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Thursday, May 23, 2024

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Arts + CultureMusicUnder the Stars: Blues Lawyer's Internet overdose, Fazerdaze expands...

Under the Stars: Blues Lawyer’s Internet overdose, Fazerdaze expands her shoegaze…

The Reds, Pinks and Purples cruise through with a new album and Genevieve Artadi winks at hair metal. New music!

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.

Let’s get it!


Glenn Donaldson’s alias The Reds, Pinks and Purples outfits every new project with sleek cover art and sharp lines that frame the colorful nature that is San Francisco. Picturesque views of city life, never a tourist shot, just places you recognize while out schlep-rocking through the streets. Classic rides meet ’70s-inspired architecture, both in need of a fresh coat of paint. 

The style cannot be suppressed. It’s so relaxed and understated. It’s as if you’re getting an insider’s view of what makes this big town work in both good and bad times.

Donaldson’s approach and delivery were just as hushed when he performed at Bottom of the Hill as part of the Noise Pop Festival last year. Weaving tales, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar as if he were among life-long friends, spinning yarns.

Donaldson cranks up the guitar fuzz on his new album, The Town That Cursed Your Name, due out on Slumberland in March, sending waves of melodic buzz throughout, nodding to Paul Westerberg and Grant McLennan.

His opening slot for Destroyer on tour later this year is well-earned prime real estate accrued through riding out waves and trends.

According to fellow songsmith Karina Gill, Donaldson dedicates the new album “to everyone who ever tried to start a band in the Bay,” a sentiment that makes me crack a smile and drop a deep breath sigh, all at once. When I consider the swarms of former housemates, neighbors, and frenemies I’ve supported by going to an empty-ass bar on a Friday night to see so and so’s new project.

Kudos San Francisco. Thank you. Y tu mamá también.

On 2/16, the Reds, Pinks and Purples will perform at Rickshaw Stop alongside Chime School. Pre-order The Town That Cursed Your Name here. Get a ticket to the show here.


I somehow missed the return of New Zealand’s Amelia Murray, aka Fazerdaze, who dropped her first release in about five years during spooky season 2022, between Halloween and hating Pumpkin Lattes (yep, still hate em). Break!, which I can only assume is a reference to her taking a long one, appears to have improved this already talented shoegazin’ youngin’s chops.

Morningside, her 2017 debut on the legendary NZ label Flying Nun Records, featured Murray dealing lyrical attitude smartly over sappy hooks and observational commentary, served with a heaping helping of Slowdive dream pop. It had that whole Sofia Coppola thing— the notion of disillusionment—with vocals pushed back in the mix for the emphasis of twee.

Break! busts out of the Coppola-meets-Wes Anderson ghetto and improves on all of the preceding material with expressive narratives and Murray tinkering with the atmospheres. Check out “Winter” with its R&B leaning (it’s not, but it’s getting there), cheery ballad self and the sleek figure “Thick of It All,” which causes finger snaps and handclaps to surface amid the synthy velour. Fazerdaze is growing and finding new musical boulevards to cruise down.

Amelia, welcome home. Pick up Break! here.


Speaking of Flying Nun Records…

Blues Lawyer is an Oakland four-piece band formed in 2017 as an outlet for guitarist-vocalist Rob I. Miller and drummer Elyse Schrock to write pop songs outside of the constraints of their other bands—in other words, they’re grooving with the archetypal “wiry lo-fi” format of that famed New Zealand label.

Bits and snippets of “Nowhere To Go,” an ode to Internet overdose during the lockdown period when many people suffered from millennial malaise and depression by doom scrolling for dark art entertainment.

While Miller softly coos about the indoor Olympics gone wrong, the track rolls and tumbles with alternative ’90s drum-driven boisterousness. Pick up All In Good Time on the Dark Entries Records imprint here.


When it comes to the Brainfeeder empire, I don’t care which side of the fence you’re on. Founded by none other than Steven Ellison, aka Flying Lotus, DJ and filmmaker extraordinaire, and the late jazz pianist Alice Coltrane’s grandnephew—this label can be many things, subtle is not in the mortar.

Take a look at the lineup and you’ll see Thundercat, Kamasi Washington, Georgia Anne Muldrow, pretty much the front line of progressive jazz, and some other stuff going on right now.

Under those heavyweights, Brainfeeder constantly signs and makes room for new artists who may be exploring the jazz-related space but feel the need to add some different accents to the patina.

Genevieve Artadi, a self-described “creative tornado,” who has written and collaborated with Thundercat and is well-known for her work with the multi-talented Louis Cole, joins the camp.

“Visionary,” the lead single from the upcoming album Forever Forever, by the LA based  singer-songwriter and producer, combines the profundity of punk attitude with the electronic feel of Miles Davis. We’re treated to a face-melter jazz fusion guitar solo, prog-rock build-up, and tongue-in-cheek video evoking the glory days of ’80s hair metal.

You can pre-order the album 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 Shiver
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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