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Gene Stovall 
2 + 2 = 5 
(Self-released)

On his debut studio album, singer Gene Stovall collides with his hip-hop alter ego Geno Jive. Stovall's vocal calisthenics are guided mostly by his own unorthodox music production. "Electro Pop Memoir" weighs the value of the physical photographs and written letters, as opposed to digital photos and email. Local MCs Jack Wilson and Kid A join Stovall for an homage to an old-fashioned recording format on "Cassette Tape Teens." Stovall's lyrics are ingenuous, abstract, humorous and socially relevant. -- Rory Webb

 

Hungry Lips
Empty Spaces
(Atomic Family)

On Hungry Lips' breezy title track, ex-Pittsburgher Scott Niekum's drawling vocals and acoustic strums conjure early Beck. Some of the EP's other lo-fi tracks seem like fragments; some go nowhere. But "Just Lie" and "The Birthday Scene" have garage-rock grooves and swirling keys suggestive of the Get Hip catalog and contemporary acts like Black Lips. -- Aaron Jentzen

 

Mercury
Three
(Self-released)

Mercury has been kicking around the local rock scene since the late '90s and, by and large, the band's rock remains mired in the '90s alt-radio sound. It's not all sad, but much of this three-song EP is melodramatic, stretching to be inspirational and coming off as trite at times instead. -- Andy Mulkerin

 

Meeka In Jail
Meeka In Jail
(Self-released)

The opening riff of the opening song of this four-track EP comes from that Pittsburgh Zoo commercial with the boy and girl meeting-cute in the polar bear tunnel. Literally -- Meeka In Jail's Jay Green wrote that commercial, and uses the tune here in one of his deceptively upbeat rock songs. The EP resembles the work of a number of '90s alt-guitar rock bands (at its best, Dinosaur, Jr.); Green's vocals leave a bit to be desired, but they're genuine in that '90s indie way.-- Andy Mulkerin

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