With Angel City Radio, Santa Barbara–based artist Alexandra Riorden has one of the summer’s strongest debuts. A sophisticated songwriter with expert support from an outstanding group of musicians, Riorden moves easily from slinky synth ballads to chamber pop and torchy twang. Lyrically, she tells a personal story of trauma and healing that comes down strongly on the side of recovery and renewal. Haunted by memories of a violent incident, Riorden chases down her demons and sings around the campfire of their incineration. To get a sense of the breadth of the production and her talent, sample the first track, “Animals,” and the last one, “Angel City Radio (outro).” They have the same lyrics, but such radically different arrangements that you might need a moment to recognize the return.
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