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Monday, May 20, 2024

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Arts + CultureMusicUnder the Stars: Gauging the Bay Area spring music...

Under the Stars: Gauging the Bay Area spring music hype

Free Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, SF Symphony at the Movies, Brijean's return help patch tragedies like the A's leaving

Do you want to know what’s good, mostly musical, coming from The Bay and beyond this spring? Hop on and let’s get right into it.

What’s Not Hype:

TikTok chefs and the Oakland A’s playing in West Sacramento for two seasons.

They don’t even get the slant font.

What’s Hype:

San Francisco Symphony’s Spring Film Series at Davies Symphony Hall where you can watch and hear your favorite films with a live orchestral performance of the score. Wizard of Oz, Gladiator, and Star Wars, just to name a few.

Tap in here for the full lineup.

What’s also Hype:

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival begins its 24th Season of Programming with over 100 Free Performances from May 4 to November 2 in downtown San Francisco. The Festival Kicks-Off Saturday, May 4 with a free concert from Pedrito Martinez. And just before it wraps up in Nov, London-based eight-piece musical group KOKOROKO, led by Sheila Maurice-Grey, will play their jazz and Afrobeat stylized fusion. That’s the true HYPE. 

Tap in for the entire YBGF Line up here.

That’s how it works.



Where else can you tune in and get stellar music recommendations from a variety of musicians, DJs, comedians, and smartasses… And I mean Larry David-type pretty, pretty good recommendations.

Take, for example, the most recent one featuring Munaf Rayani from the post-rock band Explosions In The Sky.

Listen, I don’t even know who that band is. But I can tell you this much, between the Vince Guaraldi Black Orpheus cover album, and the all-time De La Soul record “Stakes Is High,” add to it the Bill Evans and Erroll Garner jazz picks….. I’ll be looking up that band soon.

That’s the luxury of this series, a band that is a complete stranger to your ears can suggest great music.

Shouts to Amoeba SF. That’s hype!


The first track from the formerly Bay Area-based duo of percussionist and singer-songwriter Brijean Murphy and multi-instrumentalist and producer Doug Stuart is a herky-jerk disco shuffler. “Workin’ On It” sees Murphy and Stuart return to familiar polyrhythmic terrain, but I gotta tell you there is a large section of Macro that expands the parameters of this band from breakbeat goodies to indie-pop delicacies. Both members, who’ve played and backed up so many Bay Area artists and musicians in general when not making their epic albums, use sonic muscle memory to go from the familiar to “Are you freaking kidding me” new indie terrain like the professionals we’ve come to expect. Macro pulls everything into focus. 

Pre-order here. and catch them at The Independent this August.


We’ve only just begun. Montreal’s Kaia Kater’s new album, Strange Medicine, coming May 17, alludes to what country music can be and do through not just a Black gaze, but from the perspective of a new generation who sees it ready for infusion.

I’ve run through this album several times and it’s a polyrhythmic journey through Americana, with spurts of jazz, expansive ideas, stringent composition, and dramatic film score anatomy. From the sweeping collab with Allison Russell on “In Montreal”, with Kater’s banjo leading the way, Strange Medicine kicks down “old head energy” ideas about country. Pre-order the game changer here.


Bay got labels. File Text Me Records under what’s bubbling up for that next, next.

Leading the imprint’s way is SF’s La Doña. Barack Obama knows what’s up, but that’s last year’s news.

Boysareout from Jammy, with features by P-Lo, Nate Curry, and BxRod, is for the 2024 Bay Knock.

“Trying Me,” the in-and-out under two-and-a-half-minute banger for sure, keeps paying rent in your brain days after the first.

Get it here.


It is damn hard work to get a song to sound exactly like what the title infers.

My-tee My-tee, hard work.

But just a sniff of the poppy chords, melodic keyboard runs,  lead singer’s nasal optimism, and most definitely the “I know I’m cool mang”  don’t care” basslines running through.

This three-minute change, top down on the convertible. It’s a slapper of cool-kid vibes. Oakland’s bubblegum popsters Lunchbox will have you seeing life through those rose-colored shades flying over The Bay Bridge.

“I’m Yours, You’re Mine,” which the band calls “junkshop soul,” feels like spring, hits like summer, and you will not want to let that feeling go. Boy Howdee, that’s fer sure.

Catch Lunchbox at SF’s Make Out Room with Torrey & Seablite on May 18, and June 8th, for Oakland Weekender at Thee Stork Club, and pre-order their new record Pop and Circumstance landing in May.


SF artist Sis announced their third album, and first full-length since 2019, Vibhuti, which will be released on their own Native Cat label in June. “Mothers Grace,” the lead single sees Jenny Gillespie Masons’ recording project still putting forth that vigorous fusion of analog frequencies with a modern production approach.

Pre-order it 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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