CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (April 21, 2023) — Local bands and musicians continue to release new singles, EPs and full-length albums all across the Bay Area, but it can be difficult to know how to find what you like.
As a DJ who airs exclusively local music on my weekly radio show on 90.5 KVHS, I’ve acquainted myself with a considerable amount of these releases. So, let me guide you toward some current local music.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the many offerings from “this side of the tunnel” released in recent months.
“Everlasting” comes from Orinda singer-songwriter Daniel Ray Hilsinger. Upon being diagnosed with bone cancer at age 29, Hilsinger started to sing and play guitar. Half a decade later, his debut album materializes as the culmination of his expressed thoughts on gratitude, sorrow, love, loss and hope. Natural low-fi recordings mixed with tasteful accompaniment from friends create beautiful textures on this very personal and emotional collection of songs.
“Unintelligent Design” comes from Concord punk band Expert Pie. Expect some good old-fashioned, profanity-laden, anti-authority, fist-pumping punk with some social commentary on the state of the world today, and a playful tinge of juvenile humor.
“Brand New Holiday Classics” is the third Christmas album from the eccentric Concord band Sabertooth Unicorn. Look no further than “Surf’s Up, It’s Christmas!” to understand this multi-genre album offers a little something for everyone to enjoy any time of the year. My personal favorite is the 9-minute opener “Santa Claus Santa Claus”
“Beyond Collaboration” is the product of Walnut Creek singer songwriter Joe Peters, who released it under the project name “Joedai Trobairitz & Troubadours.” Working with a team of musicians, mostly from his home state of Indiana, the 21-track album offers a variety of original folk and rock tunes with elements of country music.
“Sex and Heartache” is the latest from Concord soul singer Selena Soberal. It’s the follow-up EP to her 2022 album “Be Mine.” Jazzy tunes about love and relationship woes showcase Soberal’s impressive vocal ability, with guitar accompaniment by Elias Lozano.
“Finally!!” is the 14th release from Martinez’s Doug Michael and his first album of entirely instrumental progressive rock. With “Finally!!,” the Diablo Valley College music instructor taps into some of his biggest experimental rock influences, including Rush, King Crimson and Mahavishnu Orchestra.
“Warped & Ruined” by Concord resident Marco Gallerin was released exclusively on BandCamp.com under the name Auditory Portraits. The instrumental album soothes with electric guitar loops and effects to evoke the emotions that come with reflecting upon one’s feelings during times of struggle or loss.
“Stereotongue” is the self-titled debut album from the Walnut Creek hard rock quartet of the same name. With anthemic choruses, guitar solos and vocals reminiscent of Sammy Hagar, Stereotongue’s familiar sound is a bit of a throw-back to the hard rock one might have found on commercial radio or MTV in the late ’80s to mid-’90s.
“Acustícs” is an instrumental EP from Concord’s Mitch Beard, who releases his solo work under the artist name Yolanda Blonda. “Acustícs” explores rhythmic and melodic ideas that sprout from Beard’s mind when playing acoustic guitar, drawing inspiration from his years in college performing in a classical guitar ensemble.
“The SunCrashers” is the fourth album from Lafayette recording artist Chris Ahlman. This well-produced contemporary rock album has a relaxed modern country feel. Consistent with his previous output, the music is mellow and the lyrics are positive and uplifting.
“EP 2022” is the sixth release from Concord’s death metal band Lyceum. It’s heavy, it’s fast and it’s intense. With all the judd-judds, blast beats and throaty metal vocals one might expect from a quality death metal band, the music will please fans of the genre.
Dave Hughes is a local music advocate with an extensive network of independent artists. He produces and hosts a local music program on KVHS called The Beat of Diablo, every Sunday at 7:00 PM on 90.5 FM. Dave also catalogs local music releases at ConcordRockCity.com.