(Photo by Ant Boyd)
Oakland’s Samuelito Cruz is well versed in the Bay Area music scene. Having been involved in a variety of local Bay projects, including Happy Diving and Never Young, Cruz has finally taken time to work on his own personal project: Toner.
A chilled out, mellow breeze of musical melodies and diddies, the title track “That’s Fine” brings you in with shimmering guitars and the disaffected, melancholic vocals of Cruz. Written in July and recorded throughout the months of August to December, the album was primarily produced in Cruz’s hometown of Newark in a backyard shed. The tracks are in many ways somber, with themes of isolation and melancholy. However, in their totality they carry a kind of upbeat undertone—leaving the listener with a feeling that is evocative to what its like being stoned and alone.