Veteran background vocalist Russell steps to the forefront with a wonderfully eclectic set of tunes including "Back o' Town Blues," which her dad, Luis Russell, wrote with Louis Armstrong back in 1945.
• Candi Staton, His Hands (Honest Jons/Astralwerks).
• Irma Thomas, After the Rain (Rounder).
• Hank Williams III, Straight to Hell (Bruc). This intense honky-tonk country music is filled with visions so demented that the label's owner, former California lieutenant governor Mike Curb, spells his own name backward.
• Mitch Woods, Big Easy Boogie (Club 88). Marin County vocalist-pianist Woods creates the hottest set of 1950s-style New Orleans R&B since, well, the ’50s.
Charalambides; Top 10 Things That Didn't Happen in San Francisco
(1) Getting dosed at Terrastock, Providence, RI, and watching Lightning Bolt from high in the light rigging, April 23.
(2) On tour with Marcia, watching thousands of chimney swifts flocking into a smokestack during a light rainstorm in Portland, Ore., with a double rainbow to the east and a sunset to the west.
(3) Me and Natacha witnessing Comets on Fire's chalet get destroyed at All Tomorrow's Parties with a BBC film crew documenting the whole scene. Minehead, Devonshire, UK.
(4) Ben Chasny destroying with solo electric guitar at Arthur Nights, LA, Oct. 21.
(5) Jamming Buffy St. Marie's "Cod'Ine" for over an hour at 4 a.m. with Matt Valentine and Erika Elder in Guilford, Vt.; also Mvee and the Bummer Road's form-destroying set at ATP, Minehead, Devonshire, UK.
(6) Hearing the most killer noise CD-R ever in Nashville, recorded by Chris Cherry Blossoms' Boston Terrier.
(7) Gigging with Badgerlore at the Wire festival, Chicago, and eating pizza slices the size of surfboards with Glen Donaldson, Sept. 21.
(8) Laying down thick sounds with Shawn McMillen and the Starving Weirdos in Eureka and later watching McMillen toss tennis balls to a terrier on the beach in Samoa while hearing Steve Weirdo's roommate's tales of Sasquatch hunting and dodging bullets in the Yuroc reservation.
(9) Ashtray Navigation's Syd Barrett tribute at the beginning of their set, biker bar downstairs playing "Astronomy Domine" the same night in Leeds, UK.
(10) Gray-orange dust storm over the gash of the Rio Grande. Later that night, me and my girlfriend, Natacha, listen to Of's wedding CD-R and watch dozens of shooting stars and a distant thunderstorm over the mountains, Taos, NM.
RIP Syd Barrett, Arthur Lee, and whoever else I'm forgetting.