Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Your Daily Lick: Doctor Sparkles

Monkey See Monkey Doo (self-released)

by Nate Seltenrich
Wed, Jan 14, 2009 at 10:04 AM

You gotta wonder about an album bookended by "The Golden Age of Swing" and "Flinging Poo at the Zoo." Doctor Sparkles himself lands somewhere in between, masquerading on the sleeve in a sequined black jacket, oversize red top hat, red eyeliner, and tie-dye T-shirt. This all detracts only slightly from his child-friendly, jungle-themed swing revival.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Your Daily Lick: Bat Makumba

Boteco (Bat Makumba Records)

by Nate Seltenrich
Tue, Jan 13, 2009 at 10:03 AM

This San Francisco trio takes Latin fusion back to the edge, reinventing Brazil minute-by-minute and injecting samba with rock and funk experimentalism. Stroll through their songs on Carl Rembe's fat basslines, tiptoe atop Emilio Benevides' sparkling percussion, or simply absorb the universal exuberance of Alex Köberle's Portuguese vocals.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Your Daily Lick: Ken Ekool

You're Never Satisfied (self-released)

by Nate Seltenrich
Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 9:59 AM

Self-proclaimed "hip OG" Ken Ekool wants us to know he's beyond the slick scheming of his younger contemporaries: I don't need another booty call/I need a full-time lover, gotta have it all. The Oakland resident's R&B style is typical but endearing: drum claps, keyboards, funky basslines, earnest vocals. Ekool wrote, performed, and produced.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Your Daily Lick: Stuart Rosh & the Geniuses

Fundamental (Winged Flight Records)

by Nate Seltenrich
Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 9:58 AM

Charming tales about decaffeinated coffee, golf course foibles, five-dollar shoes, picking up chicks at the library, and more - all set to peppy, horn-laden cabaret grounded in blues and '40s and '50s vocal jazz - make Stuart Rosh's fourth album an unexpected and undeniable treat. Across all twelve tracks, he and his band never lose their groove.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Your Daily Lick: Saul Kaye

Jewish Blues Volume 1 Live! (Cool Water Records)

by Nate Seltenrich
Wed, Jan 7, 2009 at 3:53 PM

Much as Matisyahu employs reggae memes to express Jewish ideologies, El Sobrante's Saul Kaye takes a so-obvious-it's-brilliant turn by using blues music to tell Old Testament tales. The two concepts fit together like the teeth of a zipper on this vibrant live recording, with a backing band that muscles emotion into Kaye's narrative originals.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Your Daily Lick: The Karma Bandit

Howdy Cloud EP (self-released)

by Nate Seltenrich
Tue, Jan 6, 2009 at 3:51 PM

Despite sounding like they were recorded into a $10 tape recorder, the Karma Bandit's songs aren't half-bad. It's just one man (a former cabbie, belting out some surprisingly lucid lyrics) and his guitar (acoustic, roughly picked and strummed) on these five folksy tracks. Perfection is for whiners, and sometime amateurs can teach the pros.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Your Daily Lick: Tracy Cruz

Feel'osophy (Ivory Sky Productions)

by Nate Seltenrich
Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 3:50 PM

Tracy Cruz's voice isn't a perfect instrument, but it possesses a resonance that helps her communicate with uncommon grace. Cruz also contributes guitar and songwriting to this strong soul debut, produced by her husband. You can take me wherever you want to go/In your car, in your home, in your stereo, she allows in "Let Me Sing," and it's not a bad proposition.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Your Daily Lick: Loren Davidson

Every Day's a Holiday (self-released)

by Nate Seltenrich
Fri, Jan 2, 2009 at 3:48 PM

Even Jimmy Buffett is subtler than Davidson and his steel drum shtick, which boils down to this line from the title track: Every day's a holiday/Taking work and making it play. "Going Coastal," "Mental Health Day," and "I Need a Weekend" bluntly aspire to trade the drudgery of office life for a day or two in the tropics. Wouldn't it be nice?

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