Under the Stars is a quasi-weekly column that presents new music releases and a number of other adjacent items. Let’s get it!
Zacky, who runs the San Francisco record store Nice Timing, has shared the shuffling house track “Bay Area Blues.” With a cooling, foggy demeanor resembling the muddle-haze that runs through Hayes Valley and over the Mission, it’s a fitting accomplice to sky-gazing in Dolores Park. Catch him live at Monarch presented by WERD on July 25th.
San Francisco-based songwriter Glenn Donaldson makes gorgeous, melancholic, easy-on-the-ear tunes that harken to a city gone by, where you could buy a burrito for five bucks, see a great band at Kilowatt and catch a classic flick at The Red Vic on Haight. Recording now as The Reds, Pinks & Purples, Donaldson, who is always upfront about the struggle for artists in this city, does indeed pen evergreen jangle-pop earworms that can please and gut-punch simultaneously. The Reds, Pinks & Purples will play at The Rickshaw on August 6th with The Umbrellas, Healing Potpourri, and Blues Lawyer. Enjoy the band’s new track “Work It Out While You Can” while you wait for that gig.
We wrote about our eagerness for Lyra Pramuk‘s Fountain album in early 2020, and her song “Tendril” off that project still rings clear and vibrant. Described as futuristic folk music, the seven tracks on Fountain feature Pramuk’s voice, as redesigned by electronic production methods. Delta, a remix LP of Fountain, features 14 reworks from artists such as Caterina Barbieri, KMRU, Vessel, Ben Frost, Eris Drew, Kara-Lis Coverdale, Hudson Mohawke and Gabber Modus Operandi. It will be released by Bedroom Community on September 24th.
San Francisco band Cold Beat (dope name) will release their new album War Garden this fall. Utilizing synthesized textures, full melodic arrangements, and fetchingly BIG ’80s retro-futuristic poise, the track “See You Again” stuns and delights within the same frame. War Garden will be released September 17th.
Every now and again you get a sneaky suspicion that an upcoming album may be better than good—and that’s the whiff coming from Private Space, the upcoming project from Durand Jones & The Indications. It seems this time around, things are a bit more uptempo, glittery—properly tapping on that disco ball. Need proof? Take a gander at this stoic visual for “The Way That I Do,” shot at Josephine’s Southern Cooking in Chicago, which features Pete & Linda Frazier, the 2019 winners of the World’s Largest Steppers Contest. This is how you kick a pandemic to the curb. Private Space is out July 30th on Dead Oceans in association with Colemine Records.
London-based duo Kit Sebastian shares their new single “Agitate,” the first track to be taken from their forthcoming sophomore album Melodi. Those familiar with the band’s 2019 cult classic debut record Mantra Moderne will have no trouble recognizing this latest amalgam of rhythm, rock, and sophistication. Written during the first UK lockdown and recorded that summer, “Agitate” is a rallying cry against pacification by the hegemony. Sung in English and Turkish, the song is a wake-up call from the ambiguous political position in which many find themselves in today. As the band explains, “The song calls its listeners to remember, act against injustice, and question figures of authority from our daily lives.” Luckily for us, that urgent message is wrapped up in a refined stride. You immediately sense that this band could be the nieces and nephews of Swing Out Sister. Meaning, their twist of global funk, rock, and psychedelia meld together quite sensibly.
Joan Wasser a.k.a. JOAN AS POLICE WOMAN has shared the first taste of her album The Solution Is Restless, written and recorded with Dave Okumu of The Invisible and legendary drummer Tony Allen shortly before he passed away. “Take Me To Your Leader’” carries a righteous message and low-slung arrangement.
Of the album, Joan Wasser says, “Damon Albarn introduced me to Afrobeat legend Tony Allen at the March 2019 Africa Express event ‘The Circus,’ and we hit it off. Tony and I played a version of Nina Simone’s “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” and decided to record together. I asked my old friend and fierce musician, Dave Okumu, to join me from London, and that November, in a Parisian studio, we improvised all night. When the world shut down, I used those recordings to write a record entitled ‘The Solution Is Restless.’ This first single ‘Take Me To Your Leader’ is the most incendiary on the new record. I wrote it watching Jacinda Ardern, PM of New Zealand, navigate 2020. In my dream world, the US asks to meet her in order to learn how to better run the country. ‘Take me to your leader/ ‘cause I’m ready to play/ can’t hold my breath any longer/ word on the street is she’s a healer/I know I’m down to obey/ and don’t we need a break in the chaos’”