The Top Five Parties in San Francisco This Weekend

axel-boman1.jpeg
Axel Boman plays at Public Works on Friday.
Check your watch, it's almost time. Yes, you guessed right, it's Thursday, which means the weekend is on the horizon, singing a siren song imbued with the promise of adventures, parties, and good spirits. To help you get in the mood, we've blocked out this handy guide to all the fun. Cast off your day-to-day identity and get lost in the nightlife. Read on -- your weekend awaits.

As You Like It with Blondes, Rebolledo, and Axel Boman at Public Works
9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7. $10-$15

Beneath the hyper-futuristic circuitry of techno lie roots borrowed from the repetitive sonic experimentation of Germany's "Kosmische Musik" movement. Better known in the English-speaking world as "Krautrock," it was a wildly creative period between the late '60s and mid '80s that birthed a generation of synthesizer-obsessed artists -- like Kraftwerk, Manuel Göttsching, and Tangerine Dream -- whose vision still affects dance music today. It's often a subtle influence, but not in the case of Blondes (real names: Sam Haar and Zach Steinman), a Brooklyn duo whose aesthetic blends modern dancefloor appeal with the tripped-out sound palettes and song structures of Krautrock.

Their interest in the style extends back to their early days together at Oberlin College. The first few releases, beginning in 2010, were highly indebted to Krautrock, with a particular emphasis on the melodic tidal flow of Göttsching's landmark, hourlong 1984 work, "E2-E4." Tracks like "Lover" and "Business" approached a similar degree of psychedelia, with swirling synthesizer washes and noodling lines that seemed to appear and disappear endlessly. Part of this is due to the way Haar and Steinman make music: They play live and invent their work in the moment, rather than carefully planning each individual part beforehand. "I think if you start out with an idea with an end result goal, it will just frustrate the hell out of you," Haar told Dazed magazine. "It's better to let the process just do it."

On Swisher, their latest record, Blondes take a similar approach, but their explorations have brought them to the dancefloor in a roundabout way. The music is still ethereal, but their tracks now feature a percussive edge indebted to techno. On "Bora Bora," they let the drums play alone, with military snare rolls and ricocheting delay carried by an insistent kick drum. "Poland" goes darker, with '80s horror movie arpeggiations and hi-hat hiss. Even "Elise," the song that most recalls the melodic intensity of their earlier work, includes an upfront rhythm with a crunchy pulse. But the Krautrock influences haven't been lost. Their music still feels free-form, like sonic sculptures that you can get up and dance to.

Nowhere does this become more apparent than when they perform live. Much like their studio process, Blondes improvise their material from a full spread of hardware. Expect a blend of cosmic atmospherics and streamlined low-end when the duo headlines As You Like It's latest bash this Friday, alongside quirky Mexican tech-house spinner Rebolledo and Swedish deep-house phenomenon Axel Boman.


Lights Down Low presents Scuba and DJ Hell at Mezzanine
9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6. $20

Though once known for his sinister take on U.K. dubstep, Scuba has since moved on. Based in Berlin, he's let the influence of the German capital bleed into blown-out dancefloor anthems like "Hardbody" and "The Hope." They evoke MDMA-induced serotonin overload by combining techno futurism with the energetic spirit of rave music's early years. Check out his Boiler Room. He performs alongside German techno/electroclash don DJ Hell.

Deep Inside at Club OMG!
9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7. Free

They say house is a feeling. Well, now it's a feeling you can feel for free. Deep Inside is a new, no-cover weekly party at Club OMG! that focuses on all strains of soulful and steady dance music with a mix between the Latin rhythms of '90s New York and the more restrained nuance of what's currently hitting it big on underground European dancefloors. Get an idea of what to expect by checking out its residents' Soundcloud pages: Xander M, Def Goldblum, and Leo Altman.

Faultline at Lounge 3411
9 p.m. Friday, Feb 7. Free

Much of modern dance music is based around the classic "four-on-the-floor" disco rhythm. Breakbeat, however, is different. It's a loose sound that encompasses those forms of electronic dance music whose percussion is jerked-out and funky, like '80s electro and '90s rave (which sampled and looped drum "breaks" from old funk records). There are not many parties which trade in this style, which is something that Faultline, a new monthly in Oakland, is trying to rectify. This month's headliner is Justin Johnson, a respected old-school West Coast breaks veteran.

Isis with Kele Okereke at Public Works
9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8. $15

Though he's mostly known as the lead singer of indie rock outfit Bloc Party, Kele Okereke is also an accomplished dance music producer. With the release of last year's Heartbreaker EP on Crosstown Rebels, he's pivoted into the slick and glossy world of contemporary tech-house; the EPs titular lead-single is an uptempo banger forged from Fender Rhodes stabs and de-tuned soul vocals. Expect him to play in that vein when he headlines this month's edition of Isis.

-- @derekopperman



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