Under the Stars is a quasi-weekly column that presents new music releases, upcoming shows, and a number of other adjacent items. We keep on rising to the top, SF!
But first …
The music is starting to get faint around here, people.
It happened just 10 days after reporting that longtime music site The Bay Bridged would shut down operations in October. SF Weekly, a four-decade-plus veteran in these Bay alt-weekly streets, announced that it too would be shuttering “indefinitely.”
“We are putting SF Weekly on hold while we invest all of our resources in revitalizing and growing the SF Examiner,” said recently appointed Examiner editor-in-chief Carly Schwartz in a statement to Broke Ass Stuart. “SF Weekly has been a vital part of the city’s discourse for years and we are looking for ways to maintain the brand in the future.”
In light of these unfortunate circumstances, we here at 48hills will continue to keep you informed on local and national music events. (Read former SF Weekly editor Peter-Astrid Kane’s remembrance for us here.)
Keep it locked. OK, let’s Go!
BENDIK GISKE, “CRUISING” (Laurel Halo Remixes)
Whenever there is a Laurel Halo remix attached to a project, that right there is a good reason for further exploration. Norwegian saxophonist, composer, and artist Bendik Giske—who released his new album Cracks last month via Smalltown Supersound imprint—was smart enough to allow admirer-of-his-craft Halo make two reworks of his centerpiece track “Cruising.”
Halo shapes the arrangement to highlight the ambient discord aesthetic that resides in Giske’s music. These tracks make their way seamlessly through experimental bass-heavy textures while retaining a fringe demeanor. The Halo remixes on the whole soar and plummet with fetching tempo, talkative synths, and fluid vibration. All these are dealt out over heartbeat-thump and time-stretched saxophone.
ANDY SHAUF IN SANTA CRUZ (SEPTEMBER 28)
“Spanish On The Beach,” the new single from the Saskatchewan storytelling soft rock gawd throws tender, melodic guitar patterns over Greek chorus woodwinds. Andy Shauf weaves a vacation tale that goes lost in translation. No, it’s not a “White Lotus,” off-the-rails scenario, just another case of our famed buzzard luck taking center stage, coming up heartbroken again.
So why do we listen to these tales? Shauf has this charismatic way of presenting the human condition, rendered in catchy hooks, funny lines, and gut-punch reality moments that seem to track the real with all its harsh edges. His 2020 Neon Skyline album still rings true. It’s a no-skip album for sure.
Shauf performs at Moe’s Alley in Santa Cruz on September 28. Purchase tickets here.
JAMIRE WILLIAMS, BUT ONLY AFTER YOU HAVE SUFFERED (International Anthem)
Houston-based polymath Jamire Williams has worked with Solange, Moses Sumney, Blood Orange, Christian Scott, and Dr. Lonnie Smith during his career. His new album But Only After You Have Suffered, out in October, incorporates those diverse talents and tastes within his own swirl. Described by him as “rooted in faith, weaving soul, hip hop, psych, and more to create a deeply personal art-pop masterwork,” the enigmatic lead single “Hands Up” is ring-dinger-alarm that something grand is about to erupt. You’ve been kindly alerted.
Pre-order here already.
KAAM, “COOKIE POLICIES EP” (Circus Company)
KAAM is a band. Wait—is it? More of a collective involving talented musicians, who are friends, not from “Friends,” stretched out across the world that comes together to make tunes that make your boom boom go shake? Is that It? I think so. Featuring Dave Aju, Alland Byallo, Kenneth Scott, and Marc Smith, the lads released their sophomore LP Cookie Policies last fall. It displayed a comprehensive rangy-don’t call me at the house type funk. Do ya smell me?
Sporting a free-jazz meet cute indie rock melange rooted in bass-bin script, it’s the right type of bump in the night. Or so we thought.
