Muirspace

Sherwood

It’s been years since you moved on to Facebook, but Sherwood’s still playing puppy-love pop like you never got rid of your MySpace.

Considering the band’s third album, QU, is dominated by lead singer Nate Henry’s sickly croon, it’s surprisingly mellow — only causing truly unbearable nausea when he prods at the choruses. The biggest perk is that lyrics like “Now I’ve been making eyes at you all night/ Trying to decide what’s on your mind” might ease your transition from high school to Tioga Hall.

Hailing from San Luis Obispo, the band’s niche lies between mid-Cal chill and Freudian repression. The Sherwood signature consists of plinky soft-rock verses with zero-distortion guitars, strumming so unobtrusively that it’s a shock when tracks like “You Are” break out a choppy rhythm reminiscent of the Jonas Brothers.

Sherwood does occasionally amp it up for a stadium singalong — get ready to put your hands in the air — but they’re mainly masters of the awkward sway.

The Smiles

Give Vampire Weekend a beach and a beer, and you’ve got this LA college-rock happy place. Every chorus is harmonized, and every guitar’s reverb cranked to 11 — and though the California chill smooths out the best of the VW bounce, the Smiles are still the most danceable dudes here. Forget you’re stuck on campus and slow-spin to a sunny bass.

The Richard Tater Funkestra

Fatally hip student band Funkestra may or may not be happy to see you, but somehow they’ve hidden an entire horn section in their pants — and they’re not afraid to whip it out every Thursday at Porter’s Pub. This goofball outfit plays call-and-response numbers with stanky vocals, but their specialty is losing themselves in freak-out jazz jams. In fact, the only thing that keeps the funksters grounded is cymbal-happy drum god Burleigh Drummond — but still, only Michael J. Fox and your weird aunt could dance naturally to these polyrhythms, so show up adequately addled to float with one seriously lethal form of funk.

He is We

They might do pretty indie a la She & Him, but unsigned He Is We is more hi-fi studio production than pillow talk.

More than a little multi-tracking of singer Rachel Taylor’s soft and soaring vocals pluck He Is We far out of the bedroom genre. You’d think instrumentalist Trevor Kelly was being charged for every note, considering the way he hardly touches his acoustic six-string and piano during a verse — then splurges on a soft-strummed chorus.

However treated, Taylor’s voice takes the lead, hopscotching the octave to pump the duo’s brokenhearted lullabies with some star power. Listen for standout head-bobber “A Mess It Grows.” It’ll be a welcome romp on the swing set after a traumatic round of midterms.

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