big 45's coming out of JA with her mentors in Boston, Green B's love of reggae music could not be laid to rest. Addicted to keeping up on all the new reggae/dancehall riddims & moving the dance floor on the regular, Green B loves bringing the irie vibes. She is on constant rotation in the Bay Area, holding down multiple weeklies: Coo-Yah! @ Brunos, Church @ Il Pirata, as well as a monthly joint, OneLove, every second Friday @ Poleng. Lace up her schedule with mad appearances at pretty much every reggae party in the Bay, and you got yourself a lady who's in full production...BOOM!

Sub Hz Den
Dubstep, Dread Bass Breaks & D'n'B, Ragga
Special Guests:
Lazer Sword (Briefcase Rockers, SF)
Monkeytek (Lo Dubs, Portland)
Pus Residents:
Maneesh the Twister (Surya Dub, Dhamaal, Dub Mission - Best Club DJ SF Guardian) & Ripley (havoc sound, Surya Dub), Kid Kameleon (xlr8r, Surya Dub),
Visuals by CONTACT (Surya Dub)
MC Daddy Frank pon da mic

Inna Yard
Special Guest:
Green B(One Love, Coo-Yah!)
Kush Arora (KAP, Surya Dub) - Special Dancehall Session
Reggae, Dancehall, Bhangra, Global Beats
Plus Residents:
Jimmy Love (Non Stop Bhangra, Surya Dub)
DJ Amar Electric vardo, Surya Dub)

Club Six
Saturday, July 26th, 2008
60 6th St b/w Mission & Market
Reduced admission b4 10:30pm at
$10 door | 10:00pm-3:00am | 21 + | 415.863.1221 - FRIEND US!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The High Point of Friday NIght

So, Kid K and I had that dj gig on Friday at a bar in the castro, with the Sock Puppet Sound System. Some friends showed up to dance. It wasn't a raging party by any means, but it was a good time. A nice wide range of music, and a good upbeat vibe. But the highlight of the night for me came after the party:

we closed up around 2, packed our stuff in the car and then got the munchies. Luckily, Sparky's Diner was about 500 feet away. As we walked over there, I noticed that there were two large cardboard boxes on the sidewalk before the crosswalk. They had big monster faces drawn on them in marker, with big toothed mouth-flaps. Then I noticed that they were talking to each other, loudly and conversationally. As we walked past, I saw a leg sticking out of one, but that was it. "I dunno, what do you think?" one monster box was saying to the other.


After we ordered, we were talking in the absolutely packed diner. Everyone had come there to eat greasy food and drink milkshakes after their first round of partying. It was a reasonably flamboyant and fashionable crowd, less biker-y, more emo and thug and glam and hipster. Sparky's was playing music loudly under it all - 80's music. I knew the tune... "careless whisper"
And then it began. By the time the end of the first verse, a murmer of lyrics was coming from all side of the restaurant. As the chorus hit, the entire freaking restaurant sang along, the entire chorus, the "oh yeahs" and the cheesy saxophone, at the top of all of our lungs. Spontaneously. unselfconsciously. I even did it myself, and I don't even like george michael. I still know every word, though, having been a (young) teen in the 80s. Anyway I've never seen anything like it. People dropped out as the song went on, and the din of drunken chatter closed over the music.

maybe this happens every night at sparky's?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

doin' it again..

Kid K's birthday party was pretty smashing. We didn't quite make the bar guarantee, but that had more to do with the fact that the drinks were so darn cheap than the lack of peoples. Anyway, the owner liked our sound enough to ask us to fill in for a last-minute cancellation, so we, plus the fine folks of the Sock Puppet Sound System, will be playing The Transfer in the Castro again

Surya Dub DJs Kid Kameleon and Ripley team up with the Sockpuppet Soundsystem DJs Tones, K-Mac and JayBee to provide beats for your dancing feet!

Expect anything from J-Dilla bumps to Baltimore booty bounce; Bhangra 2-step to lazer bass, plus a good helping of dub, dubstep, and dubbed-out hip-hop to flavor your Friday. We may also have some very special guest MCs, can't say any more, but high-caliber top-quality peeps on the mic, who know how to keep the party bouncing.

All that and it's free, easy to get to, with cheap drinks, a pool table and room to dance. This one's a guaranteed jolly weekend kickoff! It all goes down at the Transfer; 198 Church St (between 14th St & Market St)

RSVP now!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

music and the body

While reading and commenting in one of many fascinating conversations at Wayne's blog, I reminded myself of one of my interests that I haven't been able to pursue (yet) in music scholarship.

I've been thinking more and more about music's relationship to the body - both in terms of what people call "dance music" here in the US: primarily electronic stuff, often without lot in the way of vocals), but also in relation to hip-hop. Despite the emphasis on lyrics in most hip-hop-studies writing I have come across (except the IP-related stuff on sampling), Hip-hop is also the dance music of choice for many many people in America. I'm not talking about "b-boying" and virtuosic dance, although some of the same issues may be true, but more parties, clubs, school dances, etc etc. My impression is that discussions of hip-hop don't focus on dancing because there is such an interest in hip-hop as resistance, and it's hard to analyse how dancing is resistance, if it is. What's the value in dancing?

As a DJ, whose main goal is getting people to dance (although I won't compromise my music in order to do it), and also an academic type, you'd think I might have a well-thought out answer to that question. But I don't.

I know that after my raver past, I'm not convinced in the dancefloor-as-utopia language I used to come across, even though some folks even now discuss the current rave (the term feels different to me these days) scene using utopian or transcendent language. Perhaps its because so rarely does the dancefloor LOOK like the kind of utopia I could feel good about.

Then again, sometimes at Surya Dub, I do feel like we are building a kind of scene which is meaningful in some terms I care about -- not to be too grandiose, but it is one of the most ethnically diverse, gender-balanced, many-styled, broad-age-ranged, non-sizeist parties in SF. We can still do better (particularly on the queer side of things), but it means a lot to me that those characteristics have been consistent over the past year. Of course people are there to have fun, not to make a political statement. And they do! (witness our winning "best club night in SF" last year, which reminds me - anyone can vote in that poll again this year: right here page 2 is best party promoter and best dj if you are so inclined) But anyway... it matters to me (in a political way) that the fun ends up having political significance.

I'm not in the camp that thinks that pleasure in itself is political. Our effed-up-society and all its isms would not be so resilient and powerful if there wasn't some pleasure in capitulation to hierarchy. But making the political pleasurable... maybe that's something?

On a related tip, while in Chicago I had a fascinating conversation with Murderbot about the role of house & techno in the midwest, which he argues is akin to the role of hip-hop on the coasts. Coming from Boston, I find it hard to imagine club music as black music first (even though I know intellectually that's completely true). Electronic bleeps and bloops and serious loops were something I associated with white subculture much more than black. Maybe this is partly a regional artifact - since it's true that I don't associate a ton of hip-hop history with the midwest (or current hip-hop pop stars), and I do know that house & techno come from there and are still huge, and associated with black folk (more so than they are here out West too, I think).

But if house & techno are the hip-hop of the midwest, then what does that mean about the power and significance of lyrics, and the role of dancing? Because neither of those genres seem as lyrics-oriented, and they seem much more explicitly dance-oriented. If we put dancing at the center of analysis of subcultural music (and pop music), what would that mean?