Local Licks 

This week we review The Shants, Calafia, Bruce Kaphan, and Turks.

The Shants, Russian River Songs. There's an odd, echoey, melancholy sound to Russian River Songs. Which isn't a bad thing — it's excellent music to mope to. With lovely blues guitar and some fantastic songwriting, The Shants make deceptively simple music, a blues/country/rock hybrid that's soothing to a troubled mind. Skip Allums' gentle, pretty vocals and an overall Southern vibe seal the deal. (self-released)

At Bottom of the Hill (1233 17th St., San Francisco) on June 22. 8:30 p.m., $8

Calafia, Sacred Profanities. Sacred Profanities contains a series of hilarious odes to the joys of indulgence in recreational substances, along with general low-grade bad behavior. Laments about aging mix with stories of getting all dressed up in one's best cowboy finery to go to the bar. It's mostly country with occasional hints of honky-tonk and blues. Opener "Sheets to the Wind" is the best track on the album. (self-released)

At Beckett's (2271 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) on June 18. 10 p.m., free

Bruce Kaphan, Hybrid. Weird, ambient, instrumental release from this long-time producer/engineer/musician. There's a distinct hint of Ry Cooder here on some tracks, as well as some traces of Brian Eno. It's not what you'd call radio friendly, but it doesn't need to be — it's appealing in a trippy sort of way if you like your music pretty and experimental. (Wiggling Air Records)

Turks, Songs of War and Crisis. A real, honest-to-God punk album? It's about time. Turks are loud and pissed off and quite openly political. The vocals are raw and screamy, there's not much in the way of production (as it should be for a punk band), and there are some pleasantly ominous guitar riffs. There's even a hint of Soundgarden in there on Psychogenic Fugue. Love it. (self-released)

At Uptown (1928 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) on June 17. 9 p.m., $8

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