The sound of Oakland, CA’s Trails and Ways is a fascinating mix of the melancholy of bossa nova, the fearlessness of basement indie rock, driving grooves from the end of disco, and the slick shine of radio pop. Their songs never shy away from personal and political heavy-lifting, but this is some of the most compelling pop music we’ve heard in some time. Call it what you will; hearing it is like stumbling into the warmth of an intimate dance party among smart and thoughtful friends.The band’s four members (Hannah and Keith on guitar, Ian on drums, and Emma on bass) cast off from the co-op houses at UC Berkeley in the depths of the great recession. They headed to live as far afield as Ceará in Brazil and Galicia in Spain before reuniting in Oakland to start the DIY bedroom recording project that became Trails and Ways. When the friends first sent out their early track “Nunca” to a few blogs the zeitgeist must have been blowing through Oakland, and they were staggered by a sudden rush of attention: 70,000 plays in a single day — something rarely seen from an unsigned artist.This surge of popularity galvanized the band, and wary of becoming another flash-in-the-pan blog sensation they set out with determination to refine their art and take advantage of the unexpected groundswell of support. They quickly got to work crafting a powerful live show, quit their day jobs, ran two national tours, and played festival stages at Outside Lands, Capitol Hill Block Party, and Firefly.Pathology, their debut LP, was recorded at home in Oakland in 2014, amid the unrelenting crawl of the California drought and the surge of tech-company capital in the Bay Area. The album is a work of multiple hands, multiple hearts, and multiple voices — vibrant, emotional, political, and personal.