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Local Licks

This week we review Social Studies, Half-Handed Cloud, Sylvi Alli, and Brass Menazeri.

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Social Studies, Wind Up Wooden Heart. A lovely little slice of pretty indie pop from Social Studies. Wind Up Wooden Heart is a bit twee, but in a cute way. Singer Natalia Rogovin has a pretty voice, sweet and almost childlike, and the whole album has a dreamy feel to it, emphasized by the heavy use of what sounds like a first generation Casio keyboard. There are also some interesting folk notes that add an almost haunted air to the album. (Antenna Farm Records)

At Rickshaw Stop (155 Fell St., San Francisco) on August 7. 8 p.m., $10-$12

Half-Handed Cloud, As Stowaways in Cabinets of Surf, We Live-out in Our Members a Kind of Rebirth. This is one of the strangest albums I've heard in a while. A bit poppy in a late Beatles sort of sense, and just as weird. It's more experimental than anything else. With odd disjointed rhythms and vocals that are so cute they're almost twee, it feels like a collection of nursery rhymes for music geeks. (Asthmatic Kitty Records)

Sylvi Alli, Vessel. Vessel is pretty, slightly trippy music for the New Age set with some interesting religious overtones. Not that it's specifically advocating any religion. It's just that you can clearly hear the influence of some old world religions, particularly in the eerie, almost chant-like vocal style. It's not for everyone, but it's definitely pretty stuff. (Vertical Pool Productions)

Brass Menazeri, Vranjski San. If you ever needed proof that gypsy music has its roots in India, just listen to Brass Menazeri. Vranjski San is basically a collection of central European-inspired folk music, of the kind usually associated with folk dancing and large community gatherings. It's remarkably true to the spirit of the original style. (Porto Franco Records)

At Amnesia (853 Valencia St., San Francisco) on August 8. 9 p.m. $5

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