Local Licks 

This week, we review As A People, the Melatones, Stephanie Crawford, and Collisionville.

As A People, Carpet Bomb Ballet. Adam Yas can sound a bit like Thom Yorke, but his tortured, operatic style fits well with As A People's unsettled alternative rock: guitar lines that rise and fall like mercury with the songs' shifting dispositions; a dynamic rhythm section that never lets the bottom fall out; and sinister, almost insidious melodies in constant supply. (Umpteenth Records)

The Melatones, Go Like So. The Melatones formed in 1996 and this is their first album, meaning they're either perfectionists or procrastinators. The East Bay band says it's finally captured its true sound, the essence of which is modern, off-kilter classic rock that makes no secret of its myriad influences. Not perfect, but not lazy either. (self-released)

Stephanie Crawford, The Real Thing. Only a plump, lumbering bassline accompanies East Bay jazz singer Stephanie Crawford and her ethereal, breezily sweet vocals on the opening track, "Devil May Care," lending an air of the unusual to this batch of songs recorded years ago in Paris. From there she moves toward more traditional vocal jazz, but not without rare emotion and sophistication. (StephFord Disques)

Collisionville, I Spied a Spider. Frontman Stephen Pride hasn't forgotten indie rock icons like Pavement, the Replacements, and Hüsker Dü. But as Dinosaur Jr. and Built to Spill taught us, an unhinged guitar is nothing without a sturdy song. Pride's range extends to country and blues, and a line like I'm not looking for a paradise, just a cleaner jail proves he means it. (Booplet Records)


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