Sonny and the Sunsets couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate name for their San Francisco surf-pop quartet. Their music reeks of late afternoons in the park or, more appropriately, bonged-out summer nights on Baker Beach. Twangy guitars and sweet, clear vocals find Sonny and his crew at the perfect crossroads between hippie and hipster.
Songs of love and loss make up the majority of the Tomorrow, from the specific (“Lovin’ on an Older Gal”) to the broad (“Strange Love”). Although the back-and-forth banter between front man Sonny and one of his female band mates is a blatant rip-off of Jade and Alex from Ed Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. Out July 20, on this album is a perfect midsummer night’s dream.
Coming out of the Baltimore scene that has given us the likes of Animal Collective and Yeasayer, folk-rock quartet Lower Dens has put together a collection of laid back jams full of depth on their debut Twin-Hand Movement. Led by freak-folk artist Jana Hunter, the band artfully combines the fuzzy beauty of fellow B’more natives Beach House with the melodic folk of Dr. Dog. Jana’s deep, husky voice smacks of Victoria Legrand as she croons on the darkly ominous “Plastic & Powder.”
The Dens definitely retain their sense of humor on tracks like “A Dog’s Dick” and “Two Cocks.” However, the standout track here is the resplendent “Completely Golden,” with its relaxed, strummy guitars and gentle harmonies.