The sounds of 2017
Life in 24 Frames, Write or Die, PRVLGS, Chrch and more set to release new records
With President-elect Donald Trump, many things feel uncertain as we dive into 2017. One thing is for sure, though: Sacramento artists are ready to unleash a tidal wave of new music.
Plenty of local favorites have big plans. The long-awaited third album from Life in 24 Frames, CTRL+Z, will finally drop on March 10 via the brand-new Gold Standard Records, which just released Doombird’s Past Lives. CTRL+Z is the indie band’s most gorgeous, fully-orchestrated album—a concept that traces a year, month by month, with emotional results.
Local noise-punk band So Stressed nabbed some buzz on NPR for its third full-length Please Let Me Know, which will be its debut on Ghost Ramp, the record label started by the frontman of Wavves. Watch for it February 17.
Remember Write or Die? Autumn Sky’s new project rooted in feminism will finally re-release its EP worldwide this month and put out its debut full-length, Psyche, later this year.
After a battle with cancer, singer-songwriter Sherman Baker will take an intriguing leap into electronica. As Dahlia Fiend, he’ll release a spring album with a mix of personal and political songs that maintain his folk sensibility. Another electronic release, Crowns from Prospect Castles, promises some booty-shaking weirdness. Singer Diana Ellis channels a forest-nymph-meets-feminist wizard-meets-aggro-rapper when she performs live—but can it translate to a recording?
In the realm of beats and hip-hop, Sparks Across Darkness is aiming for a spring release of Obscura, a dark, chilly and somewhat experimental record with guest appearances from locals T.I.P. Vicious, Vinnie Guidera, SpaceWalker, Charlie Muscle and Boney-Jay. The debut full-length, LIFT, from PRVLGS promises a progressive fusion with a jazzy, ’90s hip-hop feel come April. The duo consists of Gonzalez-Barajas, formerly of Sister Crayon, and keyboardist Zach Hake of Separate Spines, with a slew of guest vocalists and emcees.
Prog-rock group Cresca, too, will veer into jazzy territory with The Downfall of Feeling in March. Though softer than previous stuff, the group still dabbles in heaviness with an anti-violence message. Meanwhile, singer-songwriter SARN will deliver a weirdo-pop album later this month with a focus on storytelling and a refreshingly experimental approach to speaking out on police brutality. Proceeds from Postmodern Trash will go to a Ghost Ship fire relief fund.
The metal scene is expected to unleash more than can reasonably be reported. Post-metal band (Waning) is hoping to drop Still Hours in February, and guitarist Jim Willig confidently says it’s the group’s best work yet. Also look for albums from Chrch, Battle Hag and GraveCoven. The latter is a new project from Bog Oak guitarist Phillip Gallagher and Swamp Witch vocalist James Rauh.
After having two kids, blues powerhouse Katie Knipp is back on the scene and working on a new record, Blue Notes. And Tennessee-native and Grass Valley resident Brandy Robinson is shooting for a summer or fall release for her third record, Midnight Mockingbird, a collection of funky soul. Jed Brewer of Swimming in Bengal and San Kazakgascar will release a collaboration with Washington-based Arrington de Dionyso early this year on Lather Records: Tired Minds Improvised, a droney, free-form album via improvised play of guitar, bass clarinet, saxophone and circular breathing instruments from Indonesia.
Is that all? No way. Expect new releases from popular rock band Humble Wolf, Americana singer-songwriter Banjo Bones, retro power-pop troupe Mondo Deco and the Search, the alt-rock reinvention of the Denver J Band.
And more. Much, much more.