Local Licks 

This week we review Smooth Toad, Meklit & Quinn, Ugly Winner, and Tigon.

Smooth Toad, Long Old Road. The members of country-blues band Smooth Toad certainly have the right sentiment. I feel like a ghost who's draggin' this life behind, Bob Ernst growls on the album's impassioned opener. But it's not just life he's draggin' behind — many of the songs have a shambling rhythm, owing to Ernst's half-hearted pitter-patter on what must be one fragile percussion instrument. (self-released)

Meklit Hadero & Quinn DeVeaux, Meklit & Quinn. Singer-songwriter Meklit Hadero is an indefatigable launcher of projects, most of them involving the local jazz or world music communities. Her latest with singer Quinn DeVeaux features folksy versions of pop songs, including Stevie Wonder's "I Was Made to Love Her," which they render as a languid funk ballad. Their blues-driven version of MGMT's pop track "Electric Feel" is wonderful. (Porto Franco Records)

Ugly Winner, Inside Your Wave. Many of Ugly Winner's song titles sound like inside jokes, but the band doesn't suffer for lack of songcraft. "Perfect Nothing" has a surprising, if repetitive, rhythm, based on a triplet figure. "TCBAHBS" — an acronym for the opening lyric, This could be a heartbreak song — is a solid surf ballad, with a dry, jangly guitar riff. The six-eight meter of "These Hands They Shake" enhances the song's sharp harmonies. (20 Sided Records)

At Hemlock Tavern (1131 Polk St., San Francisco) on Thursday, Aug. 30. 9 p.m., $6

Tigon, Infinite Teeth. This local noise rock quintet subscribes to the notion that no lyric should be sung when it can be shouted. And its music follows suit — all feedback-addled guitars and thudding drumbeats and murky guitar chords. It's ferocious. (The Ghost Is Clear Records)

At SUB-Mission Art Space (2183 Mission St., SF) on Saturday, Aug. 11. 8 p.m., $7


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