Lovers Lane
ATT Internet 75

It’s too early!

| September 22, 2010

This time of year makes us nervous. Yes, the presence of pumpkins in the stores gives that Halloween feel, but we could swear we saw a Christmas store in the corner of our eye yesterday. Run to concert halls and save yourselves!

Unlike most other danceable punk-rock bands of late, Foals color their aggressive polyrhythms and metronomic upper-fret guitar chords with what smacks of a much more melodic new-wave pop sound straight out of the ’80s. The full effect is clear from Total Life Forever‘s first track, “Blue Blood,” as the simple plaintiff falsetto vocal opening in suspension between muted guitars is slowly consumed by an emotional wash of electronics before concluding in a funky, muscular horn-infused, down’n’dirty jam. Think Autechre organo-elctronica with My Morning Jacket vocals, Thompson Twins hooks, Rip Rig + Panic/Pig Bag skronk, and a dash of Tears For Fears’, uh, well, “tears,” and you begin to get the full sonic picture. While this may sound off-putting at first, it becomes irresistibly infectious with each listen. (Friday@Lincoln Hall with Esben & The Witch.)

— David C. Eldredge

With a twist on the stereotype of a scorned lover cutting their ex out of photographs, Conor J. O’Brien has taken the scissors to himself. Recording as Villagers, the Irish singer/songwriter sings in the melifluous tones of thousands of others inhabiting his indie-popped genre, but clearly doesn’t aspire to the same audience on Becoming A Jackal (Domino). On a springy “The Pact,” he bargains, “Just be my master/and I’ll be your fever,” as if he’s muttering a common phrase. His five-minute opener not only goes by “I Saw The Dead,” but scrambles for shelter under a storm of piano notes before dying, “A Day In The Life”-ish with the thud of a smashed microphone (or caved-in skull). O’Brien doesn’t sulk with Nick Drake depression or flutter and croon like an untethered James Morrison, but a cult will form around him nonetheless. (Friday@Schubas with Sad Brad Smith and Tristen.)

Chicago dance-rock auteurs Walter Meego will rehearse a new, five-member lineup and warmup for their next album. Wondervalley‘s demos were tracked in China while the official recordings were handled in the titular Californian outpost. The band asked us not to share the version of “Starlight” they sent us (the album has no release date), but weren’t quite clear if we could share our thoughts on it. So we won’t. Lips sealed. (Friday@Empty Bottle with The Single Helix.)

— Steve Forstneger

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