Please Quiet Ourselves:
Please Quiet Ourselves (Mushpot Records). A promising pop mess (think broken-down Broken Social Scene) from seven Berkeley high school students. Some songs have yet to find themselves, but surprisingly many are downright glorious.
Michael J. Downey and the World: America (self-released). Perhaps little more than one man’s mission to front a band featuring four beautiful women. Though Downey’s lyrics reflect reputable morals, his songs soil adult-contemporary’s already beleaguered name.
Various Artists: Chaos Restored with Justin Martin (Buzzin’ Fly Records). Bedroom ravers rejoice: local talent Martin lays down a seventy-minute set of stylish European house featuring three of his own compositions (and one from brother Christian) plus selections by other producers here and abroad.
Johannes Wallmann Quintet: Minor Prophets (MooseWorks Productions). Wallmann recently moved west to direct jazz studies at Cal State East Bay, but Minor Prophets pays tribute to his former home of New York City with a breezy palette and an inviting, complex finish.
Deborah Pardes: Love and Discipline (Mentl Music). One of those unexpected treats that validates digging through the crates. Pardes may be neither hip nor happening, but proves herself a pro when it comes to the three pillars of singer-songwriting: lyrics, vocals, and composition.