Chow Nasty, Super (Electrical) Recordings (Omega Records). Since forming in 2003, funky San Francisco party band Chow Nasty has relied as much on novelty as on its ability to move asses. The trio’s debut full-length, produced by Peanut Butter Wolf, sounds something like !!! or LCD Soundsystem minus the hip factor, plus madness and a James Brown fascination.
Jimbo Trout and the Fishpeople, Hillbilly Bebop-Boogie (Fishwrap Records). Twang lovers couldn’t ask for much more. The Bay Area band’s first-rate bluegrass, blues, and honky-tonk covers come from a place where banjo, fiddle, and accordion were de rigueur — somewhere the modern world never crept. Only excellent recording quality betrays the fantasy.
Mia and Jonah, Rooms for Adelaide (self-released). Mia and Jonah’s safe, subtle collection of smoothed-out indie-folk would veer dangerously close to adult-contemporary if not for ribbons of dark, Waits-like Americana (two of his band members appear here) and deeper layers that promise to eventually reveal themselves.
The Mumlers, Thickets and Stitches (Galaxia). Funny that they’re called the Mumlers, because that’s just what this album does: mumble. Despite creative instrumentation, nicely inflected vocals, and playful songwriting, Thickets and Stitches lasts forty minutes without saying anything memorable, and then it’s gone.