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Local Licks

This week, we review Karen Blixt, the Interchangeable Hearts, Miguel Migs, and the Morning Benders.

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Karen Blixt, Mad Hope. Rarely does an album escape unscathed from being dismissed as "all over the place." Bay Area jazz vocalist Karen Blixt turns the term on its head with a sophomore release surveying bop, Latin, standards, scat singing, and more with inexhaustible confidence and grace. (HiFli Records)

The Interchangeable Hearts, Lost. There's something here, but it's buried beneath a rough exterior. The Hearts formed in San Francisco via Craigslist ads last year and debut with six songs showcasing summery vocal melodies (a hint of Stevie Nicks) and simple, effective rhythms. What's missing is the magic between the lines. (Zeitgeist Rekords)

Miguel Migs, Those Things Remixed. Is it fair to review a remix album without hearing the original? Only when judging it on its own terms, and that's where Those Things Remixed excels. This is no blip-fest of one deejay trying to outdo the next. Instead, a wide range of collaborators including Crazy P, Alix Alvarez, and J-Boogie turn out a funky, tasteful batch of grooves. (Salted Music)

The Morning Benders, Talking Through Tin Cans. This Berkeley indie-pop band has racked up accolades across the country lately, and for good reason. Though Talking Through Tin Cans is the young quartet's first full-length, it feels fleshed-out and mature, irresistibly so, in the manner of the finest guitar-pop between the Beatles and the Shins. (Plus One Music) l

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