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"This one's for the ladies," Mike Montoya murmurs, before the opening strains of Menso's title track. Whether you are a lady or just want one, this disc contains a woman's daily requirement of vulnerability, furry animals, and baffling danceworthiness. From lush arrangements to achingly brainy lyrics, each song is an exotic species of what's been called percussive jazz, Latin pop, and bossa nova lounge -- usually all in the same sentence. Montoya's mushiest crooning is couched in Spanglish, but Kevin Cardozo's beach-hammock trumpet riffs betray the soft underbelly, until his horn morphs into Heaven's snarly snooze-alarm for "Harps and Sandals." John De La Cruz teases his kit through an exhaustive catalogue -- booty-rhythmic thumps, driving snare runs, dreamy cymbal ellipses, that addicting little "Brown Sugar"-style stick-roll -- while bassist Dan Sitzler and guest über-instrumentalist Robin Vining bring the biscuits and gravy to the combo. You never know what's over the next bridge: the postapocalyptic bastard child of David Byrne and Simon Le Bon, or an enraged polar bear.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

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Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.