Local Licks

This week we review El4D, Uzi Rash, The Heel Draggers, and Hurry Up Shotgun.

El4D, Fantastic Psychedelic EP

Local producer Elad Allweil (aka El4D) characterizes his artistic output as “diffused electronic music,” a genre opaque enough to require a footnote in every promotional bio. To an outsider, though, it sounds pretty cool — plumped with strange instruments and odd samples. The pleasure lies more in following El4D’s muse than in listening to his melodies proper (they’re purposefully amelodic). But that’s okay. (self-released)

Uzi Rash, I Was 30 in 2012

Yowly vocals and brute, buzzsaw guitar riffs are what give this group all its character, although the electric organ lines are a nice touch, too. And if you can’t decipher any of the lyrics — other than in those delicious moments when vocalist M. Nordile spits out the word “jerk” — don’t despair. In fact, you can think of Uzi Rash as more of an idea than a concrete thing, since the lineup keeps changing. (Volar Records)

At 1234 Go! Records (423 40th St., Oakland) on Wednesday, Jan. 11. 7 p.m., $5.

The Heel Draggers, Out My Door

Although this album replicates the Bob Wills era of western swing so perfectly that you’d think it had been exhumed from your grandparents’ attic, it’s actually a thoroughly new product. In fact, more than half the tunes are originals by the six members of The Heel Draggers, who appear to divide their compositional labor about equally. But you’d never know: Everything from the fiddle to the Dixieland grooves to the mildly chiding lyrics (“Cheatin’ on Your Baby”) harks to a bygone era. (self-released)

Hurry Up Shotgun, Hurry Up Shotgun

This Oakland power trio cites fear of the modern world as a primary source of inspiration, and the three members have designed their music accordingly. The songs are dry and brittle, with fast, two-or-three-chord riffs that have the same hammering force of a protest chant — or a blunt instrument. It seems the band’s lyrics are as much about self-flagellation as they are about populist rage, as evidenced in the song “Swim.” (self-released)


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