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Puffy AmiYumi 

With Tally Hall. Wednesday, July 19, at the House of Blues.

What do Japanese pop darlings Puffy AmiYumi have in common with the Beatles and the Jackson Five? All three bands were morphed into TV cartoons. Puffy, superstars in their native land, are best known in America for their kooky Cartoon Network show Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi. But their terrific new disc, Splurge, might shift stateside attention back to the music.

Unlike the earlier Japanese cult band Shonen Knife, Puffy (fronted by Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura) isn't made up of cute primitives singing in fractured English. Ably assisted by power-pop maven Andy Sturmer (ex-Jellyfish), this bilingual dynamic duo dishes up hook-happy gems like "Call Me What You Like," "Tokyo I'm On My Way," and "Radio Toyko" that speak the international language of rock and roll. Zesty as wasabi and sweet as mango mochi ice cream, Puffy's music exudes an infectious spirit that brightens up the dreariest day. So leave your Ami and Yumi action figures at home and experience the real thing.

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