Reality Bites (In Santa Barbara)

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This three-piece indie pop band from L.A. put out its enjoyable, slightly cutesy records on its own label, Smilex. The band consisted of brothers Brien and Brandon Heinz on guitar/vocals and bass, respectively, and their 14-year-old neighbor Nikki Graveline on drums. All five songs on this EP are absorbing, catchy, hummable, skewed pop with bits of noise and Brien's nasal vocals, which complements them quite well. The theme of the title song is Brandon Heinz' academic pursuits at UCSB and how he didn't quite fit in with Isla Vista's (the college town right next to Santa Barbara) pothead, surfer-dude vibe, but it makes for a lamely named record. Still, the music stands up. In fact, all of Jackass' hard-to-find, never-widely-distributed releases are consistently worthwhile.