Meet the Lothars (Camera Obscura)
This Boston quartet purloined its name from late-'60s artmeisters Lothar and the Hand People, a group that based its dizzying songs around the oscillating sound of a theremin. Well, the Lothars up the ante by employing not one, not two, but three of the instruments (along with a guitar) to create a vibe that's simultaneously spacy, silly, and spellbinding.
Although most theremin users-from the Beach Boys to Jon Spencer-have employed the device as little more than a noisemaker, the Lothars inject surprisingly melodic lines into songs such as "Cowboys Lament" and "Charo U.K." Yes, a certain amount of the band's output is couched in sonic shtick-which it cops to via tongue-in-cheek titles like "Dust Mah Space Broom" - but the overall atmosphere is one of adventure, rather than mere novelty. -David Sprague