Urban Soul (Cellar Door Records)
On last year's Emerald City Blues, the Commonwealth started to experiment in the studio to push the limits of its elegant arrangements and beautiful melodies. With Urban Soul, an album the band has said is thematically about "being in your mid- to late-twenties and trying to start a life," the group experiments even further. A mellow piano-based tune, "The Bright Ones" features hushed vocals, and the title track has a woozy garage blues feel that recalls the Black Keys collaborations with uber-producer Danger Mouse. Using groups such as Bon Iver, the National and Arcade Fire as reference points, the band comes into its own here.
The Commonwealth performs with Oldboy and Gomez Addams at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Grog Shop.