Critic's Choice

With the recent semi-notoriety of Har Mar Superstar and MC Paul Barman, there seems to be a newfound market for self-consciously geeky Jewish dudes making self-consciously fucked-up novelty music. Atom and His Package, though, has them all beat. Atom (playing Thursday, March 20, at Club 156, Boulder, with Sixty Stories, the Arrivals and the Wind-Up Merchants) was once a Pennsylvania neuroscience student named Adam Goren; for the past six years, however, he's been touring the country with "His Package" -- a beat-up, Reagan-era sequencer that acts as his entire backup band on stage. The result is breathtaking in its goofiness: '80s synth-pop meshes with '90s pop-punk and a flair for the absurd that rivals his contemporaries Har Mar and Barman. But Atom's shtick don't wear thin after a listen and a half; indeed, songs like "I'm Downright Amazed at What I Can Destroy with Just a Hammer" and "Dear Atom, You Do Not Want Children. Love, Atom" may very well creep into your head at night while cuddling your significant other. Like an adenoidal Andrew W.K. or a techno They Might Be Giants, Atom and His Package spins anthems out of cheap guitars and shitty synthesizers, always underscored by some truly catchy and intelligent songwriting. Now there's a novelty.


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