Split Screens , Split Screens
The vibraphone sets a dreamy mood on Split Screens, the work of multi-instrumentalist Jesse Cafiero. Similar to Real Estate, or Caveman minus the pop leanings, Split Screens plays fuzzy folk nostalgia with spaced-out ramblings and blues guitar. At times, the songs suffer from being too ambient, but the arrangements on "Born" allow even the most delicate sounds through. (self-released)At Brick & Mortar Music Hall (1710 Mission St, SF) on Thursday, Dec. 6. 8 p.m., $7, $10.
Black Cobra Vipers, EP
The blues-rock influence of The Black Keys can be heard on Black Cobra Vipers' debut, in which Gregory DiMartino's soulful voice chases after rhythm guitars and rock beats. What makes Black Cobra Vipers sound fresh is the often piano-driven elements of funk and jazz, harking back to a band it might not know, but should: Steely Dan. (self-released)At Elbo Room (647 Valencia St., San Francisco) on Wednesday, Nov. 28. 9 p.m., $10.
The Molestations, Terror Claw
Don't get too attached to garage-punkers The Molestations; Terror Claw is a live album of the Oakland group's supposedly last show ever. Listening to Terror Claw, it's not entirely surprising that the band didn't gain a larger following in its five years together: The Molestations slap together frenetic percussion and screeching vocals with electric blues guitar to create a cracked-out punk-meets-twangy-rock sound. R.I.P. (self-released)
Antwon , End of Earth
San Jose rapper Antwon has had a huge year, from his video for "Helicopter" going viral to producing two solid mixtapes, with a third due next month. His second mixtape, End of Earth, contains his best single to date, if not one of the best singles of the year, "Living Every Dream." The track is a mix of old school hip-hop and modern beats, anchored in boom-bap sampled from Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner." Download the entire mixtape for free on Bandcamp. (self-released)