Plenty of Los Angeles-based acts are more concerned with making it big than with making something fresh -- but not every performer there prefers conformity over rebellion. Indeed, the City of Angels is currently home to quite a few rockers who tend toward the experimental end of the spectrum, including those in the Mae Shi, whose fondness for rude noises doesn't come at the expense of weird melodies or pleasantly twisted entertainment values. These sonic provocateurs are blessed with a brainy sense of humor, which helps explain why Heartbeeps, their new EP, contains three cuts named "Heartbeeps," only one of which is long enough to qualify as an actual song. Not that the boys drag things out: They blitz through "Born for a Short Time," "Crimes of Infancy" and the disc's other jagged gems in just over fifteen minutes -- yet seldom has time been better spent. With luck, the Mae Shi will offer a more expansive set at the hi-dive, where it will be joined by Ultra Boyz, Pretty Thigh and the Pope. After all, the group's racket offers an unexpected reason to love L.A.
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