• trails and ways Pathology (CD, £13.95)

    label: Barsuk Records

    The sound of Oakland, CA’s Trails and Ways is a fascinating mix of the melancholy of bossa nova, the fearlessness of basement indie rock, driving grooves from the end of disco, and the slick shine of radio pop. Their songs never shy away from personal and political heavy-lifting, but this is some of the most compelling pop music we’ve heard in some time. Call it what you will; hearing it is like stumbling into the warmth of an intimate dance party among smart and thoughtful friends. The band’s four members (Hannah and Keith on guitar, Ian on drums, and Emma on bass) cast off from the co-op houses at UC Berkeley in the depths of the great recession. They headed to live as far afield as Ceará in Brazil and Galicia in Spain before reuniting in Oakland to start the DIY bedroom recording project that became Trails and Ways. Their debut LP was recorded at home in Oakland in 2014, amid the unrelenting crawl of the California drought and the surge of tech-company capital in the Bay Area. The album is a work of multiple hands, multiple hearts and multiple voices — vibrant, emotional, political and personal. Tracks: Skeletons / Say You Will / Mtn Tune / Jacaranda / Heavy Sleeper / Nunca / Downright / Defined / Terezinha / Dream About Me / Vines


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