It’s been too long. In fact, it’s been more than a year-long bout of silence here on coco stereo. It’s also been a rough year, y’hear?
I wasn’t completely silent – It is me we’re talking about. I’d started the radio show, “Cuckoo for Coco’s Pop Underground” on the lovely radio station, BFF.fm. (If you wanna listen to old shows – that haven’t been removed via record labels – they’re on my SoundCloud.)
I ran the show each week for an entire year, and put a ton of time, research, energy and effort into it. This unfortunately butted heads with coco stereo writing time, and the struggle got real.
Alas, I decided to pump the brakes on the radio show as well, ‘cus I needed to figure some shit out, like what the hell I was doing with my life. This is still TBD.
Things have been hard, and they still kinda are. But one day in early May, I heard Nao’s insanely funky jam, “Inhale Exhale,” from her latest EP, February 15, and I decided to do just that, and jump back… at least on to coco stereo.
I can’t guarantee consistency (see life crisis above), but I am going to try to enjoy myself and share some sweet jams with others when I can. I’m also going to try my hardest to avoid the shitty pressure that comes along with music blogging to be the fastest or the first amongst your music snob friends to talk about an artist – ‘cus fuck that shit.
So with that, I present to you the incredibly sexy, smooth, soulful, and funkalicious London-based artist who brought it all (or at least me) back: Nao
There’s an interesting contest and event called the Oaktown Music Festival which showcases and celebrates musical talent hailing from the other side of the Bay Bridge. San Francisco always seems to steal the Bay Area music spotlight, so it’s refreshing and exciting to see some Oakland representation.
The contest is put on by local Oakland venue, Awaken Cafe and entertainment production company, Oaktown Indie Mayhem. The first round of the contest began with an online song and video contest in which bands were nominated and voted upon by judges and the public. This year, there were supposedly 2,100 submissions and 30 band finalists selected. The final round of winners (see below) were selected by a jury (musicians, writers, marketers, producers, etc.) and have been given the title: “Best of Oakland.” The winners will be headlining the Winners’ Party/Concert on November 15th & 16th at Awaken Cafe, and are also given recording time at Fantasy Studios, along with other perks.
Below are hand-picked, highlighted (and alphabetized) winners and finalists – Some beloved, some newfound joys, and a couple of wacky gems ranging from groovy funk, whimsical folk, surf/punk/psych-rock and “chill pop.” I’ve included commentary on any of the bands I’ve actually seen live; hopefully more so in the future.
My boyfriend, an Oakland resident, (does this mean I get some Oakland street cred?) introduced me to Bells Atlas. We saw them play an insane debut album release show back in June at The New Parish in Oakland. They have a huge and loving Oakland/Berkeley fan following, which was easy to hear and see why. They’re an extremely talented, vibrant, groovy, funky group.
Bells Atlas – Loving Your Down (Won: Honorable Mention for Best Video)
Emily Moldy – My Own One (Won: Best in Show – People’s Choice)
Fever Charm – Magazine
Minute is 4-piece of good lookin’ boys and their good lookin’ musical toys. I saw them play a packed show at The Stork Club in Oakland and it was a sweaty good time. Occasionally a trombone was thrown into the mix and people commenced to dance up a storm. They also did a cover of Keyboard Cat just for kicks and I nearly went insane with excitement. This is one of their dreamier, psych-inspired slow jams:
Minute – Adrift
This year I saw Shannon and the Clams play at Burger Records’ Burger Bugaloo Music Festival in Oakland, and as an opener for Sonny & The Sunsets in SF. They’re one of my favorite Bay Area acts to see live and they always steal the show! The rippin’ three piece look and sound like something out of the movie Hairspray, and their jams are so damn catchy. I obsessively listened to their latest LP, Dreams in the Rat House, for a good three weeks.
Shannon and the Clams – Rip Van Winkle (Won: Honorable Mention for Best Song)
The Tambo Rays – Take That (Won: Honorable Mention for Best Song)
Tin Cup Serenade – Sunny Oakland Day (Won: Honorable Mention for Best Song)
We Became Owls – Suitcase (Won: Runner Up for Best Song)
Y’all, let’s get funkaay. And, that’s exactly what I’m doing with Blood Orange‘s latest release, “You’re Not Good Enough.” It’s deliciously smooth, upbeat, addictive, funktastic and heart jabbing. Some are even comparing the jam to Prince, thee man, himself. With lyrics like “I never was in love. You know you were never good enough,” it’s hard to imagine a track could be so easy to get down to. However, Devonté Hynes, the man behind the BO band never fails to produce a pop hit. He’s written for Florence and the Machine, Solange, Sky Ferreira, Kylie Minogue and is currently working with Brittany Spears on her upcoming album, after all.
“You’re Not Good Enough” featuring Samantha Urbani on vocals, swiftly follows Blood Orange‘s recent release of “Chamakay,” both of which will be featured on his highly anticipated forthcoming album, Cupid Deluxe due out November 18th. We’ve all been dying to hear the new album, so join me in this mini celebration of pre-LP-release by listening to the pure funk that Blood Orange exudes:
Blood Orange – You’re Not Good Enough
Blood Orange – Chamakay