Mahealani Uchiyama A Walk by the Sea (Dancetera). Inspired by her African and Native American ancestry, Uchiyama sings in Hawaiian, Tahitian, and other languages over beautifully percussive music about a search for home and identity.
Dubious Ranger Even These Things Tell Stories (Nothing Room Records). Try as they might to downplay the They Might Be Giants silliness in their music for hip post-punk influences like Television and Pavement, the members of Dubious Ranger aren’t fooling anyone. Still, they could’ve done worse.
Mia Zuniga Stories Such as These (Love Music Records). Slick, but above all, soulful R&B: polish without pretense, barefoot and pretty, like the girl in the cover photo. Love Music, the name of the Pittsburg native’s record label, is a perfect fit, for Stories Such as These is a total pleasure.
Sergeant Midnight to Midnight (self-released). There’s not a lot going on here beyond Keli Reule’s intense vocals – sweeping from a dark pop-star croon to the searing growl of the Distillers’ Brody Dalle – which save this brooding, artsy indie-rock record from the cut-out bin.
Whitey on the Moon One Less Car EP (Vela Para Todo). The name is bad, but the scrappy, well-aged indie rock – recorded by Tim Mooney (American Music Club) at John Vanderslice’s venerable Tiny Telephone studio – is good. Real good.