THE SUFFERS, Everything Here (Shanachie): ***½

Houston’s self-described “Gulf Coast soul” octet again blend soul, funk, R&B, reggae, hip-hop, jazz and pop in a summery cocktail spiked with escapist grooves and disarmingly positive attitude. “Full on disclosure, I’m not here for exposure/ I came to have a good time so let me shine,” dynamic frontwoman Kam Franklin confides on single “Do Whatever,” introduced by children’s voices that sound happily natural alongside robust horns and barroom piano. String-laced slow jams give way to funky dance invitations and feel-good (albeit flow-interrupting) spoken interludes. Highlights: “I Think I Love You,” “What You Said,” the gospel-kissed “Won’t Be Here Tomorrow.” thesuffers.com

DIRTY PROJECTORS, Lamp Lit Prose (Domino): **½

There are many arresting ideas and hooks here, so it’s maddening that Dave Longstreth arranges them so they get in each other’s way. He segues confidently from the squiggling synths of “Break-Thru” to the corruption-decrying “That’s a Lifestyle” (“The monster eats its young …’Til it’s satisfied and done”), the most melodic track (next to “You’re the One,” featuring Robin Pecknold) in a set where melodies are fragmented and subsumed by bright, arty sounds. Synths propel standouts like the spiky “I Feel Energy” and R&B-lite “What is the Time,” but easy listening it ain’t. Dirtyprojectors.net

OPIUM MOON, Opium Moon (Be Why): ****

A beautifully performed, category-defying instrumental set of improvisation-rooted compositions that rhythmically span the globe. The effect’s trance-like with the cinematic sway of lead single “Caravan” and “How Can I Pray When the Beloved is All I See,” when MB Gordy’s frame drum’s poetically answered by Hamid Saeidi’s santoor (Persian hammered dulcimer), and when Gordy’s drum and Itai Disraeli’s pensive fretless bassist set the scene for violinist Lili Haydn’s achingly expressive solo during “When I See You Naked I Smell the Earth.” Release show at Moss Theater in Santa Monica Sunday, July 15. Opiummoon.com

ELIZA GILKYSON, Secularia (Red House): ***½

The former Pasadenan’s never shied from angrily challenging injustice, but here she takes a spiritual (not religious) approach to the world’s wounds. There’s a soothing, elegiac quality to her interpretation of “Down By the Riverside,” sung with the late Jimmy LaFave, as well as “Lifelines,” “Instrument” and the shivery ode to natural beauty “Seculare,” while Pastor Sam Butler’s benedictive reverence uplifts “Sanctuary.” The most transcendent track may be “Reunion,” with the Tosca String Quartet gorgeously framing Gilkyson’s elegant sketch of lost girls on a refugee boat: “They cry to us/ On our distant shore/ And we cover our ears/ ’Til they cry no more.” elizagilkyson.com