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Local Licks

This week, we review Yassou Benedict, O-naje, and The Sam Chase.

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Yassou Benedict, In Fits In Dreams. Yassou Benedict's music isn't quite dream pop, but its female vocalists lend a romantic, ethereal vibe to its straightforward sound. On In Fits In Dreams, the quartet uses drum machines, melodic guitar builds, and lush synths to create dramatic, slightly brooding pop ballads. Vocalist Lilie Bytheway Hoy's feathery, high-pitched voice is perfect for this genre, and guest vocalist Melissa Auf der Maur (formerly of Hole) is equally compelling. The only WTF moment happens during the final track, "Last Cicada," when a male voice comes from out of nowhere with a rap-rock verse that kills the mood. (Be Easy Baby)

At Milk Bar (1840 Haight St., San Francisco) on Friday, July 26. 8:30 p.m., $10. MilkSF.com

O-naje, The EP. O-naje raps sharply over Nineties-style beats and R&B samples on his latest, The EP. The nostalgia trip kicks off with "Familiar Faces," in which O-naje spits urgently over a bouncing, breezy beat as a looped, lo-fi cover of Aretha Franklin's "Wonderful" churns in the background. The sexy rap "Give Me a Show" marks a surprising turn for the spiritual artist, but O-naje stays respectful. On "The Motions," the rapper returns to one of his usual subjects, faith in God, while the jazzy, soulful "The Games" details his struggle for success. (self-released)

The Sam Chase, Will Never Die. The punk-turned-folk artist Sam Chase explores dark, personal themes on Will Never Die. His eight-piece band's delicate, passionate playing complements Chase's emotional songwriting. Opener "I Sold My Soul to the City" balances tightly wound acoustic folk with dramatic swells of foot-stomping country. Three anthemic, rambling ballads exceed the five-minute mark, while other stripped-down, shorter songs showcase Chase's twangy, weathered vocal style, which is a bit of an acquired taste. (self-released)

At Bottom of the Hill (1233 17th St., San Francisco) on Tuesday, July 30. 9 p.m., $10. BottomoftheHill.com

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