The six best local songs of the month

Touch AC + Dr. Dundiff – “Golden” (feat. Kogan Dumb)
This record. I had such high hopes for this album and found no surprise in how incredibly amazing it is. Touch AC is one of the cleverest emcees in the city, and joined by Dr. Dundiff, whose skill at production is quickly becoming the stuff of legend. That the duo is joined by Bird Zoo rapper Kogan Dumb only sweetens the pot, as the lyrical flow on this track is only made that much more mighty. Dundiff’s production is fucking boss, a master class in not only how to work over your sampler, but how to select the choicest samples, be that with Jazz or Mo’Town sounds, or notes that sound pulled straight from a Nintendo. The energy is undeniable, with every participant firing on all cylinders. Touch brings it with a verse that is equal parts poetry and rumination on faith and Kogan Dumb brings that same swagger, a not-quite-nostalgic take on appreciating the now, or so it seems to my ears. This entire record is golden and we’re richer as a community for having it.

Karass — “Earworm”
There is an undeniable Mogwai quality to “Earworm,” the second track from “The Donut Industrial Complex,” the latest and greatest from instrumental indie rockers Karass. The track lives up to its name, which says a lot for a band that relies on music alone to convey any narrative movement; this is definitely a catchy song, despite — or perhaps as a result of — its predilection with neo-prog leanings. There is a lot going on, but without ever seeming too busy or flashy to the point of excess. Karass has evolved over the years to become a much more balanced unit, working off of each other, while giving each individual member the sonic space needed to thrive. “Earworm” is a gentle follow up to a particularly energetic opener, setting the pace for the remainder of the album admirably.

Allen Poe – “Cascade” (ft. J. Manifesto & Jermiside [prod. Deejay Element])
I wish there was a pill for whatever caused Allen Poe to kick it up into high gear, as his output over the last several years has been both vigorous and high quality. I would posit that there is a branch in the road for any adult musician, where you either have to make your time — a commodity that grows more precious with the responsibilities of family and employment — count, or you slowly fade away into obscurity, forgetting the musical dalliances of your youth in favor of a focus on career or the other obstacles in life that bar you access to your full creativity. Poe has absolutely made his time count, proven again here with the release of “Cascade,” a preview of his upcoming EP “Still Eatin’,” which sees the rapper teaming up with Deejay Element. That production is on display here, and, like the finest of offerings by the RZA or Pete Rock, that kind East Coast vibe, blending classic R&B with modern hip-hop. Poe and company flow wonderfully, a kind of chill energy that balances the more relaxed tones here with a nice forward moving feel.

State Champion – “Don’t Leave Home Without My Love”
State Champion returns this month after their last album, 2011’s awesomely titled “Deep Shit.” I’ll be damned if this band doesn’t sound like what I imagine all of Bocephus’ rowdy friends sound like when they come over on Monday nights. This is Americana filtered through indie rock, cheap domestic beers and evenings spent with friends talking the good ol’ days. The riffs are appropriately jangly and the fiddle is sweet like Southern tea. In fact, it’s that sort of genteel Southern nature, kind but prone to hijinks that informs “Don’t Leave Home Without My Love,” a charismatic ode to spending time with people you care about and want to be around. You can practically hear the crackle of the bonfire this was recorded around, crickets softly chirping in the distance. This sounds like summer adventures rendered sonic and has an infectious optimism that makes you believe you can probably make that jump or land that trick.

Old Baby  –  “Spirit”
The name of the newest from Old Baby, “New Music,” is fairly accurate on all fronts. It’s a synthesis of the band’s truly disparate constituency, which has elements of drone, noisy indie, country, folk and blues. It’s hard to pick a standout track on such an awesome album, but “Spirit” seems to fully encompass the bands many facets, all in one concise package. Opening with an almost tribal bass and drum interplay, the song has a dark blues swing that so often carries their material, a vehicle for singer Jonathan Glen Wood’s dulcet baritone. The narrative here seems to be spiritual in nature, haunting in its delivery and tasteful throughout, even with a nice, subtle, guitar lead. There is a lumbering quality to the music that gives it a sleepy, lethargic bend, although the music tends to come off as seething more than melancholic.

Seluah – “Experiment in Horror”
It makes sense that Seluah would release “Experiment in Horror,” the first single from their new album “Phase III,” right before the new season of True Detective airs this June. There is an ominous vibe here, a tension carried through the entire track, filtered through the dusty, backwater sieve of the darkest Americana — all bittersweet swagger and sweaty melancholia. This is gruff music, the sort that you listen to in the back of a dimly lit bar after you’ve been dumped or suffered some loss, the bottom of your whisky quietly damp against the napkin. Seluah offer a viscerally-rewarding track dense with narrative arc, be that in the picture that the music paints or in the story that singer Edward Grimes intones. This is a remarkable song from an already remarkable band, and one determined to put you in a mood.