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    Who? Hailing from, as their label's promotional video says, "not the capital of Stockholm and not a Norwegian cheese," Danes Lars Vognstrup and Christian Godtfredsen met when they both were living in the same Copenhagen co-op. Already active in the local scene, the two hit it off musically, a feeling that was reaffirmed when Crunchy Frog co-founder Jesper Reginal offered to sign the band almost immediately upon hearing one song. Recorded in both Copenhagen and Mexico City, Wolfkin's debut full-length, Brand New Pants, arrived in Denmark two years ago, but its Stateside release drops this week via Crunchy Frog. What's the Deal? Wolfkin play music that is as much informed by Phil Spector's Wall of Sound as it is the Beatles, Kraftwerk, and breezy indie-pop melodies.

  • Minus the Bear Roar Into the Motor City's Heart

    Despite the earnest, melodic rock of Minneapolis' Ela and thespirited avant hip-hop of Subtle -- who both impressed and confused thecrowd with its eclectic arrangements and theatrical frontman Doseone,who moved back and forth across the stage like a sideshow streetperformer -- the audience at Detroit's St. Andrew's Hall last night(Sept. 27) was really just waiting for Minus the Bear, stomping andcheering its approval as the cerebral five-piece finally emerged fromthe shadows and launched immediately into a rousing version of "BuryingLuck." And the collective energy only continued, both on-stageand on the floor, as MTB powered through an hour-long set, hardly evenstopping to breathe between songs. Instead, the breaks came with thestops and starts found in the songs themselves; the orchestrated pause,the raised arm, the chords held, both broken and warmly angular,bringing cuts like "Dr.

  • Tiny Vipers

    Who? Tiny Vipers is Jesy Fortino, the 24-year-old Seattle singer/songwriter and former burrito employee who finds making music under a different name allows her audience to put distance between her and her songs. The lovely soundscapes of Hands Across the Void, Tiny Vipers' studio debut and first release for the Sub Pop label, hit store shelves late last month. What's the Deal? Even though it was Fortino who wrote and played almost everything on her album, she still gives credit to engineer Chris Common and friend and musician Ben Cissner for helping her perfect the sparse-yet-spacious feel of Hands Across the Void.

  • Built to Spill Show Why They're Still King

    Although most of the audience at Detroit's St. Andrews Hall last night (July 16) were about half the age of Doug Martsch and his group of veteran musicians, they treated Built to Spill as if they were the hot new thing, cheering wildly as the first chords of each song were played, patiently shouting I love you while the band silently tuned their instruments, and singing along happily as Martsch and crew tore their way through a fifteen-track set spanning the band's entire history.

  • Jack Peñate

    Who? Jack Peñate grew up playing guitar in South London bands, including in one with future Maccabees guitarist Felix White, but always felt he could connect better to the audience as a solo performer. After about a year of local gigging and earning acclaim for his energetic live show (he likes to dance, so much so that his particular move won itself a name: the "Peñate Polka"), Young Turks issued his debut single in December 2006. XL picked up the singer's EP, May's Spit at Stars, with plans for a full-length to be released sometime this fall. What's the Deal? Peñate's soul-infused guitar pop on "Spit on Stars" is reminiscent of fellow South Londoner Jamie T's fast-moving, off-the-cuff reggae-rap, except instead of British grime, Peñate's clearly influenced American R&B and funk.

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