Heart of a Starling
The semi-reclusive singer-songwriter (real name Terry O'Hara) has returned with another stellar set of beautiful, somewhat depressing songs. Like his prior release, it's studded with local guest musicians — Phil Johnson of Sleep Experiments; Dan Harding and Megan Lindsey of Good Night, States; Guy Russo of Broken Fences. Also like his prior release, this one is wintry, contemplative and a must-listen.
Laptop Rap 3
Lots of indie-rock samples strung together in a lo-fi recording with the artist rapping over them. The beats aren't so bad, but there's some work to be done before this one can hit the big time. The vocals are low in the mix, and it doesn't help that much of the rapping is somewhat fast and muddled; the whole thing ends up a bit tough to listen to. At least one flippant reference to domestic violence doesn't help the cause, either.
Pretty indie rock from the solo project of one Matt Kiefer; this one is a four-song EP. Joan of Arc-style guitar noodling, Aloha-style percussion spasms and vocal delivery that belies a pop-punk past but moves beyond the clichés you'll often find in that genre. Nice stuff, especially for a first effort.