I love getting new CDs in the mail, honestly, and I really do try and listen to everything sent my way, but no matter how hard I try to keep up, something always slips through the cracks.

And so I apologize to Pris, because although the band has been around for many years, I neglected to recognize Burke Thomas' talents (Thomas does all the songwriting and recording in the project and then recruits friends to play the live shows). In fact, with something like five releases (including two full-lengths), it wasn't until Pris' latest record, The Kiss Off, that I finally got it.

Released in early July, The Kiss Off is 24 tracks of amazingly saturated and catchy pop songs that Thomas has recorded over the years. It's a collection of old and new songs as well as demos, so for longtime fans the material might be familiar, but for me--a dork who never paid attention--it's brand new.

Whether Pris are dabbling in more angst-ridden and turbulent rock ("The After Piss") or creating a pure pop song ("Doobie Down Down"), Thomas' talents are undeniable. The tracks are stacked with well-composed layers of guitars, keyboards, drums, and vocal melodies. And while overall the album sticks closely to its pop roots, Thomas certainly doesn't shy away from experimenting within that field with some quirkier sounds.

Currently Thomas is doubling as the drummer for Vendetta Red, but he's taking time out for a couple shows. On Friday, August 20, Pris open up for the Ruby Doe (who are currently finishing up their new record, set for release sometime in January), playing alongside the American School of Warsaw and Bench Grinder. The Graceland show starts early, at 5:00 p.m., and costs $8. And for those of you over 21, Pris also play at at Chop Suey on Monday, August 23.

As for other local bands I'd mistakenly skipped past, a Lake Stevens duo called Marlo recently passed me a CD with a few of their songs on it, and then... I lost it. Luckily the Marlo boys are on top of their game, and a follow-up e-mail reminded me that they have a few tracks available on their website, www.marlotheband.com.

Fans of the Postal Service should like Marlo's handclaps, spacy guitar sounds, and synth riffs that dance with their upbeat drum-machine beats, while United State of Electronica supporters are going to love the inevitable party that Marlo starts with their adorable pop charm.

I hear that previous live shows (of which there have been like five) have featured a stage entrance via rocket (!) and a cover of one of my all-time favorite songs, "Take on Me" by A-ha. They play to their first all-ages crowd at Graceland on August 24 with Dolour, Argo, and Tennis Pro. Doors are at 6:00 p.m., cover's $8. Be prepared to shake that ass and watch yourself.

For All Ages Action, see page 41.

megan@thestranger.com

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