Depending on your perspective, this year's Q Concert at the Susquehanna Bank Center is either an amazing smorgasbord of talent or a total mishmash of musical genres - or perhaps both. Yet, where else can you celebrate the summer concert season with a lineup ranging from sultry, 23-year-old, history-making soul singer Leona Lewis to a trio of chastity-pledging New Jersey siblings, the Jonas Brothers, whose hyper-adrenalized songs set tweens' hearts a-flutter? With the recent addition of popsters Maroon 5 and MySpace rock phenomenon OneRepublic, R&B girl-group Danity Kane, and powerhouse singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, this show has got just about every demographic and musical taste covered. But it's Lewis who has the major buzz right now. Her
album last year became the fastest-selling U.K. debut ever.
- Nicole Pensiero
Their name might lead you to believe that Los Campesinos! are Central American peasant farmers, but, naturally, they're not. Instead, they're a seven-piece indie-rock band from Cardiff, Wales, that specializes in wordy herky-jerky pop that conveys the unease of youthful heartbreak. "Stomping on your fingers as you're clinging to the abyss," Gareth Campesino sings in the anti-romantic "My Year in Lists," adding "I cherish with fondness the day before I met you." On
Hold on Now, Youngster. . .
, violins, drums and guitars gleefully, and tweefully, chatter back and forth, most irresistibly on the effusive "You! Me! Dancing!", which earns its exclamation points.
- Dan DeLuca
Among the alterna-rock canon there is no sword so black, heavy, anthemic and cutting as Austin, Texas' metal blades. Infused with Viking mythology within their stoner eclat, the Sword is the missing link between Led Zep and Mastodon. With guitarist/vocalist J.D. Cronise, they have two albums
(Age of Winters, Gods of the Earth)
that are nearly new commandments of metal bombast. And their openers are equally rugged. While Torche is as densely metallic as its songs are contagious, Philadelphia's Stinking Lizaveta is its own wall of sound. They turn snippets of free jazz, hardcore, sludge and baser bits into a magical golden thing that holds its own brand of spirituality dear.
- A.D. Amorosi
A band can summon molten blues for only so long before it becomes somewhat tired. Thus, the Black Keys mellow out and experiment considerably on their fifth album, last month's
Attack & Release.
It also finds the Ohio guitar/drums duo - Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney - champing at the bit as a two-piece; they enlist producer Danger Mouse and pedigreed guests Ralph Carney (Patrick's uncle) and Marc Ribot to mix things up. "Things Ain't Like They Used to Be" is a softly swaying duet with teenager Jessica Lea Mayfield, offsetting the Hendrix-worthy ruckus on the album. Of course, that doesn't mean the band's devastating crunch and smoky swagger won't be in full effect in person.
- Doug Wallen
Late last year, Jacksonville, Fla.'s, Black Kids made a four-song EP available as a free download through its MySpace page (
Wizard of Ahhs
quickly became a blog sensation, and Black Kids became the indie-rock band du jour. Rightfully so, with joyfully danceable bubblegum-soul tracks such as "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You" and "I've Underestimated My Charm (Again)" (which earns extra points for opening with an allusion to '70s pranksters Sparks). Now signed to Columbia, and with Suede's Bernard Butler producing their debut album, siblings Reggie and Ali Youngblood and cohorts are poised to take their coed gang vocals, retro keyboards, and wah-wah guitars to the mainstream, and they come to Pure tonight in a Making Time event with fellow buzz-band Cut Copy.
- Steve Klinge