A.O. Gerber “Fathers” E.P. (aogerber.bandcamp.com)

A.O. Gerber, former vocalist and songwriter of the New-York-based collective, Little Sur, has recently resettled on her native West Coast with a new solo E.P. called “Fathers”. The delicate quality of “Arboretum” demonstrates Gerber’s dynamic vocal range, over top of a straight forward acoustic guitar. It really opens the listener to the warm heartfelt presence that flows through her work in sparkling fashion. “Bleeders” has an ethereal side to it while the soulful style of “Grown” makes use of more intricate guitar work that explores elements of jazz. Other highlights include the hook filled sounds of “Summers​/​Wait”, the shuffling approach of “Carlsbad” and the uplifting power of “This Holiness”. “Fathers” is a phenomenal release from an artist who projects a spirit of passion and beauty on every song.

From Mountains S/T E.P. (frommountains.bandcamp.com)

English instrumental post rock unit From Mountains deliver big on their debut E.P. with 5 tracks full of eerie yet melodic riffs, galloping drums and rich cinematic soundscapes full of intrigue and fervor. Opening piece “Outside The Joybox” is anchored by a welcoming piano part that’s followed by a brilliant blast of breathtakingly beautiful guitars and a rhythm section that ties everything together perfectly. “Juno Meets Jupiter” makes me think of a part from Mike Oldfield’s legendary composition “Tubular Bells” if it were being covered by Mogwai while “When We Painted The Sky” sounds much more isolated and cold. Things wrap up with the melodic sounds of “Eta Carinae” which features a calming mid tempo pace surrounded by layers of glistening guitars that build to a gorgeous peak. A spectacular release from beginning to end.

Jeroen Effern “2016 (anyone who had a heart)” LP (jeroeneffern.bandcamp.com)

Based in the Netherlands, Jeroen Effern creates a colorful blend of ambient drones and haunting soundscapes that are both beautiful and inspiring. “2_7” starts things off at a crawling pace with it’s massive presence that roars through your speakers like molten lava. There’s a dash of psychedelic flavor at the beginning of “3_10” as a collage of echoing voices quickly give way to the single notes of a gray toned piano creating a bleak and ominous feel. “3_3” takes things into even more mind bending territory with it’s passionate melody and underlying intensity while “4_9” sounds like you have walked into a hidden warehouse full of secret robots being controlled by a mysterious unknown being. Effern creates a soundtrack to a surreal world throughout the album that draws you in and allows you to escape from reality.

Juliana Hatfield “Needle In The Hay” (Just Say Yes Compilation-www.alr-music.com)

This cover surfaced a few years ago and is now part of the “Just Say Yes” Elliot Smith tribute compilation. Hatfield’s delicate vocal treatment on this indie classic is down right incredible. There’s a swirling synth that comes into play and adds a nice touch to the guitar and bass sounds and light percussion. Certainly one of the best covers to come along in recent years. Be sure to check out the rest of this impressive comp featuring contributions from J Mascis, Jesu/Sun Kill Moon, Lou Barlow and more.

Lillet Blanc “Foul Play” Single (lilletblanc.bandcamp.com)

Brooklyn’s Lillet Blanc impress on their debut single “Foul Play”. From it’s infectious beat and blissful melodies to Emily Rawlings beautiful vocal delivery the band show why they are one of the best new bands coming out of the NYC area. “Foul Play” has the type of hooks that will have you singing along half way through the first listen as stellar performances from guitarist Sean Camargo and bassist Andre Bellido put things over the top. A truly delightful offering of shoegaze/indie pop bliss.

Reliant Tom S/T E.P. (relianttom.bandcamp.com)

This stunning debut from New York based duo Reliant Club is full of lush atmospheric tones that radiate with undeniable elegance. The four tracks describe an apocalyptic narrative from personal obsolescence to alien abduction to societal matriculation. “Poor You” begins with a sea of experimental sound manipulation that fades into a laid back groove. It’s liquid like flow channels elements of 60’s soul alongside an array of pulsating synths and subliminal tones. “Flying Ships” keeps things moving with it’s cinematic stance highlighted by the hypnotic swagger of vocalist Claire Cuny while “I Can’t Wait” is a stunning dose of highly textured experimental pop. Things wind down with the breezy feel of “All The Same” which rounds out this top notch effort in five star fashion and leaves me wanting more. Highly recommended