Check out (and listen to) this handful of new albums and EPs from Bay Area artists that came out in March.
It’s an eclectic mix, filled with EDM, hardcore, shoegaze, indie-rock, and kirtan, which just goes to show you how varied and unique our local music scene is.
From its first track — the fluttery, orchestral “Lipstick Stains” — you can tell that Everybody Works, the debut album of Bay Area musician Jay Som, will be one helluva listen. And it is. From shimmery, shoegaze ditties to languid, bedroom pop numbers, Everybody Works is impressively eclectic, and it’s the best work yet from Jay Som.
Roots, Rock, Rama!
This two-disc album from San Francisco musician Jai Uttal, is filled with a blend of reggae- and funk-leaning kirtan songs, which, for those not in the know, is a style of call-and-response chanting that revolves around spiritual subjects. As its title hints, this record is largely about Rama, Shiva, and Krishna, threeHindu deities that are avatars of the god Vishnu. It’s celebratory stuff and bound to get you excited, even if you don’t know what Uttal is singing about.
Catch Jai Uttal on Saturday, April 22, in Sonoma. More info here.
This new album by San Francisco DJ and producer Slaptop is chock-full of roll-your-face-off EDM songs. Standout track “Another Life” is a syncopated, tropical dance number overlaid with Geneva White’s scratchy voice. It’s a perfect combination, and it’s nice to see an EDM project with actual lyrics in it.
The second album from San Francisco hardcore quartet Western Addiction, Tremulous is filled with fierce basslines, ferocious drumming, and heaps of throaty, scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs vocals. The band worked with producer Matt Bayles to give the album a sleek, polished sheen, but don’t worry, this project is still punk AF.
I’m The Moon, You’re The Wave
One thing’s for sure: This indie rock band from San Francisco sure has a knack for coming up with clever, silly names. “Night Owl,” the 2-track EP’s first song, is a lounge-y number with spoken word-esque vocals. “Reprise” is equal parts folk and psych-rock and makes me want to take ‘shrooms and run in a field of flowers.
I’m For the Flowers
The Flywheels, America’s “slowest-rising indie-rock combo,” or so they say, is a San Francisco psych-pop band that is unfortunately no longer around. After the untimely death of Eric Scott, the band’s bassist and co-songwriter, the Flywheels decided that I‘m For the Flowers would be their last album, even though it’s also their debut. It took more than 20 years for the project to come to fruition, and you can hear the labor and love that the musicians put into each of the 12 tracks.
Matt Jaffe and the Distractions
The debut album of 21-year-old San Francisco native Matt Jaffe, California’s Burning is an uproarious, fast rock record that pulls inspo from rockabilly, Johnny Cash, power pop, and New Wave. Jaffe’s voice is sinewy and elastic, and he’s full of energy and spunk.
The Band Ice Cream
This debut album by San Francisco indie-rockers The Band Ice Cream is a major upgrade from it’s 2015 EP. It’s now easier to hear the similarities between singer Joe Sample’s yowling voice and that of Black Lips frontman Cole Alexander, and there’s more levity to the album, as well. “Jerk It Off” is a rollicking, chord- and cymbal-heavy ditty about missing a girl, and “Sand Dunes” is a quivering, raucous number about an illicit nighttime rendezvous at the beach.
This 12-track album by Bay Area electronic-fusion band Dirtwire is a percussion-lover’s wet dream. Comprised of David Satori from Beats Antique, Evan Fraser from Bolo, and Mark Reveley from Jed and Lucia, Dirtwire takes exotic and obscure instruments like the theremin, jaw harp, whamola, clavinet, and mellotron, and combines them with electronic-music flourishes to create wholly unique sounds.