The third album from this eight-year-old paragon of progressive Bay Area Latin music is a fresh, mid-tempo assemblage of reggaetón, cumbia, mambo, samba, salsa, rock, and more. Using the cover art to equate their music to a slow drag from a cigarette was bold, but smart; like the two-minute guitar solo in "Seductor," it bolsters the band's laid-back vibe and the philosophy Time Is Art.
At La Peña Cultural Center (3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) on October 3. 9 p.m., $8-$10
At Coda (1710 Mission St., San Francisco) on October 4. 8 p.m., $7
The third season of Mad Men is off to a fine start, earning Emmy awards this year for Outstanding Drama and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. Although viewer ratings fell from 1.9 billion to 1.6 billion after the Emmys according to thrfeed.com, Mad Men retains a strong hold on its loyal audience spanning seemingly everyone from Baby Boomers to Generation Y2k. The Huffington Post projects viewers ages 18 to 49 have grown 71% since the season two premier in the fall of 2008.
Offering a brilliant vision of early My Morning Jacket (minus heapings of delay) crossed with locals the Trainwreck Riders (minus punk-rock edge), West Oakland's TV Mike and the Scarecrowes accomplish the rare feat of making folk-rock both transcendent and earthy. Anthemic melodies and atmospheric harmonies are fueled by strong banjo and guitar work, plus TV Mike's absorbing vocals.
At Café du Nord (2170 Market St., San Francisco) on October 1. 9 p.m., $10
Living Colour, live at the Regency Ballroom, San Francisco, on September 25, 2009. Photos by Hali McGrath.
An alt-country album that proclaims, only half-kidding, Cash rules everything around me, honey? Now that's something. Tiny Television's Jeremy D'Antonio, a self-proclaimed "son of the West," generally plays by the rules, but plies his own city-country hybrid on songs like the aforementioned "C.R.E.A.M." and the gospel-flavored "Rose Colored Sunsets."
At Café du Nord (2170 Market St., San Francisco) on October 3. 9:30 p.m., $12
This debut begins hesitantly but gathers steam as it moves along. At 8 songs and 31 minutes, it's just long enough to test its blues-meets-modern-rock meddle and leave a memorable impression. The five members' extensive experience dating back to the early-1980s "Che Underground" scene in San Diego means it's probably just how they wanted it.
Still enamored with industrial music? So is Mark Blasquez, the one-man band behind Crush. On this debut, he resurrects the rhythmic, razor-sharp power chords of the late 1990s with sincerity and reverence for days past. Blasquez knows those days well; he worked with both Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson. The Red Pill is dated, but in all the right ways.
At Dan's Irish Sports Bar (1524 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek) on September 26. 10 p.m., free
Espousing sentiments like I'm high on life, I'm just short on cash and Don't ask me no questions, I won't tell you no lies, San Francisco "neo-noir honkey tonk" band 77 El Deora, anchored by vocalist Jenn Courtney and songwriter Maurice Tani, tends to play it safe. The approach finally clicks with a closing cover of Peggy Lee's 1969 existentialist pop hit "Is That All There Is?"
At Café Royale (800 Post St., San Francisco) on September 24. 8 p.m., free
Garibaldi's acoustic folk-rock should be a hit with the KFOG set: it's romantic, mature, and harmless. The edges are rounded off and the final product polished, but it retains an air of independence and personal expression. Not much to rave about and not much to complain about on the 25-year-old's sixth album; it sounds good, and that's that.
At El Rio (3158 Mission St., San Francisco) on September 28. 7 p.m., $5
The name is great, but the music's only half-good. Oakland's Wallpaper. makes Autotune-drenched dance music for hipsters, meaning house-party funk and R&B you can't actually dance to. The oft-repetitive lyrics take drinking, dating, and hooking up mighty seriously - unless of course it's all a big joke. There's some value here, just not enough.
At the Rickshaw Stop (155 Fell St., San Francisco) on September 26. 9 p.m., $10-$15