Francesca Lee, The Pieces Left. Francesca Lee is a talented lady. In addition to her lovely vocals, she plays piano, acoustic guitar, synths, and Wurlitzer on The Pieces Left. This is a very personal album, with lyrics that ring true to life. The music is light, airy pop with a melancholy tone, delicate and cleverly arranged. Thoroughly lovely stuff. (self-released)
At Hotel Utah (500 4th St., San Francisco) on January 23. 9 p.m., $10
Ghost and the City, Ghost and the City. With deep, nicotine-inflected vocals and a tone that's deliberately dark, it's hard to avoid comparing Ghost and the City to Nick Cave. Which is always a compliment — this is an excellent album, pleasantly bitter and twisted. Throaty female backing vocals accent the mood perfectly; music is somber and bluesy with occasional moments of orchestration. Perfect for drinking to on a rainy day. (self-released)
At Slim's (333 11th St., San Francisco) on January 23. 8:30 p.m., $15-$18
Fleeting Trance, 17. Named for the number of tracks, 17 is classic folksy, bluesy Americana. What listeners might not expect is the occasional reggae influences that show up on some songs. The addition of reggae is a nice touch, and it fits well with the band's overall sound. Lyrics are entertainingly messed up.
At House of Shields (39 New Montgomery St., San Francisco) on January 23. 10 p.m., $5
Camaron Ochs, Heartforward. Camaron Ochs is an undiscovered local gem. With pretty vocals, charming lyrics, and lots of acoustic strumming, Heartforward is classic singer/songwriter stuff. But the sensibility is distinctly female, which is nice in a male-dominated field. It's not often that you hear a woman admit that she'd choose her guitar over her boyfriend. Charming and refreshingly honest.
At Red Devil Lounge (1695 Polk St., San Francisco) on January 23. 8 p.m., $10