Words & Deeds

3 new local albums: Boise Blues Society, Hillfolk Noir, Oceans are Zeroes

Blues Gems from the Gem State

Boise Blues Society

This 77-minute compilation was curated by Boise Blues Society cofounder and radio personality Norman Davis, host of “The Juke Joint” on Radio Boise. Translation: It’s solid — and buying it does a solid for a deserving organization celebrating its 25th anniversary. There’s lots of variety here. The 18 Idaho acts range from Memphis-based success story John Nemeth to Boise regulars such as underrated, veteran singer-guitarist Richard Soliz and gritty young buck Zack Quintana. You’ll need to relax your definition of blues when you hear Ruberry Jam’s jazzed-up “Grover’s Groove,” but give credit to Jake Leg for remembering that “Black Magic Woman” was a Peter Green blues statement before Santana transformed it into a rock classic. boiseblues.org.

▪  CD release party: Eight bands are slated to perform from 7 to 11 p.m. May 13 at the Mardi Gras Ballroom, 615 S. 9th St., Boise. $10, or two for $15 at Eventbrite.com or at the door.

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Hillfolk Noir

Five albums into Hillfolk Noir’s trek down a backwoods mountain path, we know where the trio is leading us. Somewhere shadowy, somewhere lonely — where the group performs as the house band in an abandoned shanty for an audience of ghosts. There’s something eerie yet comforting about the trio’s old-timey acoustic music. These 17 hillbilly haunts (some with inviting names such as “Dead Maud”) are distilled with guitar, banjo, upright bass, musical saw, suitcase, washboard and possibly moonshine. If Travis and Alison Ward’s vocal harmonies don’t immediately time-warp you into yesteryear, take another nip out of the jug and scoot your rocking chair closer. Album release date: May 19. hillfolknoir.com.

▪  Album release show: 6:30 p.m. May 19, Cinder Winery, 107 E. 44th St., Garden City. $12 advance at Eventbrite.com or $15 at the door. Opening: Mike Coykendall, Curtis/Sutton and The Scavengers.

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Underneath Everything

Oceans are Zeroes

Oceans are Zeroes couldn’t realistically travel to Iceland or Scotland, where Sigur Ros and Mogwai helped blaze textural musical trails decades ago. But the Boise quintet spent a week recording at a cabin near Idaho City, seeking transcendence and inspiration from the majesty of Idaho’s wilderness. It seems to have worked. Describing Oceans are Zeroes’ meticulously crafted music invites post-rock cliches: “dynamic,” “cinematic,” “ethereal,” “atmospheric.” (Let’s not even mention “soundscapes.”) But that’s the honest, impassioned vibe throughout, from the high-tide instrumental swells to the soaring vocals of founding member Joseph Lyles. Close your eyes. A track such as “Inside” takes you outside — of your body, particularly when channeled through a pair of quality headphones. Album release date: May 5. facebook.com/oceansarezeroes.

▪  Album release party: 9 p.m. May 20, Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St., Boise. $5 advance, TicketWeb, $7 door. Opening: Paul Travis, Lerk.

Michael Deeds