Our six favorite local songs from May

Memory Gloss — ‘Temecula’
On the lead single off of their upcoming EP, Memory Gloss mirrors the thick and chunky riffs that put the band Hum on the map, amplified with an almost-emo fire. That said, they pull back from the saccharine or trite sounds that so often define that genre, instead opting for more direct vocals. “Temecula” is the kind of track that makes you want to speed down the road with your friends, screaming at the the sky. There is more than a hint of mid-‘90s indie, a la either the Touch and Go or Dischord Records scene — both labels were stacked with a who’s who of talent. That same sensibility exists here, with catchy hooks and angular, chiming guitar work.  

Nmesh — ‘Red 40 Aluminum Lake’ (feat. Lila Tirando a Violeta)
Vaporwave wizard Nmesh has released a few tracks this month, singles that illustrate his evolution as an artist. With “Red 40 Aluminum Lake,” Nmesh expands his sound with Aphex Twin-style rhythms and a bank of soft synths floating in the background like an airy Autechre jam. The inclusion of vocals is welcome, as they are manipulated and blended seamlessly with a host of sample sets, making it hard to discern where one part begins and the next starts. There are elements that recall Manchester producer Andy Stott and his seminal work Luxury Problems. Go in with an open mind, knowing that there is a lot to dig into, but, per usual, Nmesh ensures a satisfying payoff. 

Axel Roley — ‘My Jersey’ (feat. Jasun K & Kogan Dumb)
Joined here by Bird Zoo founders Jasun K and Kogan Dumb, Roley and friends craft a breezy summer jam. This track takes you there, to a place where you and your own crew are getting all the way mild, sipping on your favorite cool beverage and just enjoying life. It also contains an aspirational message worth pursuing: have confidence, stay open minded and go with the flow. 

Phourist and Photons — ‘Tired of my Medication’
“Tired of My Medication” starts off so clean and austere, initially just piano and vocals, tipping the listener off that Phourist and Photons are confident in their message. That sparse instrumentation soon breaks into a very subtle string or synth accompaniment, building even more so after the lyric, “I’m tired of my medication / I want to hear the music play around me.” There is a quiet build that leads into a dense crescendo of sounds, the singer’s voice strident in the message that finding something more than the deadening effect of the medication — symbolic or otherwise — is crucial to living life to the fullest.

Jordan Jetson — ‘Deva’
It hit me listening to the amazing “Deva” by Jordan Jetson just how much his rhyme schemes and cadence reminds me of the legendary Mr. Lif. Jetson comes out of the gate swinging with lyrics about attempted suicide, followed by his chorus about his godlike status, all set to an incredible beat that bounces and commands the crowd to do the same. What makes Jetson’s braggadocio so interesting is in the juxtaposition of his vulnerabilities and his strengths, the yin and yang of his life. Peppering in those moments of doubt is his strength in so many ways, having a willingness to open up. He’s taking on a very real and visceral toxic masculinity that would prevent others from sharing in the same way. 

Pleasure Boys — ‘This Side of Town’
If psychedelic freak-outs are your scene, then let the Pleasure Boys take you to church. Fronted by guitarist and vocalist McKinley Moore, the band is like if Pink Floyd and the MC5 merged. It’s that weird kind of spiritual/philosophical musings that seem to inform “This Side of Town.” And the blown-out production has a little overdrive on everything to the extent that you can practically see the smoke coming off the meters during the recording. This is hot and frenzied, just as they meant it.