Local Licks

This week, we review The Mother Hips, Trails and Ways, and Cool Ghouls.

The Mother Hips, Behind Beyond

The Mother Hips calls its sound “California Soul,” but it’s mostly a rehash of the country-tinged, mildly psychedelic folk popularized by The Eagles and The Doobie Brothers. On its eighth studio album, Behind Beyond, the band blends twangy guitar melodies with soft-rock vocal harmonies, and lyrics about freewheeling life on the road. Most tracks would fit perfectly into classic-rock radio rotation. (Mother Hips Records)

At Outside Lands (Golden Gate Park, San Francisco) on Saturday, Aug. 10. Noon, $105, $249.50. SFOutsideLands.com 

Trails and Ways, Trilingual EP

The handclaps and snaps that dominate Trails and Ways’ Trilingual evoke flamenco. And while the EP is exceedingly graceful, it’s more head-bobbing than dancey. Opener “Como Te Vas” is catchy and upbeat, but loses steam when a Spanish-guitar solo kicks in. The tropical rhythms and dreamy vocal harmonies on “Nunca” are more straightforward pop. Standout track “Tereza” interweaves synth and guitar into a moody melody that’s reminiscent of The xx, except for a light warmth lent by Emma Oppen’s vocals. (Non-Market Records)

Cool Ghouls, Cool Ghouls

In press materials, The Fresh & Onlys’ Tim Cohen proclaimed that Cool Ghouls is “not a retro act,” probably out of fear that its self-titled debut album, which he recorded in his home, could blend into the garage-rock fray. He’s right: The ten songs on Cool Ghouls are varied and rich, even though they’re clearly influenced by lo-fi Sixties rock. The bluesy track “The Barber” is loose but urgent, with the pop sensibility of swinging London. “Witch’s Game,” on the other hand, opens with a brooding drumbeat and distorted guitar, but breaks into a stomping, screamer of a psychedelic jam. There’s also doo-wop, country, soul, and even a hippie-ish ode to weed. (Empty Cellar Records)

At Phono del Sol (Potrero del Sol Park, San Francisco) on Saturday, July 13. 11:30 a.m., $20, $25. PhonoDelSol.com 


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