Broken Social Scene: The diverse, melting-pot origins of this dozen-strong rock troupe make it the most cerebral band on the ticket, but no less catchy. Horns, strings, electronica and ringing washes of feedback from a three-guitar assault work together with a rotating lineup of vocalists and it all shimmers with intensity.
Stars: Don’t confuse this six-piece’s lovesick pop as bubblegum. It’s more like espresso loaded with enough sugar to make bitterness more palatable. Subdued brass and jangly guitar decorate a latticework of percussion — both live and programmed — with clever lyrics on the complications of love.
Metric: Frontwoman Emily Haines contributed one of the most surreal and delicate vocals to BSS’s last album (“Ballad of a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl”), but her new-wave-informed band is anything but. Wiry synth lines snake around clipped guitar hooks and a rhythm section that snaps taut at a moment’s notice.
Death From Above 1979: Ear-splitting blues-punk you can dance to. If Stars’ sweetness gives you a cavity, this garage-metal duo will be happy to drill it out. On record, drummer/vocalist Sebastien Graingier’s voice is a buzz saw, but when they performed here in February, he barely cut through the din. The mosh pit didn’t seem to notice.
The Dears: Comparisons to The Smiths, and their sad-sack legacy abound, but Murray Lightburn’s orchestral compositions move beyond heartbreak and alienation into tragedy of near-operatic proportions. He isn’t afraid to lose his cool for dramatic effect, either, and he has the pipes to back it up. (J.J.)
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