Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti, Michigan's Mason Proper list Blur, Radiohead, the Pixies, the Flaming Lips, and Michel Gondry as their influences on their Myspace. In Mr. Charm (mp3), I hear the Blur, but none of the others. I also hear a Devo-ish New Wave angle, though, and the manic guitar attacks, sci-fi D-movie sounds, and vocal echoes give it an attitude that won me over.
Preorder There is a Moth in Your Chest.
I'm Already Dead (mp3) is upbeat gloom pop by Compass, with a melody and structure resembling early (Holiday-era) Magnetic Fields. The songwriting doesn't have the biting wit of Stephin Merritt's, but then, there's only one Stephin Merritt, isn't there. Besides, this is not a song about me, you & someone else's boyfriend. It's a dark declaration of lost hope: I'm already dead/Dead cells in my head/Just want to go to sleep for awhile/Just let me go to bed. But it's a danceable, charming declaration of lost hope.
Despite all this talk about crushed hope, Compass are donating all profits from the sale of their Munchy the Bear LP to Oxfam. Own it here.