Metal Mother, Bonfire Diaries.
Perhaps it's no accident that Sonoma County native Tara Tati says she's inspired "by the color black." Her music, after all, is insistently primal, based on stark, perfect-fourth harmonies and melodies that fulcrum on a single tonal center. Tati's voice is so languid and woozy that her lips might be permanently puckered — every note she intones sounds like a long, drawn-out oooooh. Still, Bonfire Diaries is lovely, with its droney melodies and thick patter of drums. (Post Primal)
A2 Dazki, Up to No Good.
Local rapper A2 Dazki might benefit from a producer with a slightly better command of ProTools — or whatever program he's using — if only to add a little high hat or keyboard to the bizarrely skeletal beats on this debut. But Dazki's rap cadence is seductive. At least, it's perfectly suited for slow jams, and for protracted vowel sounds (i.e., griiiiiiiind aaaaaaaaaall daaaaaaay). He's that rare artist who can intone a line like I'll be tearing up your guts, if you like it rough and sound totally sincere. (self-released)
Paul Iorio, Zip Code of the Moon.
Flaunting his best throat gargle on "(Stop the) Beer Hall Putsch," Paul Iorio channels both the spirit of black metal and the voice of that evil, poisonous spider who appeared in Jules Bass' animated version of The Hobbit. His orchestrations consist of a single acoustic guitar that may or may not have all of its strings intact. Someone turns a radio dial during the song "Hey Mr. DJ," in which Iorio name-checks KALX and KCRW. (self-released)
Belle Monroe & Her Brewglass Boys, Lonely Lonesome Day.
Apparently the real Belle Monroe is Pam Brandon, a bluegrass diva with a resonant, woody twang. The six members of her band split songwriting duties, but for the occasional cover — like their old-timey versions of Elvis Costello's "The Big Light" and Bob Dylan's "This Wheel's on Fire." "Big Light," in particular, gets transformed by the Brewglass Boys' dorky sense of humor. The album's thirteen tunes are upbeat and simple, but technically demanding. (self-released)
At Cafe du Nord (2170 Market St., San Francisco) on Saturday, April 2. 9 p.m., $12.
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