Glow Ahead (Friends Records)
This record has us feeling nostalgic, as Wing Dam has left Baltimore, trading in its seat as one of the city’s top acts to shine on the West Coast. We should’ve seen it coming, with the big-name tours, festival lineups, and evolution of the last two albums into the crescendo of this third. Following their trademark quiet-loud-quiet style, the local trio’s sound is bigger and bolder than ever, with smashing drums, resonant vocals, and the fill-your-ears fuzz of grunge guitar. Anthemic and energetic, each song is California-ready—just enough sun, plenty of grit, and filled with urgency, like all the dreamers of the Golden State.
Return to the Valley of the Jeep Beats (Friends Records)
On this third record, Microkingdom has become the true master of its craft. Mingling seemingly discordant sounds into a beautiful, robust cacophony, the local experimental trio uses freestyle jazz to create a cinematic concept album made for driving, with the sensations of the road infused into every note. “Moon Driver” morphs from the din of a morning commute to the dazzling whir of a night shift cab. “Public Bass House” pulses and revolves like hot rubber down an asphalt path. Even through its hypnotic instrumentals, you find yourself wondering which way the rambling car is going next.