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Local Licks

This week, we review Jimbo Trout, Idiot Grins, David Maloney, and Chuck Steed.

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Jimbo Trout , Jam Along with Jimbo

You may have to access your inner child to appreciate nursery-rhyme singer Jimbo Trout, who kicks off his new album with a kazoo-sluiced ditty called "Ain't No Bugs on Me." (Like most of his songs, it basically consists of one line repeated over and over again.) Trout is a decent folk singer with a whole battery of instruments at his command, including harmonica and ukulele. (Fishwrap Records)

Idiot Grins, Quarry

Songwriting is clearly this zydeco-rockish band's forte, given that each of its lyric sheets amounts to a self-contained vignette. "Spank Bank" is about capturing a mental photograph of a gorgeous but disinterested woman, and storing it — for, uh, personal use. "Nancy Drew" spawned from a favorite female investigator whose leggy frame graced the covers of so many girl detective novels in the 1960s. Often drawn out to the point of tedium, the songs are charming but torpid. (self-released)

David Maloney, One Day More

If you're a sweet-faced, jowly, bespectacled old man with a deferential singing voice and a penchant for gooey sentiments, then a small sliver of the folk music world could be your oyster. David Maloney is one in a long lineage of such men who choose to start their albums with a long, sappy love ballad. He also includes an homage to Spalding Gray and a Luddite's lament about networked culture. (Pelican Records)

Chuck Steed , River Rock

Zydeco-flavored rock must be enjoying some kind of renaissance in the East Bay, because this is the third such album that's come over the transom this week, not counting Jimbo Trout's vaguely zydeco-flavored collection of kids' songs. Steed's album is also one of the stronger offerings, not only because he leads a capable group of musicians (his quartet includes bass, drum, and Hammond B3), but also because he's a persuasive singer, if not an extraordinary one. (Shabby Sheik Records)

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