San Diego

8 of SD's Best Pop/Rock Albums of 2017 (So Far)

We highlight eight of the best pop/rock albums to come out of San Diego in the first half of 2017

Since we're halfway through the year, what better time than now to take a look back at the great rock/pop releases San Diego's music community has pumped out in 2017 thus far? While there seems to be a scarcity of actual full-length albums coming out 'round these parts these days, here are some good additions to your playlists.

Creepseed, "The Loneliest Man You'll Ever See" EP (released May 16): The solo project of former Shady Francos frontman Josh Kmak offers up more of the glam-fueled garage-rock he delivered on last year's "The Undertone" album -- oh, and enlisting the Schizophonics as his rhythm section for live shows is just what the creepy doctor ordered. See 'em in action at the Belly Up on Aug. 9. [Listen/download it for free]

Hideout, "So Many Hoops/So Little Time" (released via Small Plates Records on Feb. 3): Not gonna lie, Hideout's 2014 "Rookie" was my favorite San Diego album of that year. With their second record, the group's mastermind, Gabe Rodriguez, has yet again crafted a dense, mesmerizing record of folk, psychedelia, art-pop and good ol' fashioned rock & roll that has remained in constant rotation on my turntable. [Watch the video for "I Got Your Message" and listen/buy the LP]

Low Points, "Feels" EP (released via Bleeding Gold Records on March 3): Helmed by frontman/songwriter Kevin Vega, Low Points' debut EP might be San Diego's go-to summer tunes of 2017 -- based on the springy, sloppy, garage-surf/rock gem "Life Goes On" [watch the video] alone. Luckily for us, the other three tracks on "Feels" are equally unstoppable, mightily infectious, and next-level fun. [Listen/buy it]

The Schizophonics, "Ooga Booga" EP (released via Pig Baby Records on March 28): OK, so we all know these kids got some serious onstage theatrics -- but their studio recordings are criminally underloved (albeit too few and far between if we're keeping it real). But that's where "Ooga Booga" comes in: Now you can enjoy the band's somersault/splits energy without getting pelted in the head by a wayward instrument. Word on the street is they're releasing a new 45 at the Casbah on July 14. Be there. [Listen/buy the EP]

Sights and Sages, "doubleplus" (released June 30): To be honest, I'm still digging into this one. These seven tracks are a rather dense collection of experimental indie-rock in the vein of Alt-J, Radiohead and, dare I say, Pinback. It's no surprise they were tapped to open Switchfoot's latest Bro-Am festival, and with one listen to the smoldering leadoff single "Aghori" [watch the video], you'll understand why. See 'em at the Casbah on July 29. [Listen to the record]

Elise Trouw, "Unraveling" (released May 7): Trouw, who just turned 18 the day this album (her first) dropped, already sounds like a seasoned industry veteran. On "Unraveling" [watch the video for the title track], she wrote, played and recorded the entire thing herself -- and the resulting 10 songs already display a mastery of precision rhythms and complex melodies that'd be impressive by musicians even 10 years her senior. San Diego's next big thing? Hey, she's got the numbers to back it up. [Buy the LP]

The Thens, "Lessons in Being Late" (released via Postmark Records on April 14): When Max Greenhalgh's not busy workin' the Inspired and the Sleep machine, he moonlights in this indie-pop/rock bass/drum duo with his buddy Ryan Mack. Turns out the dude can't write a bad tune, no matter who he's playing with. See them at SOMA on July 8. [Listen/buy the LP]

Trouble in the Wind, "Pineapple Moon" EP (released July 4): Squeezed in right before I finished writing this up, these North County lads dropped this surprise five-song EP of Americana/pop/rock ear candy on Fourth of July -- right in time for it to hit my BBQ playlist. Let's just say it made more than a fine addition. See them at 91x's BeerX festival on Aug. 12 at Waterfront Park. [Listen/download the EP for free]

Dustin Lothspeich books The Merrow, plays in Diamond Lakes, and runs the music equipment-worshipping blog Gear and Loathing in San Diego. Follow his updates on Twitter or contact him directly.

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