Under the Stars is a quasi-weekly column that presents new music releases, upcoming shows, Bandcamp picks, and a number of other adjacent items. We keep moving with the changes, thinking outside the margins, and wondering….. What would you do without our stellar taste in music?
Probably just stand still. Welp, let’s not have that happen. Our food guru Tamara Palmer is a published book author and straight-up phenomenal music journalist who I used to read back in the day when she wrote for URB Magazine.
She remains gangster with a mix she put together called Women Respond to Bass (1963-2023) that’s a tribute to innovative women and features tracks by Nabihah Iqbal, Star Eyes, Anz, Beyoncé, Björk, and Xyla to name a few. I’ve never heard a mix like this before, and it deserves proper shine.
Give it a listen here and when you read her column you can eat to the beat!
Ok! Let’s get to those Bandcamp Friday Picks, when artists get your support directly, without any middleperson fees.
SHAFIQ HUSAYN, “SOFAS” FROM SO GOLD (NATURE SOUNDS)
Los Angeles-based Sa-Ra Creative Partner Shafiq Husayn makes soul arrangements with high-definition watercolors that drip with meaning. These good vibes hang in the air like slow-moving fog, when Karl can’t seem to keep it moving around these Bay area skies.
“Sofas,” the first single from Husayn’s upcoming album So Gold, featuring The Dove Society, an expansive LA musical collective, is another slice of that neo-soul wrapped up in hang vibe accessibility and new school buoyancy. It puts listeners at the ready for the next installment from this cutting-edge, Grammy-winning producer.
IRREVERSIBLE ENTANGLEMENTS, “NUCLEAR WAR” FROM RED HOT + RA: NUCLEAR WAR
So, I only saw Prince live once. But it was epic.
It was The Lovesexy Tour 89 that came together with Black Album selections.
So many costume changes, that White Caddy for “Alphabet Street,” and his instrumental outfit Madhouse opened for him, including a Charlie Parker set.
That show, along with seeing Miles Davis live at Newport in the 1980s (still giving fools in the audience the Death Stare with a red trumpet in hand) and catching Irreversible Entanglements last year at The New Parrish in Oakland as part of the Noise Pop Festival, a style of programming organizers could have used in 2023, is the Mount Rushmore to climb for amazing shows in my lifetime.
Miles and Prince are no longer present in physical form… but Irreversible Entanglements are.
As evidenced by their 18-minute “Nuclear War,’ containing all the elements that make this free-jazz explosion in frequency one of a few must-see live groups this decade. They take Sun Ra’s anti-war and ecological preservation sentiment and turn it into a very public and boisterous discussion on humans and their innate ability to harm. This is a glowing advertisement for Red Hot and RA: Nuclear War, a tribute to the one and only SUN RA, out May 26.
A compilation that features selections from Georgia Anne Muldrow, Angel Bat Dawid, and Malcolm Jiyane Tree-o. The visual also serves as a catalyst to see one of the most important bands on the planet right now.
CINDY, WHY NOT NOW? (MT.ST.MTN)
Karina Gill uses her San Francisco-based Cindy band moniker to go soft and low on her new album Why Not Now?
It’s far too easy to draw Nico and Velvet Underground parallels, but they ghost up in the private press sessions in her home, where the demos were first conceived.
The slowcore fabric of the single “Trumpet On A Hillside” is built around that singular bareness, a faint Leonard Cohen component.
“Some of these songs were first recorded as demos alone in my basement,” according to Gills’ Bandcamp liner notes page. That process, I believe, set the tone for the album… Perhaps it created a sense of starkness.”
Pick it up here.
HOMEBOY SANDMAN, “A!”
This Queens native has no concept of relaxation.
After helping curate with Oakstop Alliance on Royalty Summit, their 12-track compilation debut album, released last December, prolific lyricist Homeboy Sandman hit the tour circuit in preparation for a new album dropping later this year.
The compilation illuminated the visibility of Oaklands musicians, producers, and engineers by facilitating stress-free collaborations with progressive artists from around the world in the Town.
His new track ‘A!,’ with the visual shot in Berlin, features Sandman enunciating over a striking bassline.
It’s a concept that’s true to form on how this artist continues to sculpt a career focused on the true tenets of hip-hop, making mathematics seem not just organic, but liberating.
As one of the earliest singles to drop on his independent imprint Dirty Looks, Homeboy Sandman felt it was necessary to give the visual treatment to “A!.” He explains:
“I started performing “A!” on a recent European tour. Initially, it was because I played three shows in Sweden with Nuvorrian and I knew Albin Sundstrom would do work with that bassline. The response to the jam was so positive that I decided to keep performing it even once I left Sweden and was joined by DJ Trumastr for the remaining show. The crowd response was just as hype so when Jon-Carlos Evans shouted me out, out of the clear blue sky, and was like “yo I’m in Berlin let’s shoot a music video for one of the songs you’re going to perform at your upcoming show here,” not only was “A!” the obvious choice but I knew it was meant to be. I love the shot of True, me, Taty, and Gato walking up to the venue at the beginning of the video. The “A!” team!”
Keep your eyes peeled here.
PARDONER, PEACE LOVING PEOPLE (BAR/NONE RECORDS)
Is it possible to like a band in theory, respect the approach and then have to clear the room to miss the dismount?
Pardoner, based in San Francisco, who met in 2015 while attending San Francisco State University, sharpening their wayward tactics between studies playing punk stages in the Bay Area, with The Umbrellas and other upstarts, is that exact wise-assed exception.
They set up arrangements with a slacker rock attitude, and switch it up to bang hammer hardcore by way of smirky, muddy delivery.
Mind you, that’s art. It’s a charming clusterf*ck.
Take the lovely pile-up “Are You Free Tonight?” that travels from dewy-eyed grunge to searing Metallica high on bath salts (which actually sounds better than that band’s new release) in under three minutes.
Is Pardoner a floor wax or dessert topping…..
Hrmmm. I’d say they take pleasure in both, and the approach is devastatingly fiendish, like white pepper in the sugarbowl type diabolical.
Band member Max Freeland explains the song is “One of many on the album about our generation, the things we do to get by, and how we’re all goin nowhere fast. Kinda shows the 2 poles of our sound, from something warm and saccharine to something more sinister and violent.”
Pre-order Peace Loving People here, it gets released in June.