The Surreal Life: Maus Haus And Rainbow Arabia At Bottom Of The Hill


Eclectic, electric surrealists in full flower – you must be talking about Maus Haus and Rainbow Arabia, both playing one of the final shows produced by the Bay-bred Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival on Saturday, July 25, at Bottom of the Hill.

You wouldn’t be off base to consider San Francisco’s Maus Haus one of the brightest hopes in the city’s avant/indie realm. These guys make a Dada cartoon hybrid of prog, lounge, Krautrock, and alt-pop. Imagine smart, music history-savvy, dexterous misfits enamored with Cake, Deerhoof **and** Yes – and you get an inkling of Maus Haus’ brainy goodness. Picture Brian Wilson meeting Marcel Duchamp and departing together, arm in arm, to plan pocket symphonies. Chunky rhythms, sassy brass, baroque synths, and well-placed “whoos” animate, for instance, “Dead Keys Drop,” as the combo yelps, “Your speed is not like our speed! La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la! Ride a bullet like a banshee!” from an imagined perch “on a stereo, cursing the opposite of street.” Just my speed – I’m betting these fellows won’t remain a mousy secret for long.

Los Angeles duo Rainbow Arabia might be Maus Haus’ ideal match, judging from the sounds pouring from the five-song 2008 disc **The Basta.** Is this the ethnotronica that we’ve been waiting for? When I spoke to Danny Preston -- who formed the group with his wife Tiffany and his collection of microtonal keyboards from the Middle East -- he reluctantly copped to the loose alliances the pair have been building with kindred spirits like High Places – bands that explore the field recordings and folk music of non-Western countries, while sampling, synthesizing, and transforming the sounds as they go. Word has it tropical new wave will mark Rainbow Arabia’s latest concoctions.

Maus Haus and Rainbow Arabia play Saturday, July 25, 9:30 p.m., as part of the Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival at Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., S.F. Pierre Le Robot and DJ Gatsby open. $10. (415) 621-4455,

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