Local Licks

This week we review Grex, Turtle Island Quartet, Joel Streeter, and Aima the Dreamer.

Grex, Live at Home. Save for one vocal overdub, collaborators Karl A.D. Evangelista and M. Rei Scampavia opted to record their album live. As a duo, they’re low-budget but ambitious, quoting Monk and reinterpreting Johnny Mercer’s “Autumn Leaves” with crumbly electric guitar and choppy keyboard. The songs are thin but clean, and sound prettiest when they’re deliberately un-pretty. (self)

Aima the Dreamer, Mixtape Featuring J-Boogie. Aima’s sultry voice has always outpaced her lyrics, but she’s matured over the years. Her polished new mixtape features a bevy of guests over 22 tracks blended by producer J-Boogie. Aima brings femininity and tenderness to hip-hop, giving each word a unique phonetic shape. (self)

At The Layover (1517 Franklin St., Oakland) on September 12. 2 p.m., free

Joel Streeter, Matador. In his second album as a leader, San Francisco rocker Joel Streeter got more ambitious, commanding a large battery of instruments (Hammond, mellotron, strings, Liberty Carillon, horns) and some high-profile backup. His songs are tense, heavily orchestrated walls-of-sound. Streeter sings typical rock-crooner fare (love and love lost). “I’ll Have You Back” and “Molly” are beautiful. (self)

At Rickshaw Stop (155 Fell St., San Francisco) on September 8. 8 p.m., $10

Turtle Island Quartet, Have You Ever Been…? Fifteen-year-old, Peninsula-based jazz string quartet Turtle Island often scavenges old material — from sources as varied as John Coltrane, Eric Clapton, and Robert Johnson. Now it adds Jimi Hendrix to the catalog with rich interpretations of “Voodoo Child,” “Hey Joe,” and “All Along the Watchtower.” Also packed with originals from bandleader David Balakrishnan, Have You Ever Been …? bristles with detail. (Telarc)

At Freight & Salvage (2020 Addison St., Berkeley) on August 29. 8 p.m., $24.50

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