Local Licks

The Sounds of the Bay Area

Boy In the Bubble

Songs from the City on the Sun(Red Cat Records).

Frontman and sole songwriter Josh Seidenfeld delivers a fine surprise. Boy in the Bubble’s distillation of glam, vintage pop, and ’70s adult-oriented rock delivers much more than one could rightly ask of the group, plus songs that speak loudly for themselves.

Sukhawat Ali Khan

Shukriya (Jah Nur Music).

Representing the family lineage of the 600-year-old Sham Chorasi school of traditional Indian music, Bay Area resident Sukhawat Ali Khan directs his own ensemble for the first time on this beautiful collection of classical raga instrumentation and Sufi Qawwali singing.

Cult of Sue Todd

Not E.P. (self-released).

Naysayers who grumble there’s nothing new under the sun in indie rock may be emboldened by this one: familiar, frustrated, loud/soft dynamics from a trio whose name sounds inescapably familiar.


Ausfegen: Dedicated to Joseph Beuys (Balance Point Acoustics).

Avant-garde improvisation? Free jazz? Future music? Leading Bay Area experimentalists Damon Smith (double basses) and Kristian Aspelin (guitar, broom) team up with two like-minded folks from Chicago to make music that doesn’t quite sound like music.

The Morning Line

Stay My Satellite (self-released).

An album to reset that inner American rock ‘n’ roll clock — to rediscover its essence beneath 21st-century music industry fuss. Elvis Costello and John Hiatt can now safely fade away.

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