Local Licks 

This week, we review the Jonah Kit, Caravan, Magic Me, and Spencer Day.

The Jonah Kit, American Songbag. Jonah Watchman sounds a bit like Bob Dylan — in the sense that he's almost always off-key. Instead of mumbling, Watchman tells his everyman tales with Broadway spunk in a high-pitch croon. Acoustic guitar, upright bass, and drums play their part, but even if it's hard to listen to some of his vocals, they so dominate the spectrum it's harder to tune them out. (Fugitive Kind)

Caravan, Dig Dem Roots. Berkeley's Caravan positions itself for the summer festival circuit with this jam-friendly ode to good times and feel-good moves. Grounded in bluegrass and acoustic folk-rock with a pinch of Eastern zest, the quartet's tunes feel well worn even the first time around. Caravan will need to tighten up if it hopes to shine live, but the vibe is right. (self-released)

Magic Me, EP1 & EP2. Oakland band Magic Me's creatively named first two EPs embark from Interpol-esque post-punk on a journey to carve their own sound. EP1's driving opening track, "Soft Cases," is eager to reach its conclusion yet sounds beautiful all the way there. EP2 doesn't offer anything quite as arresting, but maintains a high level of musicianship and vision. (self-released)

Spencer Day, Vagabond. Sure it's a bit slow, but that's part of the appeal. You can't very well get romantic with an overeager singer making a fuss in the background. Day's silken voice carries just the right amount of restraint, exhibiting a very human attention to detail at crescendos and valleys alike. Guitar, violin, drums, Day's piano, and more largely stay out of the way. (Yonas Media)

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