SUPER EGO Springtime in Clubland’s looking gorgeous so far: it could totally move covers and dominate the next cycle. A special double pinkies up to all the fab promoters throwing AIDS ride-run-walk-collapse fundraisers and shining limelight on the No on Prop. 98 campaign. I’d air-kiss you to death, but it would crust my Cover Girl Hipster Neutral No. 140 Lipslicks Lipgloss. Ack.
On to biz: yep, the hardcore electro banger sound think ELO meets Spank Rock, filtered through acid house and bare-bones punk has set my fuchsia radar to stunned, even though it’s already glitzed up most of the city’s edgier dance floors. It certainly makes me question the meaning of “underground” in the MySpace age. And despite the scene’s sometimes perilous “Girls Gone Wild” flirtations, it’s total ferosh to see so many banger women bringing real DJ and promoter power: Emily Betty, Queen Meleksah, Parker Day, Nastique, Kelly Kate …
Stuttery vocals, ripped-needle basslines, Justice influence, and hands-in-the-air breakdowns are the genre’s sonic commonalities, but the sound’s a mutt, streamlining electroclash and iDJ kitsch into a neon ball-slap to the brainiac minimal techno boyzone. That means it’s stylistically elastic, and two of my favorite San Francisco DJs and people from other scenes have vaulted to the banger forefront. Richie Panic (www.myspace.com/richiepanicisagenius) got big spinning mod classics and electroclash before teaming up with DJ Jeffrey Paradise, the banger godfather, to rock the new sound. He fronts an all-out ultrabananas punk energy Gorilla Biscuits trumps Hot Chip and his unerring ear blows dragon smoke from my broken lightbulb. Check out Mr. Panic’s top bangers here.
Vin Sol (www.myspace.com/vinsol), on the smoother hand, is a hometown hip-hop hero who tells me he found rap crowds too resistant to experimentation; electro has freed him to splash freestyle classics like Debbie Deb’s "When I Hear Music" over the lowdown banger sheen, and startle laptop lovers with dazzling vinyl pyrotechnics.
Newbies? "Ableton’s my homeboy," 22-year-old PUBLIC (www.myspace.com/publicworld), a.k.a. Nick Marsh, recently said to me with a laugh. He’s been blowing banger minds with his live shows at parties like Blow Up (www.myspace.com/blow_up_415) and software edits of the Cardigans, ELO (yes!), even When in Rome’s melancholic 1988 dance jam "The Promise." And his hypnotic new tune "Colorful" is a hit. "I played in a hardcore band, then went through an acoustic Postal Service phase," said the longtime record collector and musician. "So harder but really melodic stuff is natural to me. I think one way to get everyone on the floor is to take softer songs and make them more aggressive, so there’s a broader energy." He’s sliced and diced Metallica too.
Also fresh is 23-year-old LXNDR (www.myspace.com/djlxndr), who used to spin at raves and dreamt of being Armand Van Helden (!) before gravitating to Felix da Housecat and Richie Hawtin. He describes his sound as POPalicious heavy beats over classic trax, but tasteful and widely appealing and presides over the No More Conversations (www.myspace.com/nomoreconversationssf) weekly and wild Youngbloodz monthly (First Fridays at Milk, www.milksf.com). "I like to turn heads with my mixes and really make people notice that I put a lot of thought into how I drop a track. That’s what I always liked about the older dudes when I was coming up," he told me. Aw, sweet. Look for his seven-song EP on which he plays guitar, bass, and synths to hit this summer and munch up the younger clubbables.