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Local Licks

This week we review Beep, Gozzard, 77 El Deora, and Silian Rail.

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Beep, City of the Future. Beep may have started as a free-form jazz trio, but it's gotten increasingly indie. Michael Coleman favors Seventies-era synths over traditional piano, while drummer Sam Ospovat uses a wide arsenal of percussion instruments. This sophomore effort shows the band's sense of humor. "Today Is Your Birthday" begins with a rhythmic bleep that sounds like an alarm clock. (Third Culture)

At the Hemlock Tavern (1131 Polk St., San Francisco) on Sunday, Jan. 23. 9 p.m., $6.

Gozzard, Post Life Crisis EP. The members of Gozzard coined the term "wizard rock," and they represent it with really atrocious cover art. Once you get past the gloom-and-doom and the exotic instrumentation (bouzouki, fipple flute), this band sounds like any power trio of the Nineties. Lead singer Dratacus has that searing, nasally, modern-rock contralto. He reaches his apex in "Old and Gray." Considering the album's title, that actually makes sense. (self-released)

77 El Deora, The Crown & The Crow's Confession. Singer Jennifer Courtney shows her chops in "Push," a nasty blues ballad that demands enough gospel inflection to make a lyric like Push me away, hold my love at bay sound utterly sincere. She's the leader of 77 El Deora, a honky-tonk outfit that divides its repertoire between woeful laments and high-spirited stomps. There's even a song about weed. (self-released)

At Cafe du Nord (2170 Market St., San Francisco) on Saturday, Jan. 8. 8 p.m., $11, $13.

Silian Rail, Parhelion. Silian Rail's instrumentals all have structural peculiarities: shifts in meter, weird rhythmic ideas, chord patterns that twitch and zig-zag to create dramatic tension. There's no denying the technical prowess of drummer Eric Kuhn and guitarist Robin Landy. Still, there's a noticeable void. (Park and Records)

At Bottom of the Hill (1233 17th St., San Francisco) on Friday, Jan. 7. 10 p.m., $10, $12.

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