Los Microwaves — David Javelosa (aka David Microwave), Meg Brazil and Todd Rosa — were a San Francisco trio in which synthesizers predominated. Although they issued 45s as early as 1979, their debut album came out in 1981, by which time leader Javelosa (who’s done other production/playing jobs since) had done a five-song, 12-inch EP on his own, using musicians outside his band.
Life After Breakfast shows promise, employing machines to make music that is arty but not obtuse; the vocals (shared by Brazil and Javelosa) don’t display the same restraint, too often wandering off into dissonant unpleasantness. On the whole, while the album has its moments, too much draggy material and annoying passages ankle it.
Javelosa’s solo effort is much better, offering straightforward (for synths, that is) pop music with swirling keyboards (including familiar-sounding organ), acoustic drums and engaging vocals. The record shows polish, but retains a slightly amateurish sense, making it paradoxically complex and simple at the same time.
Baby Buddha, which involves Javelosa and some of Los otro Microwaves, is a concept piece — one side of his originals, the remainder irreverently synthed-up covers of such standards as “My Generation,” “Stand by Your Man” and “All Shook Up.” Although portions are both funny and fun, too much of it is merely an overly weird in-joke.