Local Licks

This week, we review Marquis Melody, Gyan Riley, Scene of Action, Karen Armstrong, and Stevedood

Marquis Melody

Straight from the Heart (Skank So). Across 78 minutes (at least twenty too many), Marquis Melody’s warbling vocals waver in effectiveness, though the underpinning roots reggae never loses its groove. Recorded at Tuff Gong in Kingston, Jamaica.

Gyan Riley

Melismantra (Agyanamus Music). The virtuosic music of Berkeley-based, internationally recognized guitarist Gyan Riley flows between flamenco, jazz, raga, classical, and Satriani-esque shredding without so much as a hiccup.

Scene of Action

Scene of Action EP (Pop Smear). Straight outta Cal, Scene of Action’s angsty, Muse-ish sound needs time to lighten up and develop beyond its influences. Still, not bad for a debut EP.

Caren Armstrong

Everything (Wildplum Recordings). These sincere, middle-of-the-road country-tinged tunes from singer-songwriter Armstrong (and friends) neither offend nor particularly impress, but could be just the thing for the right time and place.


Source Domain (Hella Baked Tapes). A song- and beat-based sound collage sourced from original material (local musicians on upright bass, drums, violin, and electric guitar, plus Stevedood on djembe, synth, and a jar of mayonnaise) that remains listenable throughout.

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