Friday, July 31, 2009

Your Daily Lick: Carol Denney

The Riley Boys (Solid Frog Productions)

by Nate Seltenrich
Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 4:44 PM

Carol Denney's voice stands front and center throughout all eighteen songs and 67 minutes. For those who take comfort in the erstwhile Berkeley activist's audacious, stage-friendly folk style, this fact may be a godsend. Yet for those with whom her self-aware expertise, trebly tones, and drawn-out, wavering syllables don't sit well, it could be a real drag.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"Lightweight" Was Just the Beginning

by Nate Seltenrich
Tue, Jul 28, 2009 at 2:00 PM

Our July 15 Best Of issue awarded the word "lightweight" with honors for "Best New Slang Word." But as Berkeley rapper Rafael Casal teaches us, there are 99 more Bay Area slang words to learn. Better get started.

Your Daily Lick: Eliyahu & the Qadim Ensemble

Eastern Wind (Embarka Records)

by Nate Seltenrich
Tue, Jul 28, 2009 at 12:46 PM

Nothing quite reaches the heights of the opening track, which matches an innovative stop-start technique with the more traditional Middle Eastern rhythms the San Francisco band espouses throughout the remainder. Its songs, performed on traditional flute, fiddle, lute, and percussion, flow like ancient poetry - many, in fact, are based upon folk songs and devotional prayers from the region.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Your Daily Lick: The Gun and Doll Show

American Radio Two (self-released)

by Nate Seltenrich
Mon, Jul 27, 2009 at 12:45 PM

The subject matter is consistently odd (Would you like to see it?/The power of a woman/What shall we do?/Make love, make love, make love, make love), but this accomplished and adept San Francisco roots-rock group sure knows how to sell songs like "Cowboy Lingerie Store" and "Jungle Ho." It's just how they roll. They've embraced their kookiness, and you should too.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Your Daily Lick: Sholi

Sholi (Quarterstick Records)

by Nate Seltenrich
Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 12:44 PM

Indie rock is a strange beast. On one hand, it's as free and open as it wants to be; on the other, it's restrained by the rock pedigree. In Sholi's hands, both sides of the coin come into play. Its music reaches intriguing experimental territory and explores a vaguely Eastern influence, but the standard guitar-bass-drums triad seems to stifle the band's expression.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Your Daily Lick: Bob Harp

Collecting Dust (self-released)

by Nate Seltenrich
Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 12:44 PM

The first thing that registers about Bob Harp's second album is how evocative it feels, how true it sounds - as if his guitar and harmonica really have collected dust for decades. The effect is but an illusion (he's a young guy; his songs are new), but the ploy is forgiven as his tunes speak for themselves. If not directly, they muse affectionately on America, folk, the country, and the West.

At Speisekammer (2424 Lincoln Ave., Alameda) on Aug. 6. 8:30 p.m., free
At Rasputin Music (2401 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley) on Aug. 9. 1 p.m., free

Finally! Art & Soul Lineup Announced

by Nate Seltenrich
Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 12:07 PM

Oakland's ninth annual Art & Soul Festival, taking place in Downtown Oakland on August 15 and 16, finally has a lineup. We won't complain that it took them until three weeks before the festival to announce this. We also won't complain that we're slightly underwhelmed by who they ended up booking, although some of the acts excite us. We'll just give you the names: Shawn Colvin, the Bodeans, Will Downing, Bobby Caldwell, Mo'Fone, Ramena Vieira, and Walter Hawkins. And more, they promise. The festival, which also features art, dancing, and food, runs from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost $10 per day. Foibles aside, let's hope it's a success; the more good vibes in downtown Oakland these days, the better.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Your Daily Lick: Mike P.

Whipped Cream (Meshewaa Records)

by Nate Seltenrich
Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 2:50 PM

First things first: the record sleeve is adorned with close-up, cropped photos of booties ("Cupcake$") and breasts ("Cookie$"). Mike P.'s gritty, urban, but not quite gangsta hip-hop can be surprisingly tuneful, with help from his pals Andre Nickatina ("Btch Pt. 2"), Equipto and San Quinn ("Hella Records"), and Krushadelic ("Valley of Kingz"). Fillmoe Frisco represent, as it were.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Your Daily Lick: James and Evander

Awkward Turtle EP (500Records)

by Nate Seltenrich
Tue, Jul 21, 2009 at 2:49 PM

With a name like Awkward Turtle, it can be just one thing: cutesy, charming, unabashedly twee indie-pop. Something like the Postal Service meets Belle and Sebastian. But Oakland duo James and Evander subverts expectations just enough to make its sleepy electro-pop feel a bit dark. Not a word is spoken among the EP's 22 minutes, contributing to its ethereal moodiness.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Your Daily Lick: Pollux

For the Ghost (self-released)

by Nate Seltenrich
Mon, Jul 20, 2009 at 2:48 PM

Imagine Jeff Buckley fronting a late-Nineties alternative rock band - from Soundgarden's catharsis to Radiohead's contemplation - and you're at least halfway there. This is conveyed with patience and utmost sincerity, from Carey Head's Buckley-esque howl to the band's direct yet emotional performance. Pollux's music would make a fine blanket for a cloudy day.

At Annie's Social Club (917 Folsom St., San Francisco) on July 22. 8 p.m., $5

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