Under the Stars is a quasi-weekly column that presents new music releases, upcoming shows, and a number of other adjacent items. We keep moving with the changes, thinking outside the margins, stoked to see the films Skyfall and Toy Story to be presented by the San Francisco Symphony on March 16-19 (purchase tickets here), and bummed with the reminder that Bandcamp is a tech company. We’re back from the Noise Pop 2022 mosh-pit, is ready to hop into the minutia. Let’s get it, Mane!
AUTOMATIC, “NEW BEGINNING” (STONES THROW RECORDS)
Automatic is a three-piece electronic post-punk band from LA formed in 2017: Lola Dompé on drums, Izzy Glaudini on synths, and Halle Saxon Gaines on bass. Since the release of their debut Signal in September 2019, the trio has sound-tracked Hedi Slimane’s Paris Fashion Week show for Céline, toured the USA, and opened for legendary post-punk band Bauhaus’ reunion shows at the Hollywood Palladium.
Signal connected the group’s affinity for dub reggae, motorik rhythms, and gnarly synth work. Inspired by bands NEU! and Suicide, and combining the B-52’s vocals with ESG jitters, the album eviscerated at two and three minutes per track. Darting through post-punk moods and eras with devil-may-care composure.
“New Begining,” the lead track from upcoming Excess album, finds the trio back with a new tension of automated machine-like pop. The album rides an imaginary edge where ‘70s underground met the corporate culture of the ‘80s—or, as the band puts it, “That fleeting moment when what was once cool quickly turned and became mainstream, all for the sake of consumerism.”
Loaded with themes that will deliver even further upon that metallic groove they are notorious for, Glaudini sums it up: “The record is about what happens to our psyches when we’re conditioned to certain values, the consequences of those values, and a desire to resist them.”
Catch Automatic at The Fox Theater in Oakland on April 27 or way down the road on a packed bill in September with Osees, September 5-7 at The Chapel. Excess is out on Stones Throw on June 24. Pre-order here.
YVES TUMOR AT 1015 FOLSOM MARCH 18
If you were lucky to catch Yves Tumor at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park last year, remember this: On a weekend loaded to the teeth with international, big show, pyrotechnics, and fireworks—showmanship they call it—Yves Tumor delivered one of the most punk-rock stage entrances.
With fog machines turned up past 11, and the first real big crowd of the day moving quickly across the grass, responding to the “get at me” drums and horns at the top of “Gospel For a New Century,” a corseted Yves Tumor launched into their hit with fans cheering, yelling, waving hands, shaking it, phones and heads nodding in unison. It was a real concert moment… until I realized they, onstage, were running off a digital recording of some sort. But the memory of their incredible stage still impresses, hopefully accompanied by a live expansion.
If you have the opportunity to attend the 1015 Folsom show, make it a priority. Purchase tickets here.
HUICHICA MUSIC FESTIVAL JUNE 10-12, SONOMA
Vaccuum out the car people, festival season is upon us!
Huichica Music Festival announced last week its lineup for the 12th independent micro-music festival, bringing live music, estate-grown wines, and farm-to-table food to California’s oldest family-owned winery, Gundlach Bundschu in Sonoma.
Known for its highly curated musical acts and intimate size, the two-day festival returns to its typical summer dates and will feature a dynamic array of indie rock and folk artists such as Allah-Las, ESG, Turnover, W.I.T.C.H., Damien Jurado, La Luz, Woods, and more.
You can get a taste of headliner Bobby Oroza above.
Presented in a partnership between Jeff Bundschu and Bay Area promoter and curator (((FolkYEAH!))) Presents, the all-ages, family-friendly music festival takes place on Bundschu’s estate, including a historic barn and idyllic outdoor amphitheater.
Two-day general admission passes for $295 are on sale now, with single-day tickets as well. Children under 12 are free. To purchase tickets, visit here.
EGO ELLA MAY, “FIELDNOTES PT II EP”
Please tune into to Ego Ella May’s eternal enthusiasm. It’s to your own benefit, my friend.
The British-Nigerian award-winning singer-songwriter and musician coaxes stellar results from her deep interweaving of soul, jazz, and contemporary R&B, showcased up front on ever-unfolding track “Beautiful Days,” from this most recent EP. “Fieldnotes, Pt II” is a quick five track blip, yet also a telling communique centering Ego’s experience with love and relationships.
“I wrote part two of this project about my observations on my cycles of love. The songs are in order of how things seem to go for me,” she says. Maintaining a certain type of focus on manifesting positive thought—one that sees the sun—glows throughout this must-purchase EP. You can and should do that here.
SF MUSIC DAY, MARCH 20
Music is coming back into our lives in the most expansive way possible, and we could not be more delighted with the notion of removing the earpod mechanism from our head and taking in new live sounds. Glory be, let the City entertain us!
Now in its 14th year, SF Music Day—the free all-day music marathon from 12-7pm on Sun/20, held at the War Memorial Veteran Building, will present 30 local groups, over 100 artists, and a plethora of musical styles. Classical, global, modern jazz, and new music shall all be on display.
It’s a mouthful, but my goodness the lineup reps the Bay to down to a science:
Performers include Philharmonia Baroque, Ensemble San Francisco, Classical Revolution, Aveta Trio, Quinteto Latino, Lieder Alive!, Angela Lee and Marc Teicholz, Sierra Ensemble, Earplay, Splinter Reeds, Irene Sazer and Kate Stenberg, Trio Solano, John Calloway and the Flute Odyssey, Alaya Projec featuring Roopa Mahadevan, The Mycos Project, Anna Maria Mendieta Ensemble, Tiffany Austin, duo B. Experimental Band with Lisa Mezzacappa and Jason Lewis, Jeremy Cohen: Violinjazz, Phillip Greenlief and David Boyce, JazzPhoria, Marcus Shelby, Rent Romus’ Life’s Blood Ensemble, Black London, Nora Stanley, and more to be announced.
For more info go here.