Honey (Friends Records)
This album is made for dreamers. On this sophomore project by local instrumental pop duo Peals (William Cashion of Future Islands and Bruce Willen of Double Dagger), the band layers tempo and tone into a million tiny images, sending the listener’s imagination into auto-drive. Ethereal and lush, these nine songs dance between solitary soundscapes that stretch out like the horizon, and bright, brilliant symphonies that slowly build and bloom. In a textured crescendo of new wave guitar, static electronics, and the occasional twinkle of bells, each melody takes us on an unexpected journey, conjuring up emotions and memories unique to the individual listener. No two people will hear these songs the same.
Dust to Gold (American Showplace Music)
After 10 years, five records, and hundreds of shows, Cris Jacobs has become a fixture of the Baltimore music scene. As frontman of The Bridge, he gained a loyal following, eventually releasing his first solo album in 2012 and establishing himself as a hometown artist here to stay. He now returns with his second solo work, a soulful collection of songwriting that runs the gamut of Southern sound—a dusty suitcase filled with traveling stomps, heartbroken blues, and porch-sitting love songs, in which his earthy vocals meld with fearless finger-picking, thunderous drums, and a few quivers of slide guitar. In the brightest moments, Jacobs reaches new heights, but it’s in the dark, desperado corners of the album that he truly shines.