Lars Gotrich

Flesh World's story reads like something out of a cult comic book: two San Francisco musicians from seemingly different worlds bond over The Velvet Underground and The Jesus And Mary Chain, and start a cool band in the process.

The World's Ugliest Dog competition is a lie, or at least misleadingly named. Foldover skin, permanently protruding tongues, untameable wiry hair — those dogs are adorable and anyone who says otherwise has no heart. Noise-rock, on the other hand, thrives on ugly. It is the parasitic, shape-shifting monster of music, and Couch Slut is here to explosively mutate into a creature from The Thing.

Big Hush's first two cassettes are full of quiet songs played loud. With members from Pygmy Lush and Flasher, the D.C.-based band features (appropriately) hushed vocals from all four members, cooing over a messy, punk-sick shoegaze. It can, from songs that read as intimately as notes passed between friends, make for quite the harmony-riddled racket.

Lo Tom's debut is a serious rock 'n' roll record that doesn't take itself too seriously. "Nobody is in charge," the band claims. "The album is pink..." and features a chihuahua with sunglasses.

We wrapped a bottle in a tote bag and set up blankets and chairs on Bethany Beach in Delaware. The identical candy stores across the street, the foot-long hot dog shop offering exotic flavors like "Seattle-style" (with cream cheese) and "banh mi," and a bar on the boardwalk with a happy hour from early afternoon to early evening — this is not a fancy beach, but you can map glamour onto it, if you want to. (At least it's not Ocean City during spring break.) Following a round of frozen daiquiris slurped from plastic sandwich bags (we're classy), out came the rosé in red cups.

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