NYC popsters Darwin Deez boast many of the traits we admire most in bands, including super catchy melodies; excess jangle; and the tendency to burst into spontaneous dance moves in laundromats and parks. In the past five years, the band—who first found fame with sugary delight “Radar Detector”—has released two records of low-stakes pop, and has delighted many a crowd with their “Thriller”-inspired moves. They’re now touring behind sophomore record Songs for Imaginary People, which sees mustachioed front man Darwin Smith trading his 4-string for a regular ‘ole 6-stringer, and adding some snark to his previously bubblegummy sound. They play JB’s this Wednesday— arrive early for opener Laser Background (a.k.a., Andy Molholt and friends), whose new record Super Future Montage dropped this week, and is one of the coolest, weirdest things we’ve heard in some time.
9:00 at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $12. Tickets available here.
Thursday, September 26: Kid Cudi with Tyler, the Creator
If the pop candies of Darwin Deez are too sweet for you, consider raging hard with the in-your-face jamz of Kid Cudi and Tyler, the Creator, who join forces this Thursday at Penn’s Landing. Since 2008, Cudi’s been an unstoppable force on the hip-hop scene, maturing from Kanye disciple to occasional rocker and umm, actor—to the monolith behind 2013’s chart-topping Indicud. Since then, he’s teamed up with everyone from Michael Bolton to Haim, proving he truly is—to quote the man himself—unf*ckwittable. Tour mate Tyler, the Creator rose to prominence as leader and co-founder of foul-mouthed collective Odd Future, then continued to win fans with his brash, uncompromising solo work, which isn’t afraid to call out the haters OR wax poetic on Big topics. Wear your high-tops, because this one will get dirty.
7:00 at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing, Columbus Blvd. and Spring Garden St., $45. Tickets available here.
Friday, September 27: Work Drugs
The aura of Work Drugs is one of sex appeal and endless cool; of breezy boat trips up the coast, and late night dance parties under twinkling lights. We’ve already detailed our love for last year’s Absolute Bearing; and since its release, the men of Work Drugs have continued to churn out charmers, including the seductive “Tigerbeats” (named after the dance party of the same name) and the oh-so-smooth Mavericks LP. Live, the band proves equally charismatic mood-masters, and their headlining show at FUC should be a very sexy way to spend a Friday night. They’re joined by local dream pop duo Lockets and prolific jangle rockers Bridge Underwater, who together should more than satiate your appetite for local talent.
8:30 at the First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St., $12. Tickets available here.
Saturday, September 28: Local Natives
On the surface, Local Natives are just another LA band writing bright, summery indie pop and earning the requisite blog buzz from doing so. Yet dig a little deeper and this band is actually so much more: where other groups are concerned only with affect or with sound, Local Natives are fully invested in exploring deep topics like love and loss, and do so with an honesty that feels both sprawling and cathartic. Their 2013 record Hummingbird landed at number 12 on the charts (not bad for an indie release!) while managing to both avoid least-common-denominator clichés and resist the easy appeal of aping 2009’s Gorilla Manor. Live, the band are complete and total maniacs (a good thing!), singing, dancing and wailing on their instruments with a fury that comes only from true passion. “Live, our music tends to take on its own communal, celebratory energy,” explains singer/guitarist Taylor Rice. We can’t wait to join in the celebration!
8:30 at the Electric Factory, 421 N. 7th St., $25. Tickets available here.
Sunday, September 29: Screaming Females + Waxahatchee
Marissa Paternoster and Katie Crutchfield are two of the most bad-ass lady rockers we’ve had the pleasure of seeing live half a dozen times, and so far, the allure has yet to wear off. As front woman/shred master for Screaming Females, Paternoster boasts killer pipes, killer shreds, and some of the most awesomely punishing melodies New Jersey has ever produced. A DIY band who started off playing house shows in New Brunswick, NJ (near the Rutgers U campus), Screaming Females signed to Don Giovanni Records in 2009, and have been raging ever since. Label mates Waxahatchee, on the other hand, don’t so much rage as they do reflect—Crutchfield’s ballads are simultaneously poignant and punk-y, brash and brittle, confessional and crushingly acerbic. Her 2013 release Cerulean Salt won her Pitchfork props as well as scores of new fans, and we can’t wait to see the new Philly transplant kill it at the F.U. Church.
8:00 at the First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St., $10–$12. Tickets available here.