Local Licks 

This week, we review Shotgun Wedding Quintet, Finest Dearest, Warren Teagarden, and TOPR.

The Shotgun Wedding Quintet, The Shotgun Wedding Quintet. You don't become one of the Bay Area's best live outfits by lying back and playing cool. A jazz/hip-hop hybrid wasn't enough for the Shotgun Wedding Quintet, so they threw rock, funk, and some other stuff in too. The lyrics can be irritatingly obvious, but at least they're intelligible. (Jazz Mafia)

Finest Dearest, Finest Dearest. It often seems like a cop-out to compare female-fronted rock bands to other female-fronted rock bands. But in this case, omitting names like Pretty Girls Make Graves (the sharp-edged rhythms), the Cranberries (the vocals, sans accent and soaring pitches), and Sleater-Kinney (the warm-hearted garage-rock aesthetic) feels more evasive than helpful. (Bloodtown Records)

Warren Teagarden, Across the San Joaquin. Somewhere between singer-songwriter DIY and scrappy indie rock lies San Francisco's Warren Teagarden, who gussies up pretty basic solo pieces with bass, heavy-handed rock drums, and two guitars (fuzzed-out rhythm plus clean, lightly reverbed lead). Goofball lyrics round the whole thing off nicely. (self-released)

TOPR, The Marathon of Shame. Yeah, we get it: all hip-hop's whack but yours, and all MCs suck but you. TOPR's flow is bold and distinct. DJ Quest and Dick Nasty's beats, samples, and production are bright-eyed and engaging. But the lyrics too often rely on clichéd posturing, deadening the impact of an otherwise impressive effort. (2B1 Records) 


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