Callow, Callow. A raw contralto will get you far in the indie world, particularly if you specialize in songs about heartbreak, death, and the fallout after a bad relationship. Singer Red Moses has it. Whoever did him wrong paved the way for some forceful emo-folk, buoyed by heavy chords and portentous lyrics. Don't let the name fool you. (self)
At Mama Buzz Cafe (2318 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) on September 22. 7 p.m.
The Fancy Dan Band, Sing to Survive. There's probably very little disconnect between Fancy Dan Nordheim's singing and speaking voices. He conveys emotion within a one-octave range, helped along by the vocals of Michael Loebs, Mark Underwood, Joe Gusich, and Jane Kilmer. At times, the instrumentation seems top-heavy, but Dan's harmonica is a nice touch. (self-released)
At Cafe Du Nord (2170 Market St., San Francisco) on September 29. 7 p.m., $10
Red Meat, Live at the World's Smallest Honky Tonk. Twenty-six tracks zip by at a fast clip on this live country album by one of the few local bands that pretend we live in a Red State. Singer Smelley Kelley has a terrific back-country drawl and the hint of a lisp. He chomps off the ends of his words. Scott Young yodels. Between songs you get to hear band members josh each other. (Ranchero Records)
At the Uptown (1928 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) on September 15. 9 p.m., $20
Il Gato, All These Slippery Things. Orchestration outpaces singing on All These Slippery Things, the latest from a band that suffers the same problem as many of its indie-folk counterparts: singer Daimian Holiday Scott just can't hit all the notes. Then again, that might be intentional. The contrast of flat vocals against a rich string section makes Il Gato's songs seem jagged. (self-released )
At Streetlight Records (980 South Bascam Ave., San Jose) on September 19. 5 p.m., free