“Baby Tape” C10
(Leopard Shepherd Records)

The tongue twists when trying to pronounce “Leopard Shepherd Records,” a tape label out of Burlington, Vermont, and I think they prefer it that way. They release music destined to wrap itself around your brain and tickle your primary auditory cortex while poking the anterior supplemental motor area. (Look em up.) Humor, people, humor! The gang at Leopard Shepherd loves to laugh, and they love their wordplay. How else would you explain the existence of bands like The Evil Pit Bastards, Kool-Aid Wino, and my personal favorite, Lawrence Welks and Our Bear to Cross?

Into this hurricane of wackiness comes Spacemen Saturday Night, a duo comprised of Max Weiss and Becca Hill, who have wrangled some session musicians in Nashville and produced this three-song EP, a precursor to their next full-length. (Supposedly – Baby Tape came out in 2014, and we’re still waiting, I guess.) Fitting right in to the weird pop aesthetic of their label, Max and Becca craft seasick but entertaining nuggets of joyful tunage, conjuring a mix that lands them somewhere in the Waitresses/Television Personalities cross section of their Venn diagram. Or maybe Zach Phillips’s output with Blanche Blanche Blanche, etc. That’s a recipe for success, in my book.

Even when they’re imploring “Would you please be serious for just one second?” on opener “Please Be Serious,” there’s not enough solemnity in the world that wouldn’t have me cracking a smile 20 seconds in. The 1980s “college rock” vibe shoots right through any attempts to inject their songs with too much gravity – if they were still around, IRS Records would likely be knocking on the studio door with a lifetime contract in hand. As it stands, we’ll have to wait for Leopard Shepherd (or whoever Spacemen Saturday Night ends up with) to hurry these two kooks along on their path to recording more music. Three songs just ain’t enough.

--Ryan Masteller