Local Licks 

This week, we review Odd Nosdam, A Modern Machine, Forest Sun, and JRK & Jessica Cooke.

Odd Nosdam, Pretty Swell Explode. 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. (Anticon Records).

A Modern Machine, A Modern Machine EP. 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. (Stereocore Records).

Forest Sun, So Nice; Harlequin Goodnight. 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. (Painted Sun Records).

JRK & Jessica Cooke, JRK & Jessica Cooke. Jessica Cooke supplies vocals (though not 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. (Wide Hive Records)


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