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Thursday, October 6, 2022

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Arts + CultureMusicUnder the Stars: On new album, Larry June speaks...

Under the Stars: On new album, Larry June speaks to what the Bay does best

Plus: Oakland's Dandy Boy Records leads a shoegaze and lo-fi renaissance and a sophmore effort from Big Joanie comes home.

Under the Stars is a quasi-weekly column that presents new music releases, upcoming shows, opinions, and a number of other adjacent items. We keep moving with the changes, thinking outside the margins.

This is the most wonderful time of year. Keep your snowflake Santa on ice for a few more months, and make that pumpkin latte disappear. We’re talking fall music, when the best music arrives. Pay attention:


Big Joanie, a London-based Black feminist punk trio, covered Solange’s “Cranes In The Sky” in 2018, swapping out wistful vistas for dense raw energy that actually saw a light at the end of the guitar-laden reworking. Reverb, guitar feedback, and muddy bass lines represent a different kind of freedom. This is the version you create, rather than the version others believe you should inhabit.

That’s what I like about this band: they bring it their own way, on their own terms. Period.

Back Home, their sophomore album, will be released in the United States on November 4 via Kill Rock Stars. Margo Broom produced and mixed the release, which was recorded at Hermitage Works Studios in North London and features violin by No Home’s Charlotte Valentine. The album’s title refers to “different ideas of home,” according to lead singer and guitarist Stephanie Phillips. “Whether it’s here in the United Kingdom, back in Africa or the Caribbean, or somewhere that doesn’t really exist; it’s neither here nor there.”


Pre-order your copy here.


So, it appears that the SF-Oakland scene’s abundance of shoegaze and lo-fi band activity is still in full swing. When something happens in your own backyard, it may not seem as serious until other media outlets from across the country start to weigh in.

Welp, ring the damn alarm: “There’s not a spot in the country that’s dropping better tunes than the Oakland/San Francisco scene” stated Austin Town Hall last month.

Dandy Boy Records, based in Oakland, released an eclectic sampler of this activity in August with their Welcome to Oakland compilation, and recently dispatched a pretty sweet visual from the latest Sob Stories LP, Fair Shakes, which came out in the spring. And one of our favorite bands, Seablite, who have not only released stellar music for a couple years now but have also played an important role in promoting their peers, recently championed the new Aluminum “Windowpane” EP.

If Seablite is on board, you should be, too.

Check out Dandy Boy Records here.


You can try all the kombucha you want, but nothing will get you centered like a Qur’an Shaheed track. Take notes on the mid-tempo calm that flows for more than five minutes on “Thrive,” in which Shaheed lists phrases and ideas on how to simply be. With lazy Saturday horn lines, keyboard tinkling accents, and vocals that hide the medicine with wisdom, it’s the proper emblem for a 120-minute mixtape that doubles as a conversation.

On The Beauty is Inside, Belgian DJ and tastemaker Lefto collects 19 diverse sonic love gems from various continents, paying tribute to some unsung heroes of the past while highlighting young soul and electronic artists who are coming into focus.

Enjoy Makaya McCravens’ “Crash Course” in the deep end of the pool, or splash in the energetic rain dance of “Membrillo” by South African singer and actress Patience Africa and Spanish composer Pedro Ruy-Blas of 1970s fusion band Dolores.

“’The Beauty is Inside’ is a compilation of original tracks (I personally really like) and tracks from friends who happen to be great artists as well,” says Lefto. “They are all pretty much up-and-coming and deserve more exposure. It has always been my job as a radio man to shine a light on the talented artists who need it the most. We all know how the music industry works, and how hard it is to find your way in that world, so I hope this collection of tracks will give these artists the shine they deserve.”

Oh to have such friends, order here.


Tamara Palmer, our resident Yoda here at 48hills, had Larry June on her year-end mixtape of 2021’s excellent local tracks with “6AM in Sausalito,” which appeared on his 2021 album Orange Print.

With his new album Spaceships on the Blade, the Hunters Point-born and Atlanta-raised lyricist is back in the running for another year-end award. With production from The Alchemist, Jake One, Turbo, Chuck Inglish (of the Cool Kids), Johan Lenox, Mr. Rogers, and others—including longtime collaborator Cardo, who produced the entirety of June’s 2021 album Into the Late Night—this promises to be another stellar release.

There is a distinctness, a lineage that also resides here, and it speaks to how The Bay continues to do what it does best.

June was signed to Warner, but when interest from the label waned, he was placed in label purgatory (as he explained in The Ringer), until Warner let him go and he took control of his own career—including a four-album run during COVID-19. He has not looked back since. You can trace this model of the artist knowing best how to market themselves back to Too $hort.

With June’s 19 tracks over G-funk inspired beats, expect this local artist to level up one mo gin.

Purchase here.


One of the telltale signs of high-level work is the inability to determine when it was created. On that note, we now have access to “Journey To The Star,” the lead track from UK garage producer DJ Perception’s upcoming debut long-player. Put on the blindfold, and we’re back in the late 1990s with this record, which sports a minimal font sticker bearing the name Reinforced. Dollis Hills is all over the skeletal and very active drum pattern, those hazy-yet-celestial minor-major chord colors, and the bass tones directing the entire arrangement.

DJ Perception explores Afrofuturist themes of interstellar travel and Black determination in the face of oppressive infrastructures on his debut record by the same name of the lead single, which drops on October 27. The LP touches on UK garage and dub across nine tracks. The vinyl will be accompanied by a limited-edition zine that chronicles the journey.

Pre-order here.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

John-Paul Shiverhttps://www.clippings.me/channelsubtext
John-Paul Shiver has been contributing to 48 Hills since 2019. His work as an experienced music journalist and pop culture commentator has appeared in the Wire, Resident Advisor, SF Weekly, Bandcamp Daily, PulpLab, AFROPUNK, and Drowned In Sound.

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