ALBINO! Rhino (Mighty Niblet Records). Proclaiming George Bush a puppet and our government a "looming threat" won't turn many heads in the Bay Area, but lyrics are only incidental to ALBINO!'s groove-laden, instrumentally flawless take on the jazz/funk/protest hybrid of Afrobeat.
The Kim Philbys Whir Whir Whir (Evangeline Records). Like a mix tape you might've traded with your friends back in the day: charmingly uneven, unabashedly brokenhearted trad rock.
David Widelock Memories of a Surprise (self-released). Amateur album art belies the veteran Bay Area artist's skill at writing and performing solo acoustic pieces on nylon- and twelve-string guitars, including original arrangements of works by Thelonious Monk, Randy Newman, and Gilberto Gil.
The Landing The Landing EP (self-released). Young, female-fronted Palo Alto trio the Landing fancies itself a bit edgier than these three songs suggest. Still, its debut recording's piano-driven alt-rock surveys fertile ground.
Tempo No Tempo Repetition EP (Double Negative Records). While the world may not need another post-punk dance band, it has one in Berkeley's Tempo No Tempo, which advances on its second EP from aping turn-of-the-century revivalists like Radio 4 and Franz Ferdinand to building upon them.