Under the Stars: 20th Street Block Party lineup drops, Jazz is Dead the funk

Under the Stars is an almost weekly column that features new music releases, upcoming shows, opinions, and a number of other adjacent items. We continue to evolve with the changes, thinking outside the margins.

We are thrilled with the lineup for this year’s 20th Street Block Party. Local Noise Pop organizers moved the outdoor music festival to a new location near Valencia Street. On October 15, expect established and rising Bay Area-based bands like Destroy Boys, The Seshen, Sour Widows, Juicebumps, and The Umbrellas—everything acts that we have covered over the past two years.

At 48hills, we are more than happy to be one step ahead, always bringing you dynamic talent from The Bay. We hope to see you all at the festival, which is a plus for La Cocina and 826 Valencia.

You can go here for a full list of performers. SF’s outdoor music festival and street market remain free to guests of all ages, but attendees must RSVP online in advance here.

OKAY. Let’s get it!


Adrian Younge, owner of analog record label and studio Linear Labs, and fellow multi-instrumentalist Ali Shaheed Muhammad co-lead the jazz is dead Platform.

They’re both currently on the cover from DownBeat – but something Younge said magazine-style back in 2020 always rings true:

“Hip-hop serves as a conduit to the past. If it wasn’t for hip-hop, there would be a lot of music I wouldn’t know. If it wasn’t for hip-hop, I wonder if I would have even known who Roy Ayers is. Often in black culture, when you’re done with something, you don’t go back. Hip-hop changed that a bit. Hip-hop is vinyl culture taken to the next level.

When Jazz Is Dead comes to San Francisco on Thursday the 25th to perform at August Hall, the history and talent showcased over one evening will make it the once-in-a-lifetime funky history lesson that cratediggers everywhere dream of. .

Katalyst, Henry Franklin, Doug Carn and Brian Jackson (who recently released stunning new music for the BBE fingerprint) will all perform live, alongside the two torchbearers.

Many people are familiar with Jackson’s work alongside poet and musician Gil Scott-Heron, whom Jackson met during Jackson’s freshman year of college. The duo have collaborated on nine albums, including Pieces of a man and Winter in America. Throughout the 1980s, Jackson worked with major artists such as Kool and the Gang, Roy Ayers, Earth, Wind & Fire and Stevie Wonder. Today, Jackson’s arrangements are considered essential in the development of hip-hop, neo-soul and jazz-funk. His message remains timeless.

History, in the present? Without a doubt.

Get tickets here.


I don’t write much about hip-hop these days because I love it so much.

Allow someone else to have their day when something is designed for them.

At the time, I didn’t like how the mainstream media attacked Public Enemy, ATCQ and others.

I was even angered by the marching riders who came 10 years later to declare the Beastie Boys. Paul’s shop a classic, when the same fashionable lemmings disowned the record when it was first released in 1989.

That’s how salty I can get on this art form.

I remember when Rolling Stone only wanted white guys, mostly Brits, on their covers. Look it up on Google. I will be patient. He h.

But I still bought Jann Wenner’s publication, which started in November 1967 at a small Haight-Ashbury print shop right here in SF, waiting for “US” to hit the cover.


The times are changing.

This was when CNN, which has now W. Kamau Bell discuss race on the award-winning fantasy show he produces with them, didn’t even listen to the music or participate in the culture, but knew how to attack what seemed foreign to them.

However, their children understood EXACTLY what it was. Punk 2.0. In any event.

Cheat Codes, the feature debut from Black Thought and Danger Mouse? The stuff of the Gods.

It has all the genius minimalism found on Boogie Down Production / KRS-ONE records of the late 1980s to mid 90s, precision lyrics, proper breath control and the magic of inner rhyme by one of the top five emcees of all time, Tariq Trotter aka Black Thought.

Danger Mouse has matured behind the boards, having worked with Beck and in his Broken Bells project. The producer helped define the “less is more” mantra, right down to the hard bass, crisp kicks and cracking snares.

The new album is fundamental hip-hop. With 12 joints in 38 minutes, including a heavyweight collab with A$AP Rocky and Run The Jewels? I love it, and so do you.

Buy the album here.


Shawn Lee, the award-winning video game composer wanderer, and Andy Platts of Mamas Gun own this very specific space that encompasses the blue-eyed soul, the genetic material of Steely Dan, and the aesthetics of the Doobie Brothers.

Their project, Young Gun Silver Fox, is a natural groove. Color accords and spectral panoramas abound. The duo’s track “Winners” is an airy and relaxed track that continues to accompany us in the hot summer months with a relaxed simplicity. As Shawn explains, “This melody is as silky as it gets. A slinky R&B groove with a super tasty harmonica solo from Pat Levitt. A real deep cut. Andy adds: “Shawn suggested that we take things in a Caldwell-flavored steering, so that’s where it went. I loved putting the bass on it! We originally had Candy Dulfer in mind for the solo, but for various reasons we weren’t able to get her together. Hooray for the silver linings though – Pat Levitt is one of the classiest harmonica players out there so it was amazing to have him on that cut – I couldn’t imagine anything else in that spot solo now!

Pour yourself a glass of this West Coast AOR and taste it.

Pre-order the duo’s fourth studio album Ticket to Shangri La here.


Tomu DJ, a West Coast producer, has a way of getting the melody across.

On Half Moon Bay, his second feature, the Bay Area producer continues to acquire those intricate harmonies that sound like hymns to future times. Coupled with rhythms moving through footwork designs, reggaeton blends into moments of ravey tech-house. Half Moon Bay continue to amaze with those quiet stolen moments hidden under the tumult of this difficult world. Unfortunately, I learned too late that Tomu DJ was performing at Golden Bull last Tuesday; it’s an album just waiting to be heard in its entirety on a good soundsystem.

To buy here.


Megan Slankard, indie rock singer-guitarist from San Francisco, issues an ultimatum to her future ex on the song “California”: take what he wants, as long as he leaves it with the state of California.

In a final act of defiance, Slankard donates all of his possessions to the thrift store in hopes of delighting future customers. This is what I call recycling.

The searing breakup song dispenses a “kind reminder of why dating a songwriter might not be the best idea,” says the artist. Hit.

This is the first release from his forthcoming album California and other stories, due out in late October and co-produced by Alex Wong. It showcases Megan’s artistry: drawling, earthy rock ‘n’ roll with dense atmospheres. Perfectly built for the comfortable surroundings of the Guild Theater in Menlo Park.

Get your ticket here. She supports Glen Philips of Toad The Wet Sprocket.

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