trackademiks

HONORABLE MENTION

Our latest interview finds us amongst the company of Trackademiks. A fixture in the Bay’s current music landscape and a seminal figure to the evolution of Bay Area hip-hop. Emilio Courtade sits down with Trackademiks to talk about his early beginnings making music, to his current roll as Honor Roll representer.

INTRODUCING NIKO CHAN

Fresh perspectives from Toronto's next generation

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When you talk about music in 2014, you have to mention Toronto. It’s a city with a reinvigorated passion for music that comes from a personal place. 19 year old Niko Chan is the latest artist from the 6 with a nuanced perspective on what it means to be yourself. “I’m very influenced by the 80’s pop sound, while mixing with dark R&B.. there’s always been an atmospherical and ambient vibe from my music,” Niko says. “I’m into the big full harmonies, personal lyrics and sampling particular lines from my favorite movies.”

Premiering his debut single today on Wine & Bowties, we present, Everybody Else. It’s a sprawling, deeply melodic cut backed by simmering vocals and a switch-up of an outro. He sampled Natalie Portman fighting with Jude Law in the film Closer for this song. Niko’s album Days We Wore Black is coming soon.

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VIDEO GIRL NO MORE

FKA twigs collaborates with Kahlil Joseph for some new visuals

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With photos from the Pendulum video set circulating online, FKA twigs surprises with a video for a different song off her first full length album LP1. The Kahlil Joseph directed Video Girl is the latest addition to twigs’ bountiful and stunning archive of music videos. The striking video features costumes, headgear and hair styles to feast at as well as muted interjections from a bloody-mouthed Travi$ Scott. Like the song lyrics, the visual story of Video Girl sees twigs shedding her identity as a music video dancer while stepping into herself as an vocal artist. The video begins with the first track from her album, Preface, setting the scene of the execution of a man in prison. In Preface, twigs repeats “I love another, and thus I hate myself”. In an interview, she explains the line resonates with her frustrations of learning and failing at perfecting her new and beloved art form as a musician. As Video Girl continues, she cries from behind the glass as she watches a man be given lethal injection while inside the chamber, a second twigs dances diligently and deliberately then disappears along with the man’s life.

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A COACH IN THE KILL ZONE

A look inside Castlemont High School's Football team and the coach looking to transform it from within

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Oakland breeds heroes. Something tells me it’s been like that since the beginning. People just move with purpose out here. Maybe it’s in the air. The most recent independent film that’s come across our table focuses an eye on East Oakland, and more specifically Castlemont High. A short documentary that expresses the bond between sports and community, A Coach in The Kill Zone sheds an unwavering glimpse into the life of Edward Washington, the newly enlisted football coach at Oakland’s Castlemont High School.

With three years having passed since the Knight’s last win, at the ripe age of 25, Ed’s challenge is to turn the program around in the face of immense obstacles on and off the field.

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TODD BARRICKLOW AT NAMING GALLERY

The dynamic Downtown art space welcomes a multimedia vet

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Over the last year or so, the good folks at Naming Gallery have quietly been doing some of the most consistently great curation in Oakland. Nestled in the heart of 15th Street’s lively Second Saturday strip, the gallery has hosted a rotation of artists and live music events, leaning toward cartoony and surreal visuals and imaginative, playful sensibilities.

Earlier this month, Naming opened up a solo show from the Santa Rosa-based Todd Barricklow, whose many talents include ceramics, printmaking, and metalworking, among others. Barricklow, a veteran of the local art scene, has a CV that includes everything from Peninsula galleries, to group shows in Japan, to the design of Tamarindo’s ubiquitous El Taco Bike. The show, Golems & New Work, features a wide selection of works–one wall features his “golem” figures, a series of ceramic puppets, while another showcases his 3-D, multi-surface graphic pieces. The show is up until next Saturday. Highly recommended. More info here.

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SOUL ON ICE

Fresh off a strong sophomore effort, TDE's sleeper pick hits the road at the height of his powers

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It’s hard to not be rooting for Ab-Soul out here. Legally blind, and a distant third in the TDE industry popularity contest after Q and Kendrick, Ab is a prototypical underdog. But three albums in, Soulo isn’t exactly a slouch in that department, earning a dedicated following for taking the TDE sound–that fine balance between gauzy, heavy-filtered atmospherics, deep soul boom bap, and contemporary slap–in his own direction. In 2012, a few months before the good kid hysteria, Control System came as a pleasant surprise, a statement record that ran the gamut from syrupy digital funk to revolutionary war cries without missing a a beat.

His latest, These Days–despite the weird Jesus theme–is just as impressive, going deeper into the same vein behind vintage TDE production that somehow manages to feel both zonked the fuck out and razor sharp at the same time, pretty much all the time. For a dude who pops back and forth between “Twact”-type turnups to full on jazz fusion freakouts, that versatility is key, and once again, These Days puts that full range of talents on display.

