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Local Licks

This week we review Sisters of the Sun Band, Five Play Jazz Quintet, Andy Mason, and Aloha Screwdriver.

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Sisters of the Sun Band, The Percocet Chronicles Vol. II.

With a fairly ascetic setup, Sisters of the Sun — aka drummer Sean Alford and a singer whose name is a symbol that looks like a "V" — made a decent hard rock album. "V" handles all the guitar and bass parts, whilst singing in a granular tenor. His voice is the weakest link; his guitar riffs, in contrast, are commanding and rhythmically adventurous. (Real Rock N Roll Records

Five Play Jazz Quintet, Five of Hearts.

Perhaps "Five Play" is a bit of a misnomer, since the jazz quintet has two discernible leaders — guitarist Tony Corman and pianist Laura Klein — who split compositional duties (and solos) on this album. From a technical standpoint, the musicians all sound fairly green, yet they maneuver through several different styles — Latin, swing, dusky ballads, blues — without a hitch. (Jurassic Classics)

Tony Corman Jazz Trio plays Nick's Lounge (3218 Adeline St., Berkeley) on Sundays. 6:30 p.m., free.

Andy Mason, Rural Sun.

Male torch songs are the best, especially when they bear titles like "Sorry That I Love You." Or when the opening verse is all about clinging to a relationship long past its expiration date. It's definitely the highlight of Andy Mason's new, super-spare country album, which uses pathos as grist for art. It's second-best track is another ardent love ballad, called "Simply You." (Last Stop Records)

At Nomad Cafe (6500 Shattuck Ave., Oakland) on Sunday, May 15. 5-7 p.m., free.

Aloha Screwdrive, No Way Out.

It's hard to find variation in an album composed entirely of instrumental surf rock. In the case of Aloha Screwdriver, guitarist Donald Bell serves as the voice of the band. He uses all the genre hallmarks — electric tremolo, sputtery reverb, fast, jagged riffs — to create a perfect simulacrum of 1960s Orange County surf rock. Bell really sings on "Like a Fist Through Water." (self-released)

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