Mark Abel, The Dream Gallery
"Marriage of classical and rock" isn't necessarily the best way to sell yourself. But this album, packed with elaborate, painterly compositions and lustrous opera vocals, is definitely a tour de force. The lyrics proffer detailed, wistful memories associated with various California cities: We love the hooomeless down on Teeeeeeleeeegraaaaph. (Delos Productions)
Howell Devine, Delta Grooves
Rough, twangy guitar and flinty washboard create the scaffolding for this country band. The melodies are a little barren, but the rhythm section manages to create a deep-pocket groove on every song — particularly when vocalist Howell Devine whips out his harmonica. Howell's vocals are the band's weakest link, but the instrumentals are great. (Sparta Records)At Speisekammer (2424 Lincoln Ave., Alameda) on Friday, Mar. 30. 8:30 p.m., free.
Bang Data, La Sopa
Bang Data is proving that artful combinations of hip-hop and Latin music are still viable, danceable, and widely appealing. About 80 percent of the lyrics on the group's new album are in Spanish, and most of the rhythms are poached from meringue, cumbia, and son. Deuce Eclipse is a nimble rapper. (self-released)
Bayonics, Mission Statement
For a nine-person funk band, Bayonics manages to sound remarkably clean. The horn parts are so crisp they could almost be sampled; the rubber-band bass lines and snappy drum grooves accurately replicate Seventies funk; the band's opening track, "Wheels Keep Turning" filches its vamp from Curtis Mayfield's "Diamond in the Back." And the band veers from straight-ahead funk to Latin, since "Wheels" is followed by a conga-driven salsa track, "Sigue." (self-released)At 330 Ritch (330 Ritch St., San Francisco) on Saturday, Mar. 31. 10 p.m.
Seven Days - April 21, 2:12 PM
Seven Days - April 20, 2:30 PM
Culture Spy - April 20, 9:52 AM
Seven Days - April 18, 6:25 PM
Seven Days - April 18, 4:35 PM