We’ve been covering a lot of music from Oakland as of late, though I’ll admit, Jeff Moller‘s sound feels a bit closer to home, sonically speaking. There’s something a little wayward Western to it, just the right amount of twang hanging on those sliding guitar notes that rise through the edges. Moller’s voice definitely feels like a classic rock bit of balladry, and it doesn’t hurt that you get Jason Quever of Papercuts cutting through here on the drum kit. Jeff will be releasing his debut album, Sigh Baby on September 22nd, with expectations riding high after listening to the handful of singles made available.
I got turned onto Blue Ocean a few years ago when the group put a few of their EPs together for Paisley Shirt/Dandy Boy…and today they get a further stamp of ATH approavl with the announcement that the band have signed on with Slumberland for their first LP. It’s incredibly difficult to pigeonhole the project; they create these layered textures, all working in unison, yet seemingly fighting against one another. At times my ears get drawn towards the crashing wave of screaming distortion; the rhythm section seems to work against that angst, coming in more playfully, almost bouncing; it all swirls together like this Captain Planet of DIY indie rock! All of that’s accomplished before we get swept up in the indifferent cool of the vocals. Absolutely in love here. Fertile State will be out on October 13th.
While there’s a fogginess that’s swept over the Oakland scene, in a certain musical sense, Half Stack are bringing something a little bit different. They’ve got a little Southern boogie to their sound, and the vocals feel neighborly. I just imagine like a J Mascis figure inviting me over to a BBQ of some sort. Still, there’s definitely a slow burn of Cali sun shining through your speakers here, which is down to the way the riffs have this sort of understated fieriness to them…well, that and the way the male and female vocalists intertwine. Sitting Pretty is out October 6th via Forged Artifacts/Royal Oakie.
Zum Audio is celebrating 25 years in the biz, and with that, they’ve also got a new compilation on the way in mid-August. Personally, I love a compilation. You find one or two acts you love, then you get turned onto a half-dozen new bands to fawn over. Today, we’re fawning over this new Baus track, which is part of Zum’s Volume 5 Comp. It’s a frantic tune, cutting along the lines of all your favorite post-punk, though tossing in bands like Wire and Pylon isn’t necessarily a bad place to start for comparisons. I love how the sharpness gets erratic in nature, sharpening the sound as the rhythm grooves and moves beneath you. And just as you jittered into love, the song ends, and you’re left catching your breath. You’ve got time, as Volume 5 doesn’t drop until August 18th.
I have no idea whether anyone has coined the term fog-gaze or not, but I feel like Oakland’s Softie would certainly encompass the moniker, if we were to use it. For me, the sound has this weighted mass that just creeps through the speakers and into the corners of your room as you listen. All the vocals feel like ghostly whispers, like echoes from a distance you can’t quite make out as you fall under the spell of the warbling melody riding through your speakers. Definitely a sound that should have you listening in really closely, and with fingers crossed, we’re hoping we’ll get a new EP. Track brought to you courtesy of Cherub Dream Records.
The wife and husband duo The Saxophones have long been a group we’ve championed and thrown praise at over the years of our ‘lil website. Well after a short three or so year hiatus, the duo are returning this year with a new album entitled To Be a Cloud due out June 2nd on Full Time Hobby. Prior to that release date, we are incredibly excited to share with you this brand new, stunning single “Boy Crazy.” It’s light and dreamy, yet impactful and enchanting with heavy floor drums and an almost jazz inspiration. Lovely.
It only took me a few seconds to latch onto this new track from Oakland’s Low Praise; I love the jagged guitar vibe that cuts through this one, and that bob-and-weave bass line doesn’t hurt one single bit. Once the song takes off after the maneuvering mantra, the track begins to really unfold into this post-punk bit of trance; I definitely hear some Wire tendencies in the way the vocals get delivered. But, for all the nods to their forefathers, the group also are willing to bang out some heavy grooves, which you get a glimpse of when they deliver their pseudo-chorus, crashing through the speakers as opposed to bobbing up and down. If you dig on it, the group are releasing Dressing on May 19th!
Well, seeing as I’m just getting through all my emails today, may as well stop with another track from the Bay Area…Nothing Natural. You might already be familiar with the band’s members, with us having covered their other projects like Parallel and Aluminum. This act, however, are hitting on these classic 90s guitar vibes, slowly letting the guitar notes light up in the track’s background while the vocals have this heavy indifference; it’s that perfect college rock vibe, best if listened to really loudly through your speakers as the echoing distortion let’s you know this more than just a slacker rock affair. Listen loud as the group hit that perfect balance between ballad and grungy riff work; NN EP will be out via Dandy Boy Records on March 3rd.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that there really is no point in feigning to be cool or pretend like I’m some magical gatekeeper of indie cool. Instead, I’m merely here every day or so to promote jams that I’m loving, and right now, I’m grooving with this new tune from Abracadabra. This Oakland outfit is throwing out some Caribbean beats fused with elements of post-punk and crafty early beat work from the likes of ESG. Plus, they spin it with these playful vocals that ultimately make you feel like you’re the cool one just for partaking in this dance party. Put down your cool patch and slide right into this tune on your way to super fun times. Their album, Shapes & Colors drops in January via Melodic.
Before we dismiss you for the day, I would be remiss to not send you on your way with this new song called “Endless Heaven” from Oakland based group Shutups. I’m a huge fan of the way the song lulls you into this mellow, sort of indie rock groove and then explodes into this banging, heavy guitar rock number about 1.5 minutes in. When looking for a song to progress slowly, rise heavily, and then fall again into a fade out, this is the song for you. Absolutely stellar production on this one as well.