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Arts + CultureMusicUnder the Stars: Vesuvio ready to blow with 75th...

Under the Stars: Vesuvio ready to blow with 75th anniversary Kerouac Alley bash

Plus: the hip-hop rucksack of Stik Figa, Spacemoth spreads her wings, a rad '80s night, more music news

Under the Stars does the heavy lifting, placing good music in your pocket. Listen up: we are 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. Ok, Let’s get it!

STIK FIGA & THE EXPERT, RITUAL (RUCKSACK RECORDS)

As we get closer to the summertime celebration of hip-hop’s 50th anniversary, I’m going to need to see the independent wing represented just as much as the cash-money foyer of the McMansion.

It is extremely important. De La Soul recorded their debut, one of the most important records not only in rap history but pop as well, for $13,000 using only a Casio RZ-1 drum machine-sampler and another device called an Eventide harmonize. So, what’s the point? 

It is the heart and imagination that wins every time, not the tech.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m only now becoming acquainted with the talented Emcee Stik Figa (his releases include early collaborations with Oddisee) and producer The Expert.

Ritual, their 13-song release that clocks in at just over 30 minutes, allowed Stik Figa and his Topeka, Kansas drawl to journey through jazz, soul, and psychedelic sound explorations with heart.

Check out the tracklist to see who hops on, including Blu, Solemn Brigham (of Marlowe), Defcee, Sleep Sinatra, and Tanya Morgan. The true beauty of this record, however, lies in the producer’s deep crate zagging and Stik Figa’s “I’m a man of God until I’m not” energy. He sees the world as a giant test that most of the time you pass, but other times when folks press, you gotta take the L, and let them know, you ain’t the one.

Rucksack here for the win once more.

MARYAM QUDUS: PRODUCER

The last time we spoke with Maryam Qudus aka Spacemoth, it was in January and she was direct and to the point. “One of the things I enjoy most in the world is holing up in the studio and playing with synthesizers.”

Qudus produced and engineered an indie-rock, folk EP by Oaklands own Sophia Yau-Weeks at Tiny Telephone Recording Studio.

Without You, a grounded and tender musing on relationships, love, and friendship through folk-inspired jams, comes on the heels of another Qudus produced project.

Between The Lines by Forest Bees is the solo project of Berkeley-based Sheetal Singh, formerly the bassist of the psychedelic shoegaze group the Stratford 4. Mixed and produced by Maryam Qudus at Best House, in Berkeley, the album was called an infusion of synthesized sounds and trip-hop beats with Bollywood elements as Singh “explores different facets of her identity as a South Asian woman in America” by Bandcamp Daily.

DJ Troubleman

SWEETWATER MUSIC HALL ’80S NIGHT WITH DJ TROUBLEMAN AND AARON SAUL, SATURDAY, JULY 8, MILL VALLEY

I’m going to say this even though I’m not sure who needs to hear it.

DJ Troubleman, will take you on a musical journey through realms you were unaware even existed. Just show up, pay your admission fee, and let ‘em do the rest. 

Don’t ask no questions, don’t make no requests. Essentially don’t play yourself.

The man is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to music, as is typical, but because he hails from a very particular time period (Hip-Hop, for those who don’t know), the acumen and the intellect lock on like a Steph Currey 50-point night when he’s shooting 3-pointers aimlessly from the halfcourt.

You can thank me later because this is going to be a dousey.

Respect your DJ. More info here.

VESUVIO’S 75TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY IN JACK KEROUAC ALLEY NOON, SUNDAY, JULY 9

On July 9, we have an extra special, legitimate reason to throw a party in a city where everyone seems to find a reason to celebrate just about waking moment. 

North Beach legend Vesuvio Cafe, whose building was designed by architect Italo Zanolini and completed in 1916, is one of the city’s most admired tourist attractions to this day. The bar itself was founded in 1948 by Henri Lenoir, and frequented by Beat Generation celebs including Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Neal Cassady. The common alley shared with City Lights was originally called “Adler” but was renamed “Jack Kerouac Alley” in 1988.

Local bands Chime School, Seablite, Umbrellas, Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, Donna Personna, Circulators, This Train Don’t Stop, and The Barney’s will all perform in that charming alley for everyone to see in honor of the Vesivio’s 75th birthday, noon to 7pm.

Partake in the celebrations that promises to be oh so San Francisco.

JAIME DRAKE AT CAFE DU NORD, AUGUST 9

In Brazil, the term “bossa” refers to something done with elegance, natural flare, or aptitude.

Jamie Drake, a much-talked-about and enormously gifted Los Angeles singer-songwriter, found the proper entry point for stepping into fresh skin on her sophomore album New Girl from 2022. She’s soundtracked a type of transition by fusing her history with samba accents and a love of folk—musically, with a love for the bossa nova genre, and artistically, moving into a new elegance.

Her time-traveling voice, which connects paths from Carole King to Judy Collins with a touch of Maria Muldaur’s humor, pumps brilliant one-liners that poke fun at her peculiarities and, more broadly, the human condition. 

Listen, in the past I’ve spent weeks, count ’em, weeks, in all corners, searching for records, here at Amoeba in SF, hunting down those funky-folky moods. With a sound jacket of deep crate finds of the AOR, jazz, soft rock, Brazilian, and folk persuasion?

Drake makes that foxy lemonade from those trifling Meyer lemons. Unquestionably KCRW drip. Listener-supported sauce. This promises to be a killer show. Grab tix here.

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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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