January is hands-down the slowest month of the year for music. Many artists and bands use the month as an opportunity to take a break from the road, and as a result, a number of music venues also shut their doors for a spell.
It’s the same with new releases. For whatever reason, musicians are less likely to drop albums during January than any other month of the year, but fortunately, this month was more generous than expected.
Two major league Bay Area acts — Barclay Crenshaw (aka Claude VonStroke of Dirtybird) and Kehlani — released debut albums, as did a handful of local indie bands and singer-songwriters.
Check the albums out below and stay tuned for more updates on local record releases.
The Dirtybird founder’s first release under his real name (he usually goes by Claude VonStroke), this self-titled record features mostly-instrumental tracks that are a fry cry from the tech-house productions he is known for putting out. Expect a range of mellow, piano-laced ditties, glitchy, electronic numbers, and gloomy hip-hop beats.
Clocking in at 19-tracks, SweetSexySavage is the Oakland R&B/pop singer’s debut album, and it’s been a longtime coming. There’s a grand total of zero features from guest artists on the record, too, ostensibly to center the focus on Kehlani herself and that amazing, woozy voice she possesses.
Known To Collapse
This Berkeley-by-way-of-Alabama indie rock outfit is helmed by Kevin Lehner, and it’s his ardent voice that coats each of the tracks on this textured, guitar-centric record. Album opener “What is Said” is a shimmery, chord-heavy number about wooing a partner, while album closer, “You Will Always Find a Light,” which is more than nine minutes long, explodes into a flurry of guitar that sounds not unlike early Broken Social Scene.
Once and Future Band
Once and Future Band
An indie pop quartet from Oakland, Once and Future Band’s new album sounds like a lost gem from the ’60s and ’70s. Rife with thick slices of guitar and slathered in funk, expect full-band harmonies and solos from the band’s spiky voiced lead singer Joel Robinow.
Hey Mr. Ferryman
This diverse, 13-track album from San Francisco’s Mark Eitzel (who has been the lead singer for the group American Music Club since the mid-’80s) is the singer-songwriter’s 17th solo album since 1982. Expect a mix of somber, mellow cut, heartfelt ballads, and introspective lyrics.
In Chase McBride’s fifth studio album, the San Francisco singer-songwriter channels country, folk, and soft rock into one, wonderful record that is filled with slow cuts and a capella numbers. Call us crazy, but we’d say that the combination of noodling guitar with McBride’s voice sounds not unlike something you’d hear from Paul Simon.
Delicate strings and soothing melodies are the name of the game in Richard Obsorn’s new album, Endless. Each wordless track — which have fantastical, chapters-in-a-novel sounding titles like “In a Monastery Garden” and “The King Walks By” — will transport you to another dimension where your imagination runs wild. Catch him performing live at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10 at Stranded Vinyl S.F.
Samuel Joseph Kim
Featuring a wide range of sounds — from dreamy shoegaze to glitchy electronica to anthemic rock — Bay Area musician Samuel Joseph Kim’s new EP is a journey unto itself. Kim, who is also the synth player in local band Museums, culled inspiration from a number of bands, like Radiohead, M83, and New Order, and the influences shine through.