July 18, 2012
Instrumental songs sometimes get unfairly pegged as background music, but the best ones are exactly the opposite — captivating and hypnotic without a voice or voices dominating the work. The Bay Area is home to a number of artists who create alluring instrumentals, from the drones of Barn Owl and Date Palms to the post-rock compositions of The Drift and Silian Rail and the electronic works of Yalls, Tycho and Devonwho. Artists like Judgement Day and Al Lover & The Haters show that you don’t need vocals to establish a unique musical identity, but none of the bands here are simply novelties. And while technique plays a big part in making strong instrumental songs, it’s melody and feeling that are most prominent here.
Notably, a few of the songs included here come from new and recent albums. Judgement Day’s new album, Polar Shift, which includes the terrific “Forest Battle,” comes out on July 31st. Silian Rail’s “Young Moon” is on each/other, the band’s latest compelling collection. “Deep End” isn’t a new song per se, but it’s on Yalls’ Yalls II collection of recent singles, which is available now. Finally, Tussle‘s “Night of the Hunter” is several years old (making it a veritable classic by modern blog standards), but the band’s first album in four years comes out in September.
July 17, 2012
If you’ve had any trouble keeping up with the prolific output of local Berkeley musician Dan Casey (Yalls, Steezy Ray Vibes, Daniel Sex Jr.), don’t worry, Dan has you covered. Last week’s surprise release of Yalls II compiles all of the rogue singles Yalls has released through various digital outlets following last year’s eponymous debut compilation tape on MJMJ.
Some of the tracks from the Yalls II collection have previously been featured on compilations from blogs and labels including Crash Symbols, Cultus Vibes, PORTALS, and West In Dust. Yalls II also includes the unreleased single “INJR.” Stream/download the entire collection via Bandcamp.
One of the most significant aspects of the Yalls II release is the unveiling of his alter-ego Daniel Sex Jr. Dan had kept this project anonymous up until now, because he thought it would be fun to toy with the idea of a secret side-project in order to explore new styles. The experiment worked, as the first single “All the Way Down” quickly gained the attention of high-profile DIY music blogs such as YVNYL and Decoder.
As the man behind the Daniel Sex Jr. curtain, Casey’s credibility as a multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/beat-production wizard remains intact. Whether Yalls focuses on an instrumental hip-hop beat (“Too Long”, “Grand Entrance”), a heartfelt ballad (“Truth”, “Sayfixed”) or a left-field pop jam (“Dark End Light”, “Vapid Glitch Glow”), Dan’s signature style remains… funky alien grooves with a deeply human touch.
While Dan may phone home to New Jersey once in a while, he’s enjoying life in the Easy Bay, frequenting Bay Area venues and nightclubs to perform crowd-pleasing live shows and DJ sets. Check out our recent interview with Casey, where he explained the differences between Yalls and his acoustic side-project Steezy Ray Vibes.
June 29, 2012
Stop by Brick & Mortar on Sunday, July 1st, for a night of positive vibes and eccentric dance music from New York based multi-instrumentalist Delicate Steve, who will be performing with our local legend Yalls as well as Oakland newcomers Bells.
Delicate Steve is a talented songwriter who will be previewing songs off his upcoming album, Positive Force, the follow-up to his 2010 debut Wondervisions. As a true-to-form solo artist, Steve Marion wrote, performed, recorded, and mixed the entire album himself in his hometown of Fredon, New Jersey.
As the album title suggests, Delicate Steve is all about good vibes. “I want to put out a positive feeling…It’s so much more fun to get people all excited and uplifted,” says Steve. The positive energy is no less apparent in Delicate Steve’s live shows, which are not to be missed.
Positive Force is out July 10th on Luaka Bop. On the first two singles from the album, “Africa Talks To You” and “Two Lovers,” Steve showcases his expressive guitar skills and dexterous songwriting. Hear “Two Lovers” via Spin and download “Afria Talks To You” above.
