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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Some essential Baltimore listening, part I

Here's a numberless list of some essential local listening:

The Complete Pet Soul, Vol. 1
The local punk and power pop outfit liberally borrowed from the Beach Boys and the Beatles to create this uberpop album. Released five years ago, its soaring harmonies, punchy guitar runs and tasteful percussion make for a massive, delicious sound.

Laura Brino
A Strange and Beautiful Trip
Brino's debut album is built around her breathy, beautiful voice. The instrumentation is sparse but the musicianship is solid -- especially for a first album.

Page France
Hello, Dear Wind
Striking music from the mountains. Cumberland's Page France presents a pretty standard lineup (drums, bass, guitar, keys) with a distinct sound. Lead singer Michael Nau's lyrics are filled with colorful imagery and religious overtones, and his voice tightly pairs with fellow vocalist Whitney McGraw.

Hip Hop:
Darkroom Productions
Hamsterdam Vol. 2: Stash to the Strip
The best production team Baltimore has to offer compiles this bass-heavy mixtape. Almost all the instrumentation is original -- there are hardly any samples -- and the double disc set features some of the area's more renown MCs.

The Oranges Band
The World and Everything In It
One of Baltimore's best indie rock bands continues to mature with this album. Front man Roman Kuebler aims for a timeless summer sound, complete with harmonies, catchy melodies and driving rhythms.

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