Minus the Bear
Sept. 25 | The Fillmore Silver Spring | $30.50
To categorize Minus the Bear as alternative rock is to discredit the complex, calculated elements of musical sophistication within this Seattle-based group’s sound. Thrashing guitars, climactic chorus crescendos and a trendy name may seem like a formula for mimicry, but Minus the Bear have individuality up their sleeves. Jazzy undertones of “Into the Mirror” hint at the band’s aptitude and wide breadth of musical knowledge. The indie-rockers embrace musical exploration, refusing to compromise their identity for positive market reception. Luckily, the band doesn’t have to: Their 2010 album “Omni” ranked number 49 on the Billboard 200.
Score: Guitars, multiple keyboard settings and experimental synth make for an auditory and visual instrumental spectacle.
Bore: With traces of smooth jazz and frequent use of '80s-style keyboard, Minus the Bear’s style sometimes borders on cheesy.
The Temper Trap
Oct. 13 | The Fillmore Silver Spring | $25
The Temper Trap rose to prominence with “Sweet Disposition,” a dreamy track that served as the soundtrack for several television commercials and movie trailers alike. Reminiscent of Coldplay, with synth-fused pianos driving emotional, melodic verses, The Temper Trap have reclaimed light rock, sprucing it up with dense guitar riffs and digitized background vocals. Even amid nebulous instrumentals – as in their latest single “Trembling Hands” – the Australian pop-rock group manages to reach powerful musical heights.
Score: The band’s sound is diverse enough that fans of rock, pop and alternative music can all appreciate it.
Bore: It’s not as though listeners haven’t heard their style before. The Temper Trap fails to reinvent or revitalize the sound already championed by the likes of Coldplay.
Oct. 11 | Rams Head Live | $32.50
The crooning, Smashing Pumpkins-esque angst of Silversun Pickups proves polarizing: Listeners either revel in the sounds of distorted guitars and emotive vocals, or shield their ears from their punk-inspired, dreamy blend of noise. Still, the band earned fans and attention with its 2007 single “Lazy Eye,” which found its way onto the playlist of the video game Rock Band 2. Silversun Pickups prove that even the most withdrawn, against-the-grain music can captivate mainstream listeners.
Score: In an intimate setting, the nuances of Silversun Pickups’ sound will be hard to miss.
Bore: Lead singer Brian Aubert’s grainy and, at times, whiny vocals won’t please every listener.