Interview: Dan Casey discusses the differences between Yalls and his latest alter ego, Steezy Ray Vibes
June 25, 2012
Although Berkeley-via-Philly musician Dan Casey is best known for his funky electronic performances as Yalls, he has been making music under various monikers since 2003. From Lemons are Louder Than Rocks, to Yalls, to Steezy Ray Vibes and other secret underground projects, Dan is never afraid to explore new styles.
You may have become familiar with Steezy Ray Vibes after a demo for the single “Empty City” was quietly released on Soundcloud a month ago. Buzz began to build around the blogs, and the project deservedly caught the attention of The Fader and other major tastemakers. Dan recently released the second Steezy Ray Vibes track, “Time Stands Still,” which maintains the melodic, acoustic songwriting style of the previous demo.
We caught up with Dan Casey via email to discuss the past, present, and future of his recording projects. He explains the inspiration behind his latest experiment, Steezy Ray Vibes, and reveals which other East Bay (or Easy Bay, if you will) musicians are involved in the project. Hint: he recently released a Yalls remix of “Middle Waves” by Some Ember.
TBB: Hey Dan. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. How’s life in the Easy Bay?
Dan Casey: I love life in the Easy Bay. It’s sort of the place I’ve always wanted to end up. I’m surrounded by friends — who are also like minded musicians, but have their own diverse sounds and goals. It’s an incredibly supportive environment.
TBB: I believe you started your first official musical endeavor called Lemons Are Louder Than Rocks when you were still living in New Jersey back in 2003. How did this project eventually evolve into Yalls?
DC: Lemons was my first band, which i started in 2003 as a home recording project. It eventually grew to be a full band in Philly by the time I left for California in 2007. Once I was out here for a bit I got into different styles of music and production and eventually started Yalls, which was more about exploring new sounds. I kept elements of traditional songwriting but got way more into loops, beats, and remixes.
TBB: Your latest project, Steezy Ray Vibes, reveals an acoustic side of your songwriting talent that has only been hinted at through your previous material. What inspired you to launch this particular project?
June 4, 2012
Push The Feeling is back for another night of live electronic jams. The free event is part of a monthly series at Underground SF, presented by epicsauce. On Friday, June 8th, the East Bay’s funkiest electronic musician Yalls will take the stage, along with DJ sets from SF’s Avalon Emerson and resident DJs epicsauce and Yr Skull.
Yalls, the solo project of Berkeley’s Dan Casey, has been making a pretty big splash in the Bay lately. Armed with a microphone and an array of keys, synths, and samplers, the Yalls live experience is not to be missed. He already has a retrospective cassette on MJMJ, a 7″ on Gold Robot Records, and several far-out singles under his belt, including the brand new track “Truth” (not to mention his experimental side projects).
May 8, 2012
Here’s our latest month-in-review mix collecting some our favorite new (or new to us) songs recently posted on the website. So much good stuff came our way in April that we’ve actually got a two-part mix of blog songs this time. As always, we’ve included links below to download each of these songs individually.
April 17, 2012
Another week, another always welcome dose of Yalls. The quickly-ascending Oakland musician recently posted two fresh instrumental cuts on Soundcloud, titled “Too Long” and “Grand Entrance,” which you can listen to and download below.
Both offerings showcase an electronic talent on a creative roll. “Too Long” would match an emotional film montage quite well, while “Grand Entrance” is titled perfectly – providing an anthemic tone and sounding, well, just plain grand. His next scheduled appearance is May 17th at Hemlock with Naytronix (Nate Brenner of tUne-yArDs) and Mwahaha, but you can almost bet he’ll surface somewhere else within the next month.
Naytronix, Yalls, Mwahaha
May 17th, 2012
April 10, 2012
Once Sacramento, now Los Angeles-based video producer Terroreyes.tv gives Oakland electronic musician Yalls a strong party-vibe look with this session. Staged during a recent weekend trip to Los Angeles, this performance receives friendly help from Dylan Travis (Some Ember). It gives the bright, lyrically memorable “Real Fantasy” a new perspective — the song’s usual underwater echo has less impact on Dan’s vocals, letting them fall further back in the mix.
Yalls, Some Ember, DJs Wake and Glenn Jackson
Era Art Bar and Lounge
April 11, 2012