2008 Music Award Nominees: Best Pop Band
(Thanks to the bands for permission to post music!)
(GAH taken by Rick Gould)
Gentleman Auction House
Perhaps the pesky (and incorrect) Arcade Fire comparisons that have dogged Gentleman Auction House will finally disappear when the septet releases Alphabet Graveyard next month. Recorded at Silver Sonya Studios in Washington, D.C., Graveyard’s wintry pop songs incorporate reggae beats, new-wave sass, Rick James funk, bubblegum-soul and Bright Eyes-like folk. The band’s formidable live show has become one of the city’s best – thanks mainly to its ultra-danceable grooves and such playful touches as a cover of Rihanna’s hip-pop “Breakin’ Dishes.” -- Annie Zaleski
Main Stage, 3 p.m.
Jon Hardy & the Public
Like any good pop band, Jon Hardy & the Public doesn’t find the genre’s traditional verse-chorus-verse structure limiting. The group’s fantastic 2007 release Working in Love often bettered the warm-toned soul and barbed hooks of Spoon while channeling the tortured souls of ‘70s power-pop royalty and hints of Springsteen’s working-class sorrow. -- Annie Zaleski
Main Stage, 2 p.m.
Denizens of the city’s Irish (and Irish-friendly) pubs know Kevin Buckley for his prowess on the fiddle. But in rock clubs, he’s known as the man behind the pure pop outfit Grace Basement. Last year’s New Sense was full of compact, meaningful gems, such as the Superchunk-esque “Orphan Annie and the Dump Truck” and the twangy-folk standout “Santa Fe.” Buckley’s not one content to settle on one genre for long, though; the new podcast “Nestor Part I” on his MySpace demonstrates a prominent psych-folk influence (think Beta Band or My Morning Jacket). -- Annie Zaleski
Pi, 9 p.m.
As a pop band that hits on punk and classic ‘70s rock & roll, the music of the Sex Robots is best experienced when its shambolic two-and-a-half-minute burners are witnessed live; its concerts are effortless in the way that only experienced musicians can present. Mostly, the members of the Sex Robots just make it all look so damn easy. Its pop elements are enhanced with bass grooves, thumping drums and virtuoso guitar shredding, and its lyrics contain depth and small stories. But like any good pop band, the presentation takes over any deep message. -- Jaime Lees
Delmar Lounge, 9 p.m.
The list of piano-led rock groups that don’t totally suck is a short one, but the piano-bass-drums trio the Feed makes a case for the keyboard’s supremacy. Using a battery of vintage keyboards that would make Rick Wakeman proud, Dave Grelle infuses no small measure of soul into his band’s rock-centric sound, both in his playing and singing. In their quest to be completely guitar-free, the band members treat their instruments like a six-string, running organs and saxophones through stomp boxes to create elastic, crunchy tones that rub up against Ben Reece’s liquid bass lines and Kevin Bowers’ intuitive drumming. -- Christian Schaeffer
Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room, 4 p.m.
MP3: The Feed, "Stella"