Local Licks 

This week, we review Disgust of Us, The Downer Party, Birds & Batteries, and Sweedish.

Disgust of Us, Disgust of Us. Poised as a hard-hitting rock band, Oakland's Disgust of Us revolves around a gentle core. Cheryl Martinez's softly sinister vocals and a pronounced melody often give way to a fierce chorus featuring Patrick Thomas' searing background vocals, but the overall effect is balanced and musical. Such dynamic, compelling songcraft is worth a listen. (self-released)

At Sub-Mission Art Space (2183 Mission St., San Francisco) on November 6. 8 p.m., $8

The Downer Party, Ego-Driven Lust Creatures EP. The story goes that teenage co-founders Sierra Frost and Sam Bartos were talking smack about bands they hated when someone challenged them to do better. So they made Ego-Driven Lust Creatures, this San Francisco trio's debut statement: a five-song, eleven-minute blast of snotty rock 'n' roll indebted to punk, pop, and Frost's absolutely charming riot-grrl attitude. (PopSmear Records)

At the Uptown (1928 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) on November 6. 9 p.m., free

Birds & Batteries, Up to No Good EP. The San Francisco band that doesn't seem to have a clue what kind of a band it is returns with another pleasantly confounding record. Birds & Batteries has come a long way from doing Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" in 2007 to offering a dead ringer for Beta Band via the quirky electro-pop of "Out in the Woods" on this EP. Or has it? The genius of the group is that you never can tell. (Eightmaps)

At Cafe du Nord (2170 Market St., San Francisco) on November 8. 9 p.m., $12

Sweedish, Life as Someone Else EP. For all its characteristic independence and experimentalism, the Bay Area music scene is rife with bands who'd rather apply indie sensibilities to a more mainstream sound. Sweedish is one such group, as this debut finds the able quartet pursuing bright, predominately acoustic pop-rock with a funky overlay. It sounds fresh, but hardly new. (self-released)

At Hotel Utah Saloon (500 4th St., San Francisco) on November 7. 9 p.m., $8-$10


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