Here at buffaBLOG, we love it when a release takes us by surprise. With so much of our time spent keeping tabs on forthcoming releases and projects that *are* on our radar, it is to be expected that some things slip through the cracks. So when something impressive seemingly comes out of nowhere, naturally, we’re excited.

Enter Hobby, the sophomore effort from the Rochesterian home-recording project of Brian Buggy, or Safe Search. Specializing in an endearing vein of lo-fi freak folk, the album makes a name for itself with its exceptional diversity among the tracks. A full listen-through highlights a multitude of influence; comparisons to Paul Baribeau, Grizzly Bear, Owen, and Radical Face really only grazes the top layer.

Safe Search gathers this influence and takes it a step further, melding acoustic fragility with a captivating electric prominence. “Crows” exemplifies this hybridization at its core, capitalizing on an ebbing electric thickness broken up by soft-spoken verses of acoustic strumming. Other notable highlights include the Bon Iver-esque “Someone to Talk To,” the dark whisper intricacies of “Osmosis and Blue,” and the americana influence of “Spirit.” Noting several 90s story-folk pioneers like The Mountain Goats and Neutral Milk Hotel as direct influences, Buggy brings his own twist to the table and rekindles these niche vibes into something fresh for 2016.

Hobby is available as a pay-what-you-want digital download on Safe Search’s bandcamp. Have a listen to “Osmosis and Blue” below, and follow the link for more strange goodness.