The tracks on these two EPs from the Providence producer make up in depth and texture what they may lack in runtime. There’s scarcely a track over a minute long, as Baker piles looping, jazzy piano riffs on top of stutter-stop click tracks and crackling vinyl that should drive hip-hop vocalists looking for beats to rhyme over into fits of ecstasy. - Luke O’Neil
DAVID WAX MUSEUM
The fourth time was the charm for this indie-folk band anchored by David Wax and Suz Slezak. Their first three albums as David Wax Museum were sweet enough, but on “Knock Knock Get Up” they stretched and aligned all the elements that make them such a joy in concert. Producer Sam Kassirer drew out the inherent chemistry Wax and Slezak share; Wax is the heart of the band, but Slezak is its soul. Never have they sounded so compelling as on “Will You Be Sleeping?” and “Wondrous Love,” a pair of bookends that capture what makes this album so special. - James Reed
Given the widespread attention it received, Debo Band’s full-length debut on Sub Pop Records was among the more high-profile albums by a local band this year. And it warranted every accolade and hype that came its way. Led by Danny Mekonnen, the group, whose members are mostly based in Jamaica Plain, riffs on the golden age of Ethiopian pop and funk while sounding very much like a scrappy young band intoxicated by the freedom to do whatever it wants. - J.R.
H.W.’s intensely personal and introspective work isn’t necessarily an easy listen, but why should it be? Swaying between cathartic release and emotional relapse, the album, thanks in part to some superb production from MobRobb, finds H.W. successfully connecting his own experiences with larger philosophical ideas in ways few other local rappers even attempt. - Martín Caballero
J THE S
After releasing a prolific volume of mixtape material over the past years, J the S (Greater Good) made his long-awaited conceptual album worth the wait: With a sharp ear for diverse beats and a mature sense of composition, J the S impresses on “Last Days” by balancing pointed sociopolitical commentaries with personal stories and a few upbeat radio jams. - M.C.
You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month
Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.
- High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
- Convenient access across all of your devices
- Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
- Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
- Less than 25¢ a week