Pasadena, California's Ozma has come a long way since 1999's Songs of Inaudible Trucks and Cars, their debut album released on homemade CD-Rs. Although the power pop quintet still maintains a new wave influence, it is now much less cartoonish. On Pasadena, the group's latest release, the band no longer sounds like the sound track to an '80s video game.
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The band, which got its name from the L. Frank Baum books, was formed in 1995 but didn't get its break until 2001, when, along with Kansas City's Get Up Kids, it was chosen to open for Weezer by an online fan poll. That same year, the band was signed to Kung Fu Records, an indie label started by Joe Escalante and Warren Fitzgerald of the early '80s punk group The Vandals. Ozma released three albums for the label before disbanding in 2004. The following year, Daniel Brummel (bass/vocals) released a solo album, Speak Easy, while Ryen Slegr (guitar/vocals) and Jose Galvez (guitar/vocals) formed a new band called Yes Dear with ex-members of Arlo and Teen Heroes. The group reunited last year (with new drummer Kenn Shane) and has hit the tour circuit hard; Houston is one of 29 dates over the next six weeks.