Blame Sally, Speeding Ticket and a Valentine.
This new album from folk band Blame Sally is well-equipped for mainstream radio play. Since the band members are in their forties and fifties, it's no surprise to hear a certain world-weary quality in their lyrics — particularly "Mona Lisa Smile" and the frustrated love song "Throw Me a Bone." The band thrives on richly textured melodies, but its harmonies are scraggy and lean. (Ninth Street Opus)
At Great American Music Hall (859 O'Farrell St., San Francisco) on April 29-30. 8:30 p.m., $36.
Shannon and the Clams, Sleeptalk.
The little hiccup that begins "You Will Always Bring Me Flowers" might be the closest thing that this garage trio has to an imprimatur. Either that, or the oooga booga choruses on "Cult Song." Both tracks are terrific — the first a l aove ballad that's more like a scold, the second an empowerment song (hence the refrain, I don't wanna be in your cult no more). True to its trash-rock roots, the band revels in low production values and growly vocals by Shannon Shaw. (1-2-3-4 Go!)
Cute Lepers, Adventure Time.
For a band with six members — all of whom sing, and two of whom bang tambourines — The Cute Lepers manage to sound remarkably spare. Josh Blisters flogs his snare in steady 4/4 time, while Steve e. Nix doesn't so much sing as snarl his lyrics. Apparently, the extra personnel are thrown in to provide hand claps and kid-choir choruses, which make Cute Lepers sound less like a garage punk outfit and more like a Phil Spector vehicle. (1-2-3-4 Go!)
Bumpy Road , Bumpy Road.
Rock cover band Bumpy Road hits its romantic pinnacle with the slide guitar solo on "Sleep Walk," a famous 1959 ballad by brothers Santo and Jonny Farina. Larry Mikami pulls it off with aplomb, with only a slight electronic fizzle at the end to hint at modernity. Pianist Kathy Tejcka guest-stars on a long, drawn-out version of "Shake Rattle & Roll." She also sings and provides the boogie-woogie comping for "Red Beans." (self-released)