Now with an EP specifically designed for the dance floor—all the way through—KAAM has taken off the guard rails, removed the drop cloth, and let their engines run wild. Purring with bumpity grumble, and delight. The Cookie Policies Remix EP “takes the diverse textural arrangements and expansive sonic bliss of the LP and stretches it around some solid percussive membranes,” as per the liner notes.
I’ll dance it another way. KAAM just created six tunes that give funk-face to your booty.
THAO & THE GET DOWN STAY DOWN, TEMPLE DELUXE EDITION (Ribbon Music)
Thao is a Bay Area treasure. Musician. Visual artist. Painfully truthful. There are not enough accolades to describe the street cred this artist carries and deserves. I stumbled across a video she did that took place in an all-night grocery store a couple of years ago, and it cracked me up and gave me the damn willies. She has a deluxe edition of her 2020 album Temple getting released soon.
You know the record that had the “Phenom” video shot in Zoom (before everybody got sick of taking Zoom calls?) Yeah, that one. It was featured on CBS Sunday Morning’s Sunny Awards and The Washington Post labeled it “the first great Zoom music video.” Variety called it a “brilliantly creative use of technology and choreography.”
Visionary people. That’s Thao. She is currently on the road as support for Julien Baker, and next month she will be performing on The Lantern Tour alongside Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, and others. Proceeds from that tour will benefit the Women’s Refugee Commission.
Until she makes it back to the Bay, peep the video. Who knows how viral this one will go.
Pre-order the new album here.
ERIS DREW, QUIVERING IN TIME (T4T LUV NRG)
Quivering in Time is the upcoming Eris Drew debut album people have been anticipating since her sweat-inducing, hotboxing, out-of-control gamechanger Raving Disco Breaks Vol 1 mixtape from 2019.
In 2020, Drew moved from her hometown of Chicago to a forest cabin in rural New Hampshire, where Quivering In Time was written, recorded, and mixed. Spanning nine tracks, the LP—which follows 2020’s Fluids Of Emotion EP — is an expression of Drew’s anxiety and hope in her present, and a summation of her main message: every person deserves to be themselves. The LP is out October 29th via T4T LUV NRG, the label Drew runs with Octo Octa.
You can pre-order the digital album here.
ST. VINCENT AT GREEK THEATRE (SEPTEMBER 23)
If you’ve been following the ever-mutating career of St. Vincent, a project spawned from the mind and talent of Annie Clark, every new album reaches far beyond a run-of-the-mill concept. She occupies alter egos like performers starring in Off-Broadway one-acts. But this time she’s angled the creation from a timestamp.
Deep undercover, glistening in a lower east side 1970s New York City humid sleaze—with all the downtrodden kink and posture of a Lou Reed character trapped in a Steely Dan arrangement. St. Vincent trolls Sheena Easton’s “Morning Train,” channels Candy Darling—peep the wig people—and pays homage to Nina Simone on her sixth shapeshifter project, Daddy’s Home. The album from lands the vibe of post-hippy naivete, just before the escapist strains of euphoric disco, or the rejective anarchy of punk; Daddy’s Home, available in vinyl form or cassette, 8-track sold out, (for those who know what that is) roots itself in the sullied and tattered funk of garbage strikes and strung out denizens hustling just to make it another day.
She brings the live version of this wonder wheel of perfected tales that move with a Bowie plastic soul ethos to the Greek Theater in Berkeley on Thursday, September 23. Attendees will be able to purchase a candle that bestows a leather scent. Making this current visceral backdrop, odorous.
“Pay Your Way In Pain,” the first single from the album, produced by long-term colleague Jack Antonoff, wheels out tales of broken-down humans. It could be a woman getting home from a night out while others start their days. “Last night’s heels on the morning train. Glamour that’s been up for three days straight” stated St. Vincent in a press release, making clear the analog span commanded this tone.
“Stevie, Sly, Stones, Steely Dan, Chords, Groove. The days when sophisticated harmony and rhythm didn’t sound heady-they just sounded, and felt good. Lots of guitar. But warm sounds, not distortion or chaos. Hopefully, a turn nobody will see coming.”