Put on your fanciest gladrags: The Ditty Bops
are coming! With their beautiful voices, senses of humor that toe the line between dark irony and bright whimsy, and penchant for puppets and bicycles, the 'Bops (née Amanda Barrett and Abby DeWald) are a charming respite from a music industry glutted with sex and cynicism. But don't let the cotton-candy melodies fool you. Like their former tour partners the Dresden Dolls, the Ditty Bops juxtapose over-the-top theatricality with super-smart lyrics. Barrett and DeWald have a bone to pick with people whose sheer laziness hurts the environment (just listen to "Walk or Ride," from their 2004 debut album), and they don't just talk the talk. In 2006, the Ditty Bops went on a national tour on their bicycles. (For this tour, they're in a bio-diesel van.) If the stiflingly hot days of summer are taking the life right out of you, head to Mad Art for a revival. There's no malaise that a little mandolin, puppetry and good-natured indignation can't cure.