Friday, May 30, 2008

Your Daily Lick: Empty Rooms

Lacuna EP (self-released)

by Nate Seltenrich
Fri, May 30, 2008 at 1:09 PM

Empty Rooms' second E.P. is desperately seeking definition. Even for those who relish drone, it's tough to stay engaged — especially during post-rock centerpiece "Twenty," which takes eight minutes to go nowhere. Closer "We've Been Waiting for You," dream-pop with lithe vocals and an uplifting crescendo, hits the mark a tad too late.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Your Daily Lick: Markus James

Snakeskin Violin (Firenze Records)

by Nate Seltenrich
Thu, May 29, 2008 at 1:08 PM

Another entry in the blossoming "desert blues" scene, Snakeskin Violin finds Sebastopol's Markus James journeying to Mali for some old-fashioned cultural exchange. The results are inspiring if a tad unbalanced, with James' voice and guitar occasionally drowning out those of his collaborators.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Your Daily Lick: JRK & Jessica Cooke

JRK & Jessica Cooke (Wide Hive Records)

by Nate Seltenrich
Tue, May 27, 2008 at 1:20 PM

Jessica Cooke supplies vocals (though there aren't many) and JRK just about everything else on this album of predominately instrumental songs. The propulsive, heap-bobbing tracks never feel rushed, but at three to four minutes in length don't wander either, making for dynamic yet focused soundtrack music.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Your Daily Lick: Forest Sun

So Nice; Harlequin Goodnight (Painted Sun Records)

by Nate Seltenrich
Mon, May 26, 2008 at 1:19 PM

Mill Valley singer-songwriter (and new-age guru) Forest Sun went out of his way to release two albums on the same day. So Nice opens with Ben Harper/Jack Johnson photocopies, but enters more intriguing territory later on. Harlequin is a mellower set of contemplative, country-tinged work.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Your Daily Lick: A Modern Machine

A Modern Machine EP (Stereocore Records)

by Nate Seltenrich
Fri, May 23, 2008 at 1:18 PM

A three-track EP fit for Goldilocks: one track's hot, one cold, and one medium. Of course, when it comes to the sort of new-wave revival this San Francisco trio serves, hot is always best. That would be opener "You So Brightly Burn," with the Cure, Bauhaus, and Bloc Party all mixed up.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Your Daily Lick: Odd Nosdam

Pretty Swell Explode (Anticon Records)

by Nate Seltenrich
Thu, May 22, 2008 at 1:17 PM

Eight minutes pass before vocals arrive (via a remix of labelmate Thee More Shallows' "Freshman Thesis"), but Oakland producer Odd Nosdam does just fine without them. At every turn, his work is an homage to sound, and this collection of remixes, B-sides, and originals consistently delivers treats most would overlook or bumble.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Your Daily Lick: The Downfalls

Last Night (self-released)

by Nate Seltenrich
Wed, May 21, 2008 at 12:31 PM

One could probably get away with claiming the Downfalls sound like Weezer, Local H, and early Nada Surf, but better to level with the alt-rock nostalgists and admit this San Francisco band's mainstream sheen and general lack of edge qualify it for a broader, more forgiving audience.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Your Daily Lick: The Botticellis

Old Home Movies (Antenna Farm Records)

by Nate Seltenrich
Tue, May 20, 2008 at 12:30 PM

With roots reaching back to a Southern California kindergarten, a name derived from surf slang (it means "little barrel"), and a debut borne of four years of communal living in the Outer Richmond, the Botticellis seem bound for a well-worn California sound. That they achieve, tempered with Beatles worship and modest experimentation.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Your Daily Lick: Okay

Huggable Dust (Absolutely Kosher Records)

by Nate Seltenrich
Mon, May 19, 2008 at 12:29 PM

There's something profoundly mysterious about Marty Anderson's music. The Fremont native's third album as Okay passes an entire hour without fully revealing itself, yet puts out enough hooks to order another listen. Deranged yet twee vocals between Tom Waits and Mark Linkous wobble atop spot-on rhythm guitar and kaleidoscopic accompaniment.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Your Daily Lick: Lawrence Blatt

Fibonacci's Dream (Blue Pie Records)

by Nate Seltenrich
Fri, May 16, 2008 at 12:28 PM

San Francisco fingerpicking guitarist Lawrence Blatt composed the songs on his second album around patterns discovered by 13th-century mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci. Golden ratio or no, Blatt's spirited performance and technical proficiency speak for themselves.

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