Azul Toga

A new EP from Portland’s own Azul Toga called #2 just came out at the end of June. Azul Toga is a collection of dream pop and lo-fi surf-rock, great for the height of summer. The new EP is the follow up to Azul Toga’s previous summer’s #1. This album has a more refined sound than the previous, but still keeps that sincere closeness to it. The jangly guitars along with the muddled vocals makes for music you want to dance at the beach during the golden hour. #2 by Azul Toga is full of good songs and with it being under 15 minutes total there is no excuse not to listen to it. It is also on the bandcamp page for pay what you want here.

Is/Is

Need some subdued tunes for hiding from the hot sun? Is/Is is your jam. Their cool shoegazey cosmic pop is a solar eclipse for your ears. The songs keep good rhythmic progressions and pleasant dreamy melodies which mix together and just sound great. The track “Rune” showcases Is/Is’s psych sensibilities, with a sound reminscent to My Bloody Valentine or early Besnard Lakes. The very next track “Sideways” shows more of an interest in garage rock with a nod to 90’s revivalism. This is what makes Is/Is successful, their seamless blending of everything we love. Their live shows are highly recommended. Lucky for you, Portlander, they’re playing Star Theater with Ancient River on July 9th, and Mississippi Studios with The Coathangers and Marriage and Cancer July 18th.

Máscaras

It’s new music from Máscaras, a local Portland 3-piece band. Their new album is called Máscara vs. Máscara. These guys blend high energy psych-rock with an edge of experimental elements, all rolled up in a fury of instrumental expressionism. Máscara vs. Máscara starts off with “Burgers & Balrog,” a track that instantly lets you know that these guys aren’t messing around. With a surfy guitar riff and incredible drumming, it is extremely easy to become enchanted with Máscaras. “City In Ruins” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The guitar solo just demands for you to rock out as hard as possible, then the drums demand to take it up a notch. Another favorite song of mine is the closer “Going Home.” Máscara vs. Máscara by Máscaras demands your attention, and once you hit play that’ll be all you can do for 23 minutes.

Sun Blood Stories

Brand new album from Sun Blood Stories called Twilight Midnight Morning. This Idaho band have a sweet droney style of music. Sun Blood Stories craft a witchy concoction of brooding drone-rock. The opening track “Palace Mountain Mirage” opens the album with an excellent slide guitar riff that sets the mood for the rest of Twilight Midnight Morning. Tracks 4 (Witch Wind) and 6 (Night Tremor) have a more highly driven bass line that makes for more of a psychedelic-metal feel to it. My favorite track on the record is the finale “Misery is Nebulous.” Sun Blood Stories brings such great musicianship to this record, and it sounds amazing, so go listen to it and support independent artists.

Girlpool

New music from Girlpool called Before the World Was Big. These ladies have such an incredibly powerful sound with their minimalist style of alt-pop. The songwriting is really extraordinary, the harmonies and vocals in general give such a sense of vulnerability, and the guitar parts are so well put together to make you feel the music. This album from Girlpool is one of my favorites so far this year, so make sure to check it out!