When: Thu., June 18, 8:30 p.m. 2015
About halfway through the calendar year, critics and avid listeners start taking stock of the past six months in music. Maybe early-year infatuations have started to mellow, initial indifference has given way to passion, or perhaps the full-lengths you instantly fell for upon release some months ago still retain all of their initial allure. Sarah Bethe Nelson’s Slow Moving Clouds is in the latter camp. On the bartender kiss-off ballad, “Paying,” the local songwriter’s breathy, plainspoken vocals manage to cut in spite of their silken character. “Start Somewhere” foregrounds her ace band: arpeggiated keyboard melody tangles with elliptical guitar leads throughout a gorgeous, ascendant outro. As summer begins, the record seems just as suitable as it did back in March. On Thursday at The Hemlock (1131 Polk St., San Francisco), Nelson and her band perform material from one of the best local albums of 2015 so far.