Dntel, “Hate in My Heart” (Leaving Records). The artist Jimmy Tamborello is best known as one half of the electronic pop band the Postal Service, but followers of L.A. beat-based music know that even without that commercial breakthrough, he would still be a key influence on a generation of area producers. Across nearly two decades, his melodic, nonabrasive work as Dntel has packaged earworm-inducing loops and rhythms within sturdily structured compositions.
“Hate in My Heart” is unlike anything Tamborello’s ever done as Dntel, but that stands to reason, because anyone who’s ever met him knows his heart is hardly hateful. Improvised, according to pre-release notes, as “meditation therapy working through the current conflicting political climate,” the artist made 10 compositions in his living room with a modular synth called the Buchla Music Easel and some effects pedals. He then took that raw tape and edited it into shape.
What arrives are a series of relatively structureless explorations of the Buchla, an early mass-market synth that generates cosmic bleeps and bloops, washes of knob-twiddled noise and frequency bundles that, with proper volume, seem to massage the psyche.
With different instrumentation, “Us Failing” could be a baroque revelry that turns trippy, what with its pipe organ-suggestive synthesizer runs and low-bass hums. The dots of sound that make up “Inforate” move in competing tempos that overlap, like two androids in a heated argument. “Worn” is more forlorn, as if while in his living room, Tamborello were scoring a CNN political discussion on TV in the background. Optimism? Yes, Tamborello can still express it. He concludes the album with sunshine-suggestive “Hope in My Heart.” Unfortunately, it’s also the darkest, grimmest track here.
Anna St. Louis, “Understand” (Woodsist). The Kansas City, Kan.-born artist relocated to Los Angeles five years ago, and last year issued an excellent cassette on singer-songwriter Kevin Morby’s imprint. The artist’s official debut album, “If Only There Was a River,” will arrive in mid-October, and St. Louis just unveiled the first song and video from it.
Called “Understand,” it’s a sturdy folk-rock work that thematically suggests the hesitations that accompany desire — maybe. Her songs are lyrical puzzles. Morby, who co-produced the album in Mt. Washington with Kyle Thomas (King Tuff), describes St. Louis’ world as one in which “the heart leads straight to the soul and where everything is cloaked in beautiful mystery.” It’s a mystery worthy of investigation.
Jerry Paper featuring Weyes Blood, “Grey Area” (Stones Throw). A smooth, soulful soft-rock song built on ideas codified during the early ’60s girl-group era, this new song taps into the kind of retro-futurist vibe that has typified the output of Highland Park imprint Stones Throw.
“Grey Area” is the second new song from Lucas Nathan’s forthcoming debut album as Jerry Paper. Co-produced by Matty Tavares of Canadian jazz-funk band BadBadNotGood, the album, “Like a Baby,” features collaborations with Mild High Club’s Alex Brettin and vocalist Charlotte Day Wilson.