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Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice gets freaky with you; Rogue Wave dabbles in baseball analysis

Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voiceis the cryptic name for this media-shy outfit from New York that, over a slew of releases in '04 and '05, has drained the traditional folk-blues template of just about every aesthetic touchstone save a sparse assortment of shattered riffage, creaking percussion, faintly whistling woodwinds, and quietly rippling feedback. In a way, it's the hovering specters of space and mood trailing these remnants that serve as the real building blocks of WWVV's extended, best-listened-to-by-candlelight trance-folk. However, what you really ought to know is what exactly makes WWVV any different from other practitioners of this popular free-folk drone-thing like Sunburned Hand of the Man, No-Neck Blues Band, and the Davenport Family. My best answer is the group's occasional use of these classic, male and female, white-soul vocals. Think a more meditative version of the Jefferson Airplane's triple-throat approach from ... Takes Offand Surrealistic Pillow, an association that'll make perfect sense when Wooden Wand performs with the Skygreen Leopards -- the best San Francisco folk-pop combo since the Beau Brummels -- on Thursday, June 30, at the Hemlock Tavern; call 923-0923 or go to www.hemlocktavern.com for more info. -- Justin F. Farrar

Yes, this is a music section, but it's a music section edited by an Oakland A's fan. And therefore, every now and then, you're going to have to slog through some baseball shoptalk, especially if sweet dude, Oakland native, and super-big A's fan Zach Rogue is rolling into town with his band, Rogue Wave , which has been on a national tour, for two shows Friday and Saturday, July 1-2, at the Independent (771-1421 or www.theindependentsf.com). Rogue Wave's new album, titled Descended Like Vultures, is in the can and set for release in October. If that's too long to wait, be sure to make it out to this gig, where our beloved power-pop foursome will be playing new songs like "Bird on a Wire" (a live staple) and "Catform." And now the shoptalk: The A's are, as of press time, clinging to third place (though streaking of late, and that has nothing to do with nudity), so I asked Rogue to deliver his top tips to get the team's act together, which he was kind enough to share via e-mail:

"1: Have ownership invest in the team, not just real estate scouting. Get a power hitting left or right fielder who can protect Chavvy.

2: Ask Carney Lansford to be the hitting coach. He's the man.

3: Convince Lon Simmons to come out of retirement and either a) announce games again; or b) be the 3rd base coach every 5 or 6 home games.

4: They have too many strong infielders -- package one of them with a prospect and help get another strong starter.

5: Stop kidding themselves that certain players (who will go nameless) will ever fulfill their potential. Suck it up and make some trades that are not completely based on youth and thrift.

6: Have Rogue Wave throw out the first pitch at a game this season. That could pay off big time for the team's I-am-awkward-and-uncoordinated-yet-I-have-strong-Oakland-pride-and-love-the-A's' contingent." -- Garrett Kamps

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