SUPER EGO I’ve been a huge, squealing, panty-tossing fan of the Bronx-born Martinez Brothers since they were 14 and 17. Don’t call NAMBLA: If you’ve ever seen Chris and Steve work their supreme magic on the turntables, you know these two bopping, smiling dudes have wise old souls and an infectious spirit of musical joy.
When the brothers burst onto the scene, a new generation was rediscovering disco and house via the Internet: here, suddenly, like Athena springing from Zeus’s brow, appeared two vinyl wunderkinder versed fluently, it seemed, in Warehouse, Loft, and Paradise Garage — thanks, in part, to their club-hopping dad. Now they’re barely in their 20s, have gone through their globetrotting headliner and Ibiza-residency phases, tuned their style to a deeper post-minimal vibe (including some ace hip-hop), and started digging more extensively into their roots.
“You know, we just want to play good music, to treat music as an adventure again for everybody, not play to any tired expectations,” Chris told me over the phone as he headed from the brothers’ studio in Queens back to his house. “But we also want to bring our cultural background into it, keep repping where we and the music are from.”
To that end, the brothers have launched their own label Cuttin Headz, and paired with Detroit’s Seth Troxler for another label, Tuskegee, devoted to releasing dance music from black and Latino origin.
Cuttin’ Headz (the name’s cribbed from an ODB Wu-Tang demo) “is all about freedom for us,” Chris said. “We put so much care into each release, and now we’re taking that to a new level, learning some new skills to put it all in place.” As for Tuskegee, it’s bringing a necessary corrective to the pale, pale dance scene, as well as unearthing some surprising roots.
“Our point of view right now is coming from that moment in the ’90s right before house music became taboo to young kids into hip-hop. We want to bring the ‘urban environment’ feel back into house, real deep house and real techno that feels like the city.”
Meanwhile, they’re hitting Coachella before making it up here. “San Francisco has such a place in my heart,” Chris gushed. “We wish we were there back in the day when SF was so crazy, but luckily there’s still remnants of that spirit to be found. Hang in there, we love you!”
AS YOU LIKE IT WITH THE MARTINEZ BROTHERS Fri/18, 9pm-4am, $20–$25. Monarch, 101 Sixth St, SF. www.monarchsf.com
My favorite “emotive techno” Israeli wizard returns to up things to another level with his stylish musical chops. Prepare for liftoff. At the Base party.
Thu/17, 10pm, $10. Vessel, 85 Campton Pl., SF. www.vesselsf.com
Excellently deep electronic grooves with an intelligent, psychedelic glow from this Swedish duo. This party’s being put on by the Symbiosis folks, so there’ll be a little burner fairy dust in the air.
Thu/17, 10pm-4am, $20. Mighty, 119 Utah, SF. www.mighty119.com
Another brother act, Andrew and Daniel Aged from LA come on like “Black-winged angels of nu-R&B” and head up an evening of pretty darkness at the fantastic 120 Minutes monthly. With Brogan Bentley, S4NtA_MU3rTE, and Chauncey_CC. Fri/18, 10pm, $15 advance. Elbo Room, 647 Valencia, SF. www.elbo.com
Looking back, 2009 was a year of epic (as in actually epic) house records. The dancefloor-devastating treatment these two remixing Australians visited upon the Lowbrows’ “Dream in the Desert” was a high point. They make their own lovely, hugely popular tunes as well.
Fri/18, 9pm, $20. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF. www.mezzaninesf.com
No matter where you fall in the polarizing debate about what she represents in terms of the current state of DJ stardom, Russia’s Nina Kraviz is defintely kinda weird and also definitely kinda magic. And she will make you dance.
Sat/19, 9pm-3am, $25 advance. Harlot, 46 Minna, SF. www.harlotsf.com