Local Licks 

This week, we review Bart Davenport, Aram Danesh and the Super Human Crew, Aaron Novik, and Two Left Feet.

Bart Davenport, Palaces. The Honeycut frontman's fourth solo record couldn't be smoother, leaning on early-'70s soul like a golden crutch while surveying AM pop, Laurel Canyon psych-folk, and Lennon-like singer-songwriter ballads. Frequent sweet surprises and the playful dexterity of Davenport's voice keep an ethereal grip on the listener throughout. (Antenna Farm Records)

Aram Danesh and the Super Human Crew, The Grind. This sophomore effort, released on guitarist Aram Danesh's own Mammoth Entertainment, is a lively mix of hip-hop, rock, light funk, and reggae. Despite the low-impact, laid-back raps delivered by the band's four vocalists, the record can't escape its boisterous night-on-the-town vibe, giving girls and guys alike something to share over drinks. (Mammoth Entertainment)

Aaron Novik, The Samuel Suite/Dancing Into One. A split record that showcases the composition skills of local clarinetist and bandleader Aaron Novik. The Samuel Suite, a heartfelt tribute to Novik's grandfather, borrows Jewish scales to form Bach-style chorales. Dancing Into One was commissioned by Orange County's Saint Joseph Ballet and performed by San Francisco klezmer band the Yiddiots. (Evander Music)

Two Left Feet, Two Left Feet. Many young bands often make the mistake of cramming too much material onto an album. In the case of Concord quintet Two Left Feet, seventeen songs dilute an otherwise solid approach. More judicious selection would eliminate weaker tracks and lend some focus to this unrestrained overview of pop-punk, pop-rock, ska, and ironic cock-rock. (Skilletone Records)


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