One of the joys of discovering and delving into Bay Area talent is that you become a part of their journey, a witness to their growth, and an engaged listener who remains invested in their success. 還 (Kaeru), the Japanese verb meaning “to return home,” is the title of Eki Shola’s new album, which will be available on October 8.
The record was recorded in Japan with Hidenori Tsugita (drums), Tatsuya Okabayashi (morin khuur), and Uma Ebina (shamisen and shakuhachi). This Northern California-based artist and 2020 Best of The Bay winner uses her music as a means of healing. The selection “Kaeru” is presented in an unhurried, languid style that invites repeated listens, melding jazz and soul together seamlessly. Don’t forget to celebrate the album’s release by joining Eki Shola for a free online listening party on Friday, October 6 here.
And with that smooth introduction, it’s Under The Stars, babe. 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.
BLUES LAWYER, SIGHT GAGS ON THE RADIO EP (DARK ENTRIES)
Oakland’s own twee post-punk band has released a new 7″ EP of “summery alt-pop.” Sight Gags On The Radio features high-energy, uptempo tracks that are filled with heartfelt ennui. The first single and music video, “Have Nots,” appears to be a ghostly band on the road, but it’s actually a reunion of the band in Portland, vocalist, songwriter, drummer, and music video creator Elyse Schrock had to relocate due to the financial strains of being an artist in The Bay Area. “Sight Gags On The Radio” will be released on Friday, September 29 via Dark Entries, just before the band’s first tour of Europe and the United Kingdom. Pre-order now.
SEABLITE, “POT OF BOILING WATER” LEMON LIGHTS (MT.STN.MTN.)
Gothy, mysterious, dark, and so damn good, Seablite’s “Pot of Boiling Water” from their upcoming sophomore album, Lemon Lights, is shaping up to be our go-to indie-rock moment of the fall. Way to go SF odd-pop jangle-gaze, ehh?
Save the date for the album release party at Make-Out Room on September 29, which will also celebrate Cool As Fuck’s 10-year anniversary.
PYROLATOR DIE GESCHICHTE VOM HEISSGELAUFENEN REISSWOLF, FUTURE SOUNDS OF KRAUT VOL. 1 COMPILED BY FRED UND LUNA (COMPOST RECORDS)
As asked in the press notes, “Future Sounds of Kraut, what’s it all about?” First, it’s a quick and dark reminder that drum and bass, the roiling atmospheric version that attaches itself to the dark heads style, might have been born out of the Krautrock scene. For those in the know, when you look at the work of Autechre, Bad Company, the heavy side of bass and grumble, some of their roots came from Krautrock’s first wave bands, such as Can and Klaus Schulze, just to name a few.
There’s no shame in it. Miles Davis got turned on by Karlheinz Stockhausen, which launched him into his fusion phase. Krautrock is powerful, and that’s the refreshing thing about Compost Records snatching up Fred and Luna to make a compilation of artists who see new things in the old style. It keeps progressing, melding with the times, and turning over new machinations. Such a good thing.
Pick it up here.
MANNEQUIN PUSSY, “I GOT HEAVEN”
This Philadelphia punk rock band brings a raucous blitzkrieg of mayhem to classic grungy chord progressions, making them a modern-day roustabout demon among other outfits chomping at the bit. Their new single, “I Got Heaven,” produced by John Congleton, is the first tang of new music from the group, with more on the way soon. MP is the real deal, seamlessly transitioning from catchy pop-punk to wild chaos. Recently, they launched Romantic Records, a new imprint that will release the band’s long-out-of-print debut album of the same name. Catch them at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz on October 13.
NATE MERCEREAU, PLAYS TWO VERSIONS OF A MELODY BY TISZIJI MUÑOZ (HOW SO)
In 1996, I eagerly went to see Pharoah Sanders perform at the Masonic Auditorium with percussionists Zakir Hussain and Ustad Allarakha, along with other master Indian musicians. This was the first time I had seen him play in a different style, with low running gear. When he came out on stage, he was wearing brown socks and joined the barefoot tabla players in a circle. There was no skronking, screeching, or apocalyptic blares, just a beautiful harmony with his fellow players.
Before the show, Sanders spoke to SF Gate about his love for Indian music, which he had been following since 1962. He admired the way Indian musicians played together spiritually as a group, without ego, and with pure music. He listened to Bismillah Khan and Ravi Shankar, and felt that he could play with Indian musicians by listening to them and playing what he felt from his heart.
In February, I saw LA musician Nate Mercereau perform at SF JAZZ with Carlos Niño, Jesse Peterson, and legend Idris Ackamoor, doing something similar. Mercereau was complementing. Listening, being, reacting, and finding his place in this wonderfully weird ambient context.
It served as a noteworthy flashback.
His most recent release, a tribute to Tisziji Muñoz (who recorded with Sanders), is a grand moment that makes listeners feel the presence of something palatial. You can pick it up here.