Of Time, Pt. 1
San Francisco dark indie-pop duo New Spell knows how to craft moody, heart-wrenching electronic ballads. The more pop-rooted nuggets are at the beginning of the EP, but it’s the last two tracks that shine the brightest. “Never Change” is a droning synth extravaganza that is more about the instrumentals than vocals, while “Familiar Tune” is placid and ruminative, with a bit of a sparkle.
The Envoy is a straight-shot of punk delivered by the East Bay duo Street Eaters. Expect heavy, grungy, and gritty tunes from this 13-track project that is the band’s first since 2014.
The Days We Had
The debut album of Marin artist Jackson Phillips, The Days We Had is exactly what you’d expect from the dream-pop musician who was featured on the cover of Noise Pop’s festival magazine in 2016. Driving, guitar-forward tunes are the name of the game, and loyal fans will recognize some already released singles, like “Something Here,” “Promises,” “Untitled,” and “Wasting Time.” Recommended for anyone who loves music that evokes the summer.
“Bamboo meets metal” in Bay Area composer and multi-instrumentalist Cornelius Boots’ new album, Holy Flute. Boots combines shakuhachi, a Zen Buddhist chanting tradition, with blaring hard-rock, a la Black Sabbath or Lamb of God, making for a whirlwind aural experience.
In Goapele’s sixth studio album and first record release in four years, you’ll find a range of sultry neo-soul and languid R&B, mixed with hypnotic instrumentals and Goapele’s own crystalline voice. “Take It Over” is an island-style dance track, while “Power” is an upbeat rocker with tribal drumming in the background. “Cool Breeze” closes out the album with thick slabs of bass, burbling keys, and plaintive vocals.
ABA (Art By Accident)
This debut album by Sacramento brothers Blaq Tuxedo has been cooking for some years. It’s filled with a range of rap songs, from gritty trap tunes to sing-song, Drake-esque numbers. While it’s a bit derivative, the production is sharp and the execution is on-point.
More Than Anything
HBK producer-turned-rapper P-Lo crams his new album with upbeat, hyphy bangers and bassy, club anthems. The playful and goofy record shows P-Lo in top-form, and includes features by G Eazy, Iamsu, E-40, and more.
R&B-meets-indie-pop in Bay Area singer Emily Mclean’s new EP Shades. Filled with rousing numbers and smoldering, low-key ballads, Shades places emphasis on Mclean’s emotive vocals and saccharine harmonies.