Local Licks 

This week, we review Hawnay Troof, momu, Brian Kelly, and Painted Bird.

Hawnay Troof, Islands of Ayle. How excellent indeed when experimental music is also entirely listenable. That's the beauty of Oakland electro-agitator Hawnay (née Vice Cooler) Troof's second album, which applies a left-field electronica sensibility to the sort of gritty, urban dance-pop that's made a resurgence around here recently. Although nothing short of cutting-edge, Islands sounds fantastic. (Southern Records)

momu, Momentum. San Francisco's thriving electronic scene can seem out-of-reach to fans unwilling or unable to make a second home at the clubs. Progressive breaks innovators JD Moyer and Mark Musselman bridge the gap by complementing their weekly experimental breakbeat show with this headphone-worthy and pop-friendly collection of original songs. (Loöq Records)

Brian Kelly, Afterplay. Brian Kelly's piano-based instrumental music has a whiff of new age, but don't hold that against it. Throughout Afterplay, the swing and complexity of melodic jazz and the studio precision of Steely Dan counteract any inherent wishy-washiness. Sax, flute, trumpet, trombone, and more help Kelly's quiet compositions make a confident statement. (SkyLight Music)

Painted Bird, Always on Time and Never Light EP. While Painted Bird's second EP is available for free on MySpace, it sounds best on the limited-edition extra-heavy vinyl the band issued to complement its all-analog recording by Tim Green's Louder Studios. The San Francisco duo plays sludgy math-punk songs with spoken lyrics — though at about 45 seconds each, they're more like demos. (RFC Records)


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