Local Licks 

This week, we review Little Teeth, Jefferson Starship, Mark Applebaum, and Mal Sharpe's Big Money in Jazz Band.

Little Teeth, Child Bearing Man. Playful, chaotic 21st-century pop music à la Animal Collective and Broken Social Scene — with an emphasis on chaos. Child Bearing Man is willfully uneasy: a little rough, often noisy, occasionally harrowing, but underpinned by the simple joys of melody and rhythm. (Absolutely Kosher Records)

Jefferson Starship, Jefferson's Tree of Liberty. Don't let the name fool you into expecting some sort of "We Built This City" redux. Rather, this don't-call-it-a-comeback album is a collection of folk and traditional protest songs, including covers of Bob Dylan's "Chimes of Freedom" and Woody Guthrie's "Pastures of Plenty." Paul Kantner, David Freiberg, and even Grace Slick are on board. (The Lab Records)

Mark Applebaum, Sock Monkey. Fourteen-minute opener "Magnetic North" emanates creaks, drips, and lasers, courtesy of Applebaum's "mouseketier electroacoustic sound-sculpture." In the extensive liner notes, he stresses the importance of "playing" music like children instead of "performing" as adults. This distinction tells you all you can know about Sock Monkey without actually listening. (Innova Recordings)

Mal Sharpe's Big Money in Jazz Band, Firecracker Baby. A host of Bay Area musicians get together at Yoshi's to honor Louis Armstrong on the day of his birth, from special guests John Coppola and Roger Glenn to vocal jazz mainstay Faye Carol. Adept musicianship, intermittent clips of Louie in conversation, and warm-hearted renditions of old Armstrong favorites make it a keeper. (self-released)


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