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Few genres engender the same kind of unabashed humor of third-wave ska. And among the canon of wonderful, brass-wielding weirdos that infiltrated the genre in the mid to late '90s, few continue to bring their "A" game like the Huntington Beach sextet Suburban Legends. While their live show promises plenty of hands-in-the-air energy, stage dives and trombone twirling, one of the best ways to get a true taste of the humor behind these Surf City skankers is to watch their music videos. From their impetus in the late '90s to their latest album, 2012's Day Job, they've released a shit ton of them that tout asian cartoon craziness, poop-licking dog catchers and bull riding antics. --Priscella Vega
San Diego's the Burning of Rome are firm believers in what motivational speakers and guidance counselors always say: "If you're gonna dream, dream big!" It's been a long time since frontman Adam Traub made his first recordings as the Burning of Rome in 2006. Since then, the project has become a five-headed beast, releasing Year of the Ox on Surfdog Records in May with bassist Keveen Boudoin, vocalist/keyboardist Aimee Jacobs, guitarist Joe Aguilar, and drummer Danny King (the latter of whom joined after the recording of Ox). The Burning of Rome's simmering death disco mood pieces are considerably amped up by a baroque and theatric live show, appropriate for the band's grand designs. Year of the Ox was recorded and produced by Butthole Surfers' Paul Leary and Traub in El Paso with relative unknowns Matt Cameron (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden), Dale Crover (Melvins, Nirvana), and Josh Freese (Nine Inch Nails) sitting in on drums. --Joshua Levine
First, Carlos D. left the band (and still hasn't been permanently replaced) to compose television scores. Then, Interpol went on a three-year hiatus. In that time, lead singer and principal lyricist Paul Banks put out three solo releases, plus the pseudo-mixtape Everybody on My Dick Like They Supposed to Be, while drummer Sam Fog joined Magnetic Morning with Swervedriver's Adam Franklin. With everyone (except Daniel Kessler, apparently?) focused on their own projects, it seemed Interpol was no more. But hark! Here comes El Pintor, Interpol's fifth album. Alan Moulder (known for producing with The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Ride, and Nine Inch Nails) mixed the thing, so that alone is good news, but it also features guest appearances from Rob Moose of Bon Iver, Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (who worked for years in Beck's backing band), and Brandon Curtis of space rock trio Secret Machines. In other words, it appears that little break the band took was just getting Interpol warmed up for an even more exciting career. --Troy Farah
Billy Joe Shaver is one of those legends that has long operated behind the curtain, unknown to most, yet has garnered a rabidly loyal following over the decades of his career. He's best known for his work writing songs for Waylon Jennings, Elvis Presley and with Willie Nelson, but even as Shaver will admit, his most recent record, Long In The Tooth, has seen the most mainstream traction yet -- he just didn't think it would take him six decades to get here. --KC Libman
Synth-pop duo Head Over Heart sprung to life less than a year ago in Tucson, but the stylized, New Romantic nature of the music evokes nothing less than an early-'80s KROQ-approved Los Angeles New Wave discotheque. With an arsenal of outmoded synths and thrift shop guitars combined with current computer technology, vocalists and instrumentalists Belinda Esquer and Jordan Prather sing about the two definitive New Wave topics -- making out and paranoia, although the paranoia usually is related to not making out. The innocence, striking visuals, and minimalist sensibilities of Head Over Heart's sound and vision make them an Instagram-era White Stripes, without any pesky manifestos or claims of authenticity. The band's just-released debut EP, I Believe You, Liar is a testament to the ageless thrill of dancing with yourself while getting hit repeatedly by Frankie Goes to Hollywood's laser beams. --Joshua Levine
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