Notel Motel, Heavy & Sweaty (Last Hope)

Turns out it’s pretty easy to create the perfect indie rock barbecue/pool party playlist for the sketchier suburbs of NOLA. According to Notel Motel’s second album, all you need is: a rhythm section with a relentlessly up-tempo sort of skip; electric piano and/or the cheesiest organ you can get your hands on (see Smash Mouth); vague but still somehow disturbing lyrics; 13 insane earworm hooks, fresh; that’s it. This isn’t meat and potatoes rock, more like a $5 box of fried something that’ll make you a little queasy later. But just a little: this trio largely skirts the sleazier aspects on these dozen tracks in search of weird tone poems. In fact, the lyrical vaguery is almost maddening next to the relentless catchiness of the choruses; there’s something about the neighborhood dog-with-personality (every block’s got one) and a few lines about stealing chicken from a gas station dumpster, but except for the hilarious “Leaving In July” (“…is for quitters”), that’s about it. And that’s fine, because when these songs keep rotating back to the hook, the equally insistent grooves have already buried them in your subconscious for good. Which, given lyrics like “I got bulimia from watching TV / MTV TV / Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” is probably where they should stay.

—Robert Fontenot