Local Licks

This week we review Carta, Jesse Grant, Monica Pasqual, and Renee Harcourt.

Carta, An Index of Birds. An Index of Birds is weird, a bit trippy, and kind of awesome. With a number of songs that are entirely instrumental, it won’t appeal to everyone, but if you like gentle, experimental rock, this may be right up your alley. The few songs with vocals are equally lovely, with a haunting, distinctive tone. (Silber Records)

At Hotel Utah (500 4th St., San Francisco) on April 9. 9 p.m., $10

Jesse Grant, Pigeonholed. Like a New York bar band gene-spliced with the Pogues, Jesse Grant is boozy, slightly obnoxious but in an endearing way, old-school bluesy rock. In an age of pre-fab emo/screamo bands and self-conscious hipsterism, Pigeonholed is a welcome little reminder that things weren’t always like this. (self-released)

At Epicenter Cafe (764 Harrison St., San Francisco) on April 9. 7 p.m., free

Monica Pasqual, This Cold Desire. Monica Pasqual may already be familiar to some locals as part of Blame Sally. Solo her sweet, clear voice dominates an album full of dreamy pop with some distinct Gallic and Spanish touches. This Cold Desire is in the same vein as Sarah McLachlan’s work — acoustic pop/rock with a distinctly feminine sensibility. It’s beautiful stuff. (Ninth Street Opus)

At Yoshi’s (510 Embarcadero West, Oakland) on April 7. 8 p.m., $18

Renee Harcourt, Brilliant Addiction. Bluesier than her Blame Sally bandmate Pasqual’s solo debut, Brillant Addiction nonetheless shares certain stylistic similarities. Moments of dreamy pop are interspersed with more rock-like segments, all pulled together by Harcourt’s vocals, which are harder-edged and more bluesy than Pasqual’s. There are some country influences here too, creating an overall unique sound. (Ninth Street Opus)

At Yoshi’s (510 Embarcadero West, Oakland) on April 7. 8 p.m., $18

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