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Artist: Boomsnake
Song: “Busy” (from the CD Give and Take)
Heard by: Jon Carmack, Mission Bay

It was pretty good. It started off with a nice, raw acoustic sound, and then the full band kicked in midway into the song. The instrumentals were really good. I listen to a lot of alternative, so I’d compare them to Copeland or Mae. It’s kind of hard to compare them to a mainstream band — it’s more of an underground sound. The only part of the lyrics I caught was “busy as a bee,” which I guess is about working. They had a cool effect where you hear the fluttering of insect wings in the background. I picture a coffee shop when I hear that song. You probably wouldn’t be rocking out to it at Warped Tour.

Artist: Astra
Song: “The Weirding” (from the CD The Weirding)
Heard by: Erick Castillo, Chula Vista

I liked it. My first impression was that it reminded me of a lot of ’70s rock stuff. I really felt like sitting in a beanbag chair just to listen to the music and feel it as it is. It reminds me of the Doors a little bit or early Iron Butterfly. There was a flute in the background, which was nice because it was very out of the norm. The drumbeat is really slow, so it gets you in that mood where you just want to chill out and listen to the record. The song was going on seven minutes, and I liked it, but I thought I should stop it. I’d say they’re more of an underground band that people “in the know” would listen to. I’d give that song an 8 out of 10.

Artist: Dakotafish
Song: “Landlocked” (from their self-titled CD)
Heard by: Amy McCain, University Heights

It had a great beat, I loved the bass line, and I liked the vocals that hauntingly sang in the background. I know it sounds weird, but it’s almost like a cross between Michael Jackson and Franz Ferdinand. It had kind of surreal lyrics. The one line that caught my ear the most was “rats jumping ship before it sinks in the sand.” It sounded like they had a drum machine, and it was very layered as far as instrumentation goes. They maybe had an actual bass guitar, but it sounded more computer-generated than, like, live music. I really dig that style. I could see that song in the background of a car commercial.

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