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Los Encantados play CBGB fest at The Delancey on 07.06

Los Encantados most likely write their music by forcefully giving each other high fives until the music spontaneously happens. This is just an uninformed guess of course, but with the band's name loosely translating to 'The Enchanted,' it wouldn't surprise me. The septet deals with the same chapters in life shared by most of us, city dwellers. Only when they do it... it's actually uplifting!

Their latest EP 'Same Damned Soul,' opens with a barnburning athem to lost loves ('Ghost'), and continues at this speed 'til you arrive at the beach in time for the party with closer 'Maritime.' This is quite a bit of fun to be sure, but nowhere near as good a time as seeing the six-piece live. So check them out on July 6th when they play the CBGB fest at The Delancey. - Mike Levine (@Goldnuggets) - Los Encantados submitted their music for review here.

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TEEN plays Le Poisson Rouge and Union Pool on July 20-21

Born in 2011 when Here We Go Magic's keyboardist Teeny Lieberson left the band to pursue her own project, TEEN plays some kind of tribal trip-pop (trib-pop?) which is particularly fitting for the African weather we are experiencing. Maybe that's why they got booked two days in a row in July (LPR on the 20th and Union Pool on the 21). Joined by sisters Lizzie and Katherine, and members Maia and Jane, this semi-family will release their debut album "In Limbo" on Carpark Records in August. In it, you'll find catchy chants floating on a hazy sound alternately backed by synths and organs, and songs that fizz and drone through light arrangements in part reminiscent of Here We Go Magic's impressionistic sound. - Kristina Tortoriello.

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Weekly Feature: Wazu tours the east coast

Even though they’ve only been an outfit for little over two years, WAZU has received a lot of prodigious buzz in the blogosphere. But while the electroindustro-meets-grimy glam duo — that is guitarist/producer/vocalist Matt and vocalist/synth player Rizz — may have started their trek as WAZU in 2010 after moving to New York from their Sydney, Australia hometown, they’re no strangers to life as musicians. After all, while living in Sydney, the pair performed in different acts in the experimental and avant-garde scene in the Down Under city during the mid-2000s. And all that experience has paid off. With a full length in the works, and a series of east coast shows scheduled for August, WAZU is quickly climbing the sonic ladder, consuming all the pop culture America has to offer along the way. - Read Annamarya Scaccia's interview with Wazu here.

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Weekly Feature: Zak Smith

 As anyone who's spent some time on the Garden State Parkway knows, people from New Jersey come out a bit differently from the rest of us. There's a particular blend of hometown pride and hard-earned bravado here that few states can match.

For Zak Smith, this attitude defines his world view, as much as it does his music. A man sympathetic to unifying causes like Occupy Wall Street, Smith has brought together his own unified front with his powerhouse band. Stocking a tight five-piece with soaring harmonies and thunderclap guitars, he's created a unique blend of rock Americana that's just as much a family as the colorful characters pointed to throughout his new album.

Over a voice coated with as much honey as it's covered in grit, Smith has just released his debut full-length, collecting together a signature batch of tunes reflecting his outlook, both personally and politically. - Read Mike Levine's interview with Zak Smith here.

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The mad revivalism of Punks on Mars

There are many cheap shortcuts to define Brooklyn's Punks On Mars' latest EP, Hey! Tiffany, but no short way to get it right. First, referencing, to lay a base. A glittery touch of 70s proto-punk, topped with a fusing 80's power-pop sound and its high-pitched prominent guitars, a few Ramones beats...that's a start. Then, analogies. Even easier! Cartoon-esque atmospheres, padded bubbles, chipmunks on psychedelics and bad trips at the fun fair, get it? Finally, oxymorons and other contradictions. Hyperglycaemic punk, oppressively pop, carefully produced as a satyrical take on a lo-fi frenzy, seemingly unmastered sharp fuzz...it's at once any critic's dream playground and worst nightmare! You'll want to decorticate, reveal a form of institutional critique, yet you'll refrain from being that guy, the enemy, the downer. You'll then be tempted to stick to the fun side but can palp the two thirds of the iceberg lying beneath the colourful surface... it's a tricky one! Ultimately, it may be best to admit any label to be reductive, and see that it may precisely be a clever distortion of many familiar patterns that set front man Ryan Howe's catchy sound right on the edge of any mainstream, thus defining it as unique in its genre(s)-  whatever it may resemble! - Tracy Mamoun

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