STS9 New Year’s

Discord dominates on Blood Orange’s excellent “Freetown Sound”

Hip hop and R&B has grown increasingly self-conscious over the last few years. On “To Pimp A Butterfly,” Kendrick Lamar dropped fiery verses about oppression and his rise to fame in “King Kunta.” Beyoncé sang about the struggles of black women on “Lemonade.” Dev Hynes’ latest Blood Orange album, “Freetown Sound,” is no exception as it tackles blackness, sexuality, Christianity and his African roots.

The Growlers concoct playful psych pop at Ogden Theatre

Friday night at the Ogden Theatre, The Growlers brought a little bit of the beach to a steamy summer night in landlocked Denver. Their bouncy Orange County “Beach Goth” sound, a perfect hybrid of surf rock, cowpunk, psych rock and reggae, coalesces around the distinctive vocals and lilting melodies of frontman Brooks Nielsen.