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Wednesday, November 26, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 20.0° F  Fog/Mist
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The Kites
Self-Titled (Laundry Basket Music)

David Bowie's fey, full-tilt approach to rock 'n' roll was one of the very few things that were good about the early '70s. Judging from main mouth Adam Schabow's mocking girlish exclamations and bass player Adam Tregre's throbbing, uh, instrument, the Kites spent quality hours woodshedding with Ziggy Stardust and some of the thousands of punk and post-punk acts that were inspired by his genre-changing act.

Not that the Kites are a retro act. They pick up on the weirdo spirit of their forbears, but make sure not to ape them. The gloriously shambling - and too brief - "Met a Girl Last Night" is an individual take on the special joys of instant attraction. And the endlessly devolving "Grass Is Greener" makes its slew-footed way with just as much trashcan style. Plus, you can spend a few more minutes dancing to its ramshackle beat.

Most of Self-Titled valorizes energy and attitude rather than precise musicianship and recondite ideas, but there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, the low navel-gazing factor is what sets the Kites apart from a lot of distressingly overwrought indie bands.

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