Sonic Reducer: Mantis Fist, Tina Sparkle, Crystal Stilts

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The second album by the locals in Mantis Fist showcases crisp vocals and catchy beats. These martial artists of hip-hop engineered 14 tracks with themes like self-worth, craftsmanship and being part of the underground music scene. Smooth turntablism and dub are accented by sweet melodica and trumpet. Although the quartet lost one of its core members—Steve “Oki” Nance, who passed in 2010—Mantis Fist is evolving while also celebrating Nance’s positive attitude and musical accomplishments. The Global Swarming all-ages album release party is Saturday, April 9 , at the Launchpad, and features performances by Zoology, Definition Rare, Tiger Uppercut and others. Cover charge includes a CD. (SO)

Tina Sparkle Welcome to the No Fun House (Thinker Thought Records)

The core of this indie rock trio from Peoria, Ill., is brother/sister duo Marsha and Atomic Satterfield, who have been playing together for over 15 years. Welcome to the No Fun House , the second album from Tina Sparkle, is grungy and heavy on distorted guitars but contains pop-friendly melodies. Lyricist Marsha might have holed up in the garage with a couple of photo albums and a 12-pack of Hamm’s, writing the band’s lost-love, self-destruction and screwed-up-families material all in one sloppy night. The overall sound is moody, personal rock, a bit reminiscent of early PJ Harvey or Sonic Youth. (SO)

Crystal Stilts In Love With Oblivion (Slumberland Records)

Listening to this album is like dressing yourself in tailored black and driving a vintage Vespa to a graveyard party. Heavy echo, monotone vocals and organ riffs in a lo-fi pop context (it’s part garage psych, part punk) lends a cartoonishly spooky vibe to In Love With Oblivion —Crystal Stilts’ second album. The band is from the U.S.A. but at moments seems like it came from swingin’ London, what with the irresistible modness. This is the grooviest record of the year. (JCC)

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