More recently, Ab-Soul’s been hitting the road in support of all that new material, and naturally, he’s got major dates coming up in LA and the Bay. For the immediate future, LA heads can catch his show Tuesday at the Fonda. Keep an eye on our social channels over the next few days, in case some tickets just so happen to fall into our hands. Or keep it safe, and cop here.

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HONORABLE MENTION

From post-hyphy to champagne soul, Trackademicks breaks down his musical journey so far

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Photography by Vasha

I sat near the front door of the Farley’s East cafe in Downtown Oakland, where I would be meeting Trackademicks. I looked over some notes, thought about the history of the Honor Roll crew and realized our conversation would be expansive and diverse. Looking back on it now, that only makes sense–the man I was about to interview has had a hand in several of the Bay’s sonic movements. From hyphy to HBK, from Livewire to Champagne Soul, Trackademicks’ production credits read like a who’s who of Bay Area hip-hop.

Since his early introduction to the scene through community staple Youth Radio, Trackademicks–born Jason Valerio–has built up a reputation on eclecticism and organic growth, collaborating with a wide range of folks and touching down all over the sonic map. These days, he and the Honor Roll crew are coming off some of their most exciting work yet, popping up on festival bills, and getting ready to take their live show on the road. In our conversation, I got a chance to check in with Track abut where he’s been and where he’s headed next.

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BY DESIGN

Madrid's Carmen Fernandez Sanz keeps it fresh with her ongoing pattern collection

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It’s never been so pleasant to fall down the rabbit hole than when you come across a dope artist on the internet. It’s so affirming isn’t it? My take is that there’s always been incredible artists since the beginning of time, but only until the advent of the internet have we been able to access the work of so many. It’s a beautiful thing, especially when considering the work of Carmen Fernandez Sanz. Based in Madrid, Spain, Carmen’s vibrant pattern work is captivating and timeless. Transitioning from a career in fashion design to surface pattern design, today Carmen’s work is available on everything from coffee mugs to shower curtains. Consider the following an introduction, but we’re pretty sure this isn’t the last you’ll be seeing from Carmen within these pages.

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FROM ICELAND TO TREASURE ISLAND

Icelandic's latest folk export makes his U.S. debut

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Iceland isn’t quite the first place we’d think to look when searching for new music. But not one’s too limit our scope, when Asgeir’s latest album came across our table, we gave it a look. Known loosely as melodic folk, Asgeir’s sound is best to wake up to, or something to listen to while you read the newspaper. When “King & Cross”–a groovy jam accompanied by a Lord of the Rings-esque video–dropped last year, it marked a significant peak in the young artist’s career.

Though he’s just breaking through in the states, the 22 year-old is already Iceland’s best selling artist over the last few years, with sales that represent roughly a tenth of the entire country’s population. Covering memorable names from Milky Chance to Nirvana, Asgeir’s sound continues to evolve as his global audience grows. Asgeir is coming to California this week, with shows at the El Rey and the Treasure Island Music Festival. Catch him there this weekend.

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THE NOTABLE NINE

Browntourage and Interrupt Magazine put on by highlighting Oakland's creative collectives

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It’s no secret that young Oakland is crackin right now. From parties to proper swaps, every month seems to be characterized by events that highlight and validate the energy of our community. For those involved in its curation, it’s easy to see who’s who behind the scene, though their names and faces tend to take a backseat to the hype of guest DJs and event hashtags. Recently, Interrupt Magazine reached out to local crew Browntourage to co-curate their September issue, and to help in identifying and appreciating the Town’s new cultural heroes.

Browntourage’s “Notable 9″ article features crews and collectives of young creative folks who are, as they put it, “bringing knowledge, entertainment, and support to local Oakland ’hoods.” The article guides readers through a brief journey of group rosters, aesthetics, and outward efforts, to reveal the heat that’s been cookin up around here.

We at W&B are feeling honored to have made the cut, alongside some of our friends and fam, many of whom you might find right alongside us at functions and doc screenings alike. Among others, the piece features our folks from collectives like Trill Team 6, OnTask Family, Malidoma Collective, and Youthful Kinfolk. We’d like to say thank you to Hawa and Tonia at Browntourage for including us, Interrupt for the opportunity, and all of the crews both mentioned and beyond for the continued inspiration. For a look at some of the innovative faces behind the magic, hit more, and should you see them in the street, show some love. Full article here.

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WRITING WITH PURPOSE

A conversation with copy writer extraordinaire Demian Farnworth

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How do you get your voice heard in the modern world? Most might point to social media, and the burgeoning world it opens up as the primary medium to make a difference. While traditional media channels may catch eyeballs in broad brushstroke attempts to grab our attention, many would argue that the internet has become an overwhelmingly more dynamic medium for expression.

Towards that end, in efforts to learn more about how to communicate effectively on the internet, we tapped the shoulder of one of the best, Copy Blogger’s Chief Copywriter Demian Darnworth. With years of experience in the realm of writing for the web, Demian’s cut his teeth as a writer, penning engaging messages for a variety of online publications as well as direct marketing firms. With the internet as our medium and new media the new game, we talked to Demian about how to write effectively, create compelling content, and the future of self-employment.

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