Sometimes sounding like it's played on a cheap casio keyboard circa 1983, I've been nonetheless impressed lately with the music of HP Mendoza.
I found Mendoza completely by accident when I came across a film called "Colma: the Musical" – a film about three high school grads and their lives after high school. Mendoza starred in the film and also wrote all the music which, I have to say, is pretty catchy.
Unfortunately, the film's soundtrack isn't available for free, but Mendoza's own solo albums are, and you can download'em on his website.
And his stuff is still well worth a listen – especially for fans of They Might Be Giants. I've been a fan of TMBG for years, but they long-ago abandoned their early sound (also cheap-keyboard-driven) and matured into a fuller-sounding band. That's not a bad thing, but I do still like their older stuff – and Lincoln ranks among their best albums.
Mendoza's music doesn't have the consistency of TMBG, but his latest effort, Nomad, is at least halfway there. It's an improvement on his first – Everything is Pop – which was more miss than hit. Nomad's songs shift between quirky (both lyrically, like Organ Donor – the most TMBG-inspired track on the album – and musically, like In this Light) to sweetly funny (Wet Dreams and Funny Schemes), and, at its best, a little dark (Dewey Decimal, and Run Away before it gets too Good).
Still, despite his budget, he's not cutting corners on his musicality. He might be limited in what he can produce technically, but his music is full of interesting harmonies and catchy melodies – even if the drumbeats sound like cheese.
TMBG fans should definitely check this out.