Under the Stars is a quasi-weekly column that presents new music releases and a number of other adjacent items. Please enjoy!
TORREY, “SCREENS” (self-released)
As we begin to crack this city wide open AF and get it running at a full-tilt boogie, it’s only right that a band like Torrey with its jangle-pop bee’s knees confection would drop new music—with an upcoming performance date to boot.
Made up of siblings Ryann and Kelly Gonsalves plus Eric Mohammad and Adam Honingford, the band’s influences of Yo La Tengo, Breeders, and The Sundays come shining through. But set those cues aside. People, this is the band of which you catch an earful cruising the Mish on a Friday night, and have to pivot back to Shazam the overcast melancholy hop this four-piece delivers. On new track “Screens,” breezy rattle-clink crests and fades in a quick three minutes.
“I think naturally working with your sibling is challenging.” Kelly Gonsalves says of their process. “Some days are really amazing and you’re on the same page, and then other days you just really know how to dig into that person […] But it seems like no matter what, I can be playing guitar and Ryann knows exactly what to do right off the bat.” The kinfolk brought in friends Mohammad and Honingford, according to the band’s press release and the band soon evolved into a vibrant and safe space for creative expression which, for many of the members, was a new experience.
“I think a couple of us were having fun playing in a band for the first time in a while.” Ryann says. “We can make a pop song and then I can also be singing about my depression and we’re still having fun. It’s a good time.”
VOLUNTARY HAZING, “SKEMSCO” (self-released)
My buddies are back. Hailing from San Jose, Voluntary Hazing is a sa-weet 12-piece ska and pop-punk band that sometimes stumbles into psychedelic, disco, and acoustic sounds.
Oh, we’re just getting warm, kitten. It gets deeper.
The group is comprised of self-proclaimed marching band geeks that grew up with classical training, but began experimenting, and decided to play some rock music with their horns. Their interests include skanking, emo music, and memes. So many memes.
This collection of sincere music nerds are kinda a favorite here at 48hills.
Kayla, their fearless leader, who did in fact make her “Momma so damn proud” last time we featured them, informed us the group has a new tune “Skemsco” (Ska+emo+disco) and it’s actually just a bit more awesome than the last.
“So what exactly is ‘Skemsco’? It’s an emotional, dancey alt-rock song with thick, colorful horn parts,” according to Kayla. “Lyrically, the song explores coming to terms with personal shortcomings and disappointment and achieving a sense of freedom when finally accepting one’s own imperfections. Sonically, ‘Skemsco’ is influenced by three vastly different genres we love. Is that pretentious? Outrageous? Just kind of silly? Potentially so, but that’s the kind of chaos you get when 12 college marching band geeks come together to make their own music. (Sidenote: That solo in the bridge is actually a violin.)”
Give this tune a listen, pre-save the track on Spotify, support these kids, shower them with unconditional love.
They are a reminder that when you come humble and goofy the whole world will eternally want to give you a damn hug. I frigging love this band.
KIEFER, “WHEN THERE’S LOVE AROUND” (Stones Throw Records)
Los Angeles artist Kiefer was born and raised in San Diego and immersed in jazz by his father. He shares a new single this week that does righteous justice to a deep crate nugget by The Crusaders. From Southern Comfort, that group’s 1974 second album on the ABC/Blue Thumb label, “When There’s Love Around” is a melodic fusion tender bit that showed the softer side to their double album amalgam; the beat steers funk, jazz, soul and R&B through the emblematic band’s musical prism.
Kiefer, who has toured the world and collaborated with Kaytranada, SiR, Terrace Martin, Lalah Hathaway, Moses Sumney, Abraham Laboriel, and more, dials the track’s tempo down and expands its inner whimsey, floating it out a bit further with crosswind breezy solos. It’s damn hard to outdo The Crusaders, but Kiefer’s team of DJ Harrison, Andy McCauley, Josh Johnson, Will Logan, Sam Wilkes, and other jazz luminaries have put out a detailed signature version. It almost causes bewilderment, of the goosebump kind. Last year, Kiefer won a Grammy for Best R&B Album for his production work on Anderson Paak’s Ventura, so you the skill set and quality control is way past legit.
Kiefer releases the When There’s Love Around LP on August 27.
HERBIE HANCOCK AT NAPA’S OXBOW RIVER STAGE ON SEPTEMBER 25TH
While it’s a couple months out, there is a strong possibility this may be Herbie Hancock’s last round of live performances. He is a comet, a vessel that moves through jazz, hip-hop, fusion, electronic music—Hancock even put out a drum and bass track during the late ’90s, and it wasn’t half bad. But his genius is really about his ability to stay abreast, not just embrace. Remember, he’s one of the last titans from the Blue Note days, but still plays alongside the new guard; Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Kamasi Washington, West Coast Get Down. Those collaborations are not just a passing of a torch, they are insurance that this Black American art form called jazz carries on with loving respect.
Get tickets here.