Annuals, Minus the Bear

Annuals are at the forefront of indie-rock's New Density movement. Comparable to contemporaries Gang Gang Dance, Islands and Yeasayer, the ADD-affected North Carolina sextet is a jubilant centrifuge of influences, compacting aspects of stadium rock, tropicalia and even country into a unique brand of cross-­pollinated pop, complete with elaborate string arrangements and huge vocal harmonies. While the music always seems to defy the listener's expectations, what's surprising is how well the band actually pulls it off. On sophomore LP Such Fun (Canvasback), Annuals scales back a bit of spastic euphoria that epitomized its stellar 2006 debut Be He Me, but boasts enough deviations to keep things interesting. Headliners Minus the Bear carve through the glistening, up-tempo rock from the band's fifth LP, last year's Planet of Ice. Be sure to keep an eye peeled for the Seattle-based quintet's tour-only EP, Acoustics.

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Austin Powell