DINNER PARTY, Dinner Party

(Sounds of Crenshaw/EMPIRE):★★★½

2020’s conflicts inform this collaboration between Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder and Kamasi Washington, balanced by the jazz-hip-hop supergroup’s longstanding camaraderie and the hope of tracks such as “Sleepless Nights” (“We’ve been down, for so long/ Know change been on the way, ain’t worried no more”). Tension loops through beats and bass lines while soothing harmonies frame Washington’s expressive saxophone. Chicago vocalist Phoelix, who sings on four of the seven tracks, movingly conveys summer’s joys alongside police brutality’s year-round perils during “Freeze Tag,” a thoughtfully layered track that hopefully signals more consequential future recordings: “They told me put my hands up behind my head…/ Then they told me if I move, they gon’ shoot me dead/ But I think I’m ’bout to cut a rug.” soundsofcrenshaw.com

PAINT, Spiritual Vegas

(Mexican Summer): ★★★

There’s a drowsy, summertime ease to this sophomore outing from Paint, aka Allah-Las guitarist Pedrum Siadatian. The psychedelic “Ta Fardah,” sung in Farsi, floats on vintage grooves, while ocean waves tumble into Kinks-style guitar lines during the ’60s-flavored “Land Man” and cascading exchanges between keyboard and saxophone during jazzy instrumental “Impressions” suggest sunset confidences shared by the water’s edge. Even more rocking tunes such as “Strange World” don’t grab the ear so much as tickle them with easygoing hooks, inviting listeners to chill for a while. paint4.bandcamp.com/album/spiritual-vegas


(Nine Mile): ★★★½

The Austin duo kick off their latest, smoothly produced by Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin, with “Tune In,” a magnetic groover referencing insular media worlds, “information overload,” and the pervasive 2020 reality of feeling like “my brain’s about to explode.” The remaining nine tracks feel less visceral but still connect. Keyboardist Anthony Farrell and guitarist Andrew Trube take a discofied turn with the homeless-themed “People in the Park,” but mostly tap into classic soul rhythms and sounds until Samuel Greyhorse’s spaghetti-Western-flavored “Omon’I,” which extends the album’s theme of brotherhood. greyhoundsmusic.com

ELLE KING, In Isolation


The gutsy LA-raised rocker finds power in confessing her vulnerability. She did something similar throughout 2018’s slickly produced “Shake the Spirit,” but the bare-boned instrumentation of these three tracks recorded during quarantine — King’s accompanied by just acoustic guitar or piano — magnifies the stripped-bare honesty of her expressive vocals and lyrics, pointing toward new personal and musical beginnings. “Shit is scary, shit is new,” she wails during “The Let Go.” “The tide is calling out for changes/ Oh what an ocean of time that we wasted.” elleking.com