Deep Night (Porto Franco Records)
It may be unfair to say so, but on the surface this gypsy jazz sextet sounds a bit amorphous. On one hand the band doubles as ambience at San Francisco club Amnesia every Wednesday; on the other, listen closely and the music is as nuanced and dexterous as any world-class jazz ensemble. Gaucho’s brilliant playing, it turns out, covers both extremes.
At Amnesia (853 Valencia St., San Francisco) on December 9. 8 p.m., free
Sunshine Enema (Marrowcell Records)
Use me, burden me, defile and deride me. It’s not Marilyn Manson, but it is industrial — more like Skinny Puppy, but catchier. This San Francisco band’s ability to pair industrial electronics and themes with club beats, hooks, and melodies — sufficient to render the above line disarmingly appealing — make for a conflicted yet intriguing listen.
At the Great American Music Hall (859 O’Farrell St., San Francisco) on December 9. 7:30 p.m., $35
Genre (The Nothing Room)
Like fellow local Josh Fix, San Francisco quintet Mass Fiction revives piano-based, Queen-inspired power-pop for a new generation. The difference is where they go with it: Mass Fiction’s infusion of rough-edged alternative rock is more creative and original, yet less persuasive than Fix’s authentic swagger. '
At the Elbo Room (647 Valencia St., San Francisco) on December 2. 9 p.m., $6
20 Minute Hourglass EP (PopSmear Records)
Fans of mainstream rock should be impressed with San Francisco indie band Scene of Action’s latest offering. From instrumentation to production, the trio captures perfectly the dark, dynamic, and yearning style that has dominated modern rock radio for the last five or so years — and these six songs would feel quite at home on an arena rock stage.
At the Rickshaw Stop (155 Fell St., San Francisco) on November 28. 8 p.m., $10
Cheapjack Moon (self-released)
Like a more psychedelic Spoon or a more shambolic Pinback, Wave Array plays slightly to the left of contemporary indie rock standards. The East Bay band’s debut politely ignores prevailing trends for slower tempos and a hazier aesthetic. It’s a fine line between losing your head in the clouds and wandering without focus, but Wave Array mostly gets it right.
At the Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) on November 28. 9 p.m., $7
Everything Changes and Nothing Changes (self-released)
If the name Dave Smallen doesn’t ring a bell, try Street to Nowhere. That’s the talented young East Bay singer-songwriter’s former band, signed to Capitol Records in 2006 and later disbanded. His solo debut is more mature and subdued than STN’s wild-eyed pop-punk, comparing favorably to the likes of Bright Eyes and the Counting Crows.
At Bottom of the Hill (1233 17th St., San Francisco) on November 27. 9:30 p.m., $12
In honor of our upcoming Holiday Guide on November 25, which features top-ten album reviews by a number of EBX staffers and contributors, here are a few lists already released by other outlets. Consider them top-ten snacks before your top-ten meal next week.
Contributing to San Francisco's vibrant indie-pop scene, Camp Out makes comfortable, upbeat music that should appeal to fans of mainstream pop and independent music alike. Band members Maddy Hanks and Jackie Law co-produced and self-released Closer without any label support, but their melodies and harmonies best most industry-groomed pop.
At Hotel Utah (400 4th St., San Francisco) on November 19. 9 p.m., $6
Bay Area folksinger Corinne West left home at age fifteen to rove in the company of artists and activists. Years later and now three albums strong, her work as a singer-songwriter seems to carry with it the spirit of those times. There's a freewheeling energy to her soft, introspective roots style, and an understated brilliance to the album as a whole.
At Freight & Salvage (2020 Addison St., Berkeley) on November 20. 8 p.m., $19.50
Leadoff track "Jelly James Jam" is a formless freak-out featuring funky guitar strikes, bluesy harmonica, psychedelic Hammond and wah-wah guitar, and a prominent disco beat. Vinyl's sophomore effort, featuring Les Claypool, Yossi Fine, Felonious, the Rondo Brothers, and others, blends the noodley jam band and beat-driven club scenes in seamless fashion.
At the Independent (628 Divisadero St., San Francisco) on November 25. 9 p.m., $15