Karl Blau, “Fallin’ Rain”
Operating out of Anacortes for two decades, Karl Blau has long repped the sanguine DIY-or-die ethos of Northwest indie rock. His new album is titled Introducing Karl Blau, a wry nod to his ever-unknown status and mercurial musicality. Blau’s cover of this Link Wray classic is devastating.
Temple Echoes, “Seer”
Gabriel Mintz’s voice is like a white dwarf star, small and distant and possessing profound gravitational pull. Temple Echoes is his current project and their eponymous album, full of compact arrangements of large-ensemble compositions, radiates a twilit folk-pop warmth, as heard on this bittersweet lead single.
Dave B, “Olive Oil”
Liquid-smooth like the title suggests, this elegant jam is equal parts R&B and hip-hop. Dave B—the gifted 23-year-old MC/producer who won Sound Off! a couple of years ago—flows over a slivery jazz-guitar riff and tiny, fluttering beat, the song ostensibly about his hair but there’s more to it than that. Don’t be fooled: It takes a lot of work to sound this effortless.
Onry Ozzborn, “Stardom”
Ozzborn’s latest album Duo pairs the veteran MC with a different collaborator—Kimya Dawson, Aesop Rock, Nate Quiroga—on each track. Much of the music is shrouded in Ozzborn’s signature minor-key gloom, but “Stardom,” featuring wiry Boston rapper Latrell James, is positively propulsive.
The Thermals, “Thinking of You”
The first single from the Portland power-punk trio’s upcoming album We Disappear is a chronicle of gut-punching romantic regret told in two roaring minutes. “I’ve been listening to the voice inside my head,” Hutch Harris sings. “Wish I heard you instead.”
Pictured: The Thermals. Photo by Jason Quigley.