Miguel Mendez

Though Mendez might have figured out what he wants to do with his life — the Long Beach native ditched a major in physics to pursue a career in music — he doesn't appear to have settled on a particular genre just yet. He whiles away Girlfriend weighing his stylistic options. Wanna chug some stunted, Beck Hansen-leaning microbrew rock low on kitchen sink and high on floor-hugging baritone? Mendez can pull that off nicely — check out "Maniac Psycho" and "May 9th, 2002." Or how about some Proto Bumblebeez 81 spew? Look no further than "Jenny's Jam." Perhaps you're in the mood for a coddled cluttering of piano scales on leave from a prog epic's demo? Skip ahead to "Number Race." Mendez's versatility can't be denied, with Girlfriend's mid-fi production working as a solvent of continuity. But next time he should specialize.

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Ray Cummings