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Local Licks

This week, we review Face Tat, Midnight Cinema, and Invisiblemann.

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Face Tat, Dungeon Mistress EP

If you can get past its name, you'll discover that Face Tat's music should be taken seriously. Formed by two members of the now-defunct post-rock trio Mist Giant, Face Tat makes heavy, heady electronic beats, but with the emotive guitar melodies and pop sensibility of its previous band. The tracks with vocals, especially "Phantom Creeps" and "Terror at the Red Wolf Inn," sound a lot like Handsome Furs, while instrumental tracks like "Snake Plissken" have the spacey krautrock layers of Stereolab at its most accessible. (self-released)

Midnight Cinema, Midnight Cinema EP

Midnight Cinema draws from late-Nineties bands like Matchbox Twenty and Lifehouse, which countered the grunge period with polished, life-affirming rock anthems. Featuring three former members of Thriving Ivory — whose single "Angels on the Moon" sold more than 500,000 copies in 2010 — Midnight Cinema writes high-energy alt-rock songs with dramatic guitar builds, piano melodies, and lyrics about relationships. Singer Clayton Stroope hits the falsetto notes that make fans of this genre swoon, delivering some of the cheesier lyrics in tracks like "Crazy Beautiful" and "Holding My Breath" with ease. (Wind-up Records)

Invisiblemann, Invisiblemann Vol 9 Global Funktion

Funk and blues bassist Kenny James explores loungey world music, jazz, and soul under the moniker Invisiblemann. The sixteen tracks on Invisiblemann Vol 9 Global Funktion fuse many genres, but are connected by sexy, down-tempo beats and soulful female vocals. On the romantic R&B ballad "Gliding Away" and the psychedelic, ambient track "Deep Inside," James' groovy bass lines add depth to the melodies. Indian percussion meets gritty blues on "Get Down By Myself," whose crisp sampling and experimentation make it one of the album's standouts. (self-released)

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