Local Licks 

This week we review Rondo Brothers, Hawney Troof, Cold Grave, and Audiopharmacy.

Rondo Brothers, The Foreign Globester. The Foreign Globester is a fun album. Mostly hip-hop, but there are hints of rap and funk blended into the mix. Lyrics are witty and sharp, beats are tight, and there are even some hints of techno. With a hilarious tourist theme (check out the band's web page for details), it's a smooth, accomplished release, ideal for the dance floor or the bar. (The Oglio Entertainment Group)

Hawney Troof, Daggers at the Moon. Hawney Troof is a weird band. It is sort of an indie/electronic hybrid, with occasional hints of classic video-game music (although the band members somewhat inexplicably describe themselves as Jpop/Kpop). It's highly style, and therefore not for everyone. But it's more listenable than most experimental music. The vocals are pleasantly histrionic, and there's enough of a pop sensibility to lend it some mainstream appeal. (Retard Disco)

Cold Grave, Lycanthrope. This is fairly standard black metal. It's not bad — actually it's pretty good — it's just not particularly original. Lycanthrope is solid and competent, though: Growly vocals, aggressive riffing, pounding drums. The werewolf theme may help these guys find an audience among harder-edged goths, and the overall vibe is loud and powerful enough that they'd probably sound great live. The album grows on you. (Graveyard Records)

At Oakland Metro (630 3rd St., Oakland) on Saturday, July 3. 6:30 p.m., $17-$20

Audiopharmacy, U Forgot About Us. Cool and sophisticated, Audiopharmacy is a great band. U Forgot About Us is a hip-hop album, but there are a few unexpected touches. "Never Follow" has hints of Portishead, "Meditation I" has a clear reggae beat, and the background music on "Mama" is almost Indian. There are a lot of elements in play on this album, but it's never messy. Everything comes together seamlessly, producing a sound that's layered and complex. (self-released)


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