Foals, Freelance Whales, the Naked and Famous
(Showbox at the Market) Oxford, England, five-piece Foals make a self-sharpening indie calculus of rock music. As a singular image, Foals' sound is an aircraft-carrier-sized flying machine made out of razors that produces snowflakes. It's piloted by painter Chuck Close, and each snowflake jettisoned is different from the next. Inside this floating fortress of cold steel is a clockwork maze of automated razors, ice shavers, and blades. Gears of cutlery spin in logarithmic rotations, forming snowflakes by the million. TRENT MOORMAN
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August Burns Red, Set Your Goals, Texas in July
(El Corazón) Such a shame, what happened to Set Your Goals. Their debut EP, Reset, was a catchy, rad blast of posi-hardcore/pop punk—no reinvention of the wheel, of course, but it wasn't a complete cliché. It was reminiscent of Latterman, even—dudes just doing it for fun. Then Set Your Goals signed to Epitaph, their album covers looked like really ugly tattoos, their songs featured folks like Paramore's Hayley Williams and New Found Glory's Chad Gilbert, and the band quickly transformed into an overproduced poster band for Warped Tour. Sigh. MEGAN SELING
Cults, Magic Kids, White Arrows
(Crocodile) New York's Cults create heat-hazy, sucrose-heavy pop that exudes youthful innocence and earnestness. Cute female/male vocals, neck-hair-raising glockenspiel embellishments, euphoric keyboard swells, and immediately catchy melodies put Cults on the same fast track for medium-sized stardom down which Best Coast are zooming. They are going to be intensely loved by many people in their late teens and early 20s. And then they won't anymore... sooner rather than later. DAVE SEGAL
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