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Bands to Watch: Metric

Who: Perky new wave quartet from Los Angeles via Toronto andNew York City. Fronted by an intimidatingly cool, swaggering artgirl, Metric include a guitarist who was formerly a renegadeJuilliard trumpet student, an earnest drummer who immediatelyadmits he’s fibbing about being related to national anthemcomposer Francis Scott Key, and an earthy, dreadlocked bassist whoowns up to having no knowledge of J.Lo.

Sound like: Their debut, Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?,rocks like a sexy librarian: smart, sassy, and classy. On “Combat Baby”and “Dead Disco” (both of which have received radio airplay),singer/keyboardist Emily Haines’ sweetly edgy voice and slinky synthsnever waver, even as the songs veer from playfully danceable toelegantly eerie.

Kicking it Billy Joel-style:“Keyboards have joined the ranks of serious rock instruments,” Hainesproclaims. Indeed, Metric’s slick, hip-shaking live act reveals noevidence of the pianist’s perennial dilemma: less-than-cool stageposes. Guitarist James Shaw says, “If you want to get up with akey-tar, go for it!”

As a bonus, they’ll catch your spirit if it flies away:“I had a transcendent experience in Detroit,” Haines says, describingan intense audience. “I hit some crazy high note and felt like thecrowd’s souls all landed on me.”