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Maus Haus Rings in the Indie New Year at Ghost Town Gallery

If this show was an accurate representation of what to expect this year in Bay Area indie, we're in for a hell of a ride.

Oakland four-piece http://www.myspace.com/chamberstheband " target="_blank">Chambers opened the evening with their ultra-rich brand of nu emo.  Think Yeah Yeah Yeah’s with a male singer.

Following was Religious Girls, a four-member ensemble with an enormous sound and an arsenal of instruments (there's a lot of multi-tasking). These East Bay boys pound out a joyous combo of tribal and live electronics with techno loops.  In the spirit of Animal Collective, Religious Girls add a drum-heavy, jam-band angle to indie’s latest fad of computer rock.

The SF sextet Maus Haus headlined, using all the mandatory do-dads and effects, and relying heavily on wind instruments, keyboards and drums.

Singer Jason Kick was the spitting image of Johnny Greenwood, bent over his pedal board like The Phantom of the Opera and flutist Tom Hurlbut was a head bobbler over a pained face.  The music that emerges is the ultimate mash-up of tech and jam - it negotiates modern trends back into what has always worked for a rock band…real, sweat-infused playing.  Check out a playlist of Maus Haus music here.

And you'd be pressed to find a venue more suited for this strange, effect-heavy, garage-sound lineup.  The crudely constructed Ghost Town Gallery resides in one of the more desolate pockets of West Oakland, and boasts the charm of a slaughterhouse, complete with disembodied mannequins, un-shaded ancient lamps and sideways grandfather clocks.  Oh, and it has a Pabst Blue Ribbon dispenser.  Perfection.