Listening Log 

I Forgot Where I Was Going, So I Came Back

Scandaliz Vandalistz

(self-released)

This five-piece anti-folk outfit (think Moldy Peaches without the potty mouth) is a teen band that began at White Station High School. These precocious songs about pets, school subjects, and movie critics are indulgent, sure, but not as much as you might expect. I'm pretty sure my friends and I were more self-conscious and insular in our White Station days. The white-girl dork-rap of "The Sophocles Rap" ("By the way, I wrote this in pre-AP/Using my vocabulary, can't you see?") should be annoying but isn't. Best of all is the song that the band's already gotten a bit of press for, "Hey Mr. Beifuss," a charming tribute to The Commerical Appeal's film critic. (Inspirational lyric: "Hey, Mr. Beifuss/I can be your Frankenstein bride/We'll make homemade horror movies/We'll be screaming side by side.") Overall, it's not quite as fun to listen to as it probably was to make, but you better believe I hope my daughter is so smart, kind, and self-possessed at 18. -- CH

Grade: B+

The Stale and Sparkly Air

Imagination Head

(Makeshift)

This local debut couldn't be more perfectly titled. Imagination Head weaves catchy tunes out of lumbering, frustrating rhythms and makes ridiculously sentimental clichés about dreams, songs, and ancient times shimmer like a mylar curtain. The overall sound is retro '90s, like the folkier side of Elephant 6 mixed with Wayne Coyne's softest psychedelia and Sebadoh at their lowest fidelity. Locally, they fit nicely between Snowglobe and Walkie Talkie but are quieter and more blissfully naive. The Stale and Sparkly Air opens with "Dreams," a sleepy acoustic number filled with romantic, gothic, and occasionally Dylanesque images that tumble out in a hypnotic indie-pop whine. The rest of the album follows suit, marrying simple arrangements and quirky instrumentation to the coffee-shop poems of a promising, if occasionally self-sabotaging, singer-songwriter. Sometimes Imagination Head's sincerity gets the better of them and things go dreadfully wrong, as in the case of "Layers," in which the song's protagonist realizes that surfaces aren't everything and commences to chant, "Layer, layer, layer, layer ... ." It's funny for all the wrong reasons, but it's also the exception rather than the rule. -- Chris Davis

Grade: B

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