So you're not a huge Black Eyed Peas fan, and you haven't heard a new Garbage song since '96. And let's face it-Snoop and 311 just don't cut it when your stash gets confiscated at the entrance. Don't fret. Here are some under-the-radar artists who not only deserve your attention, but your dollars as well.
Armed Love (Burning Love)
The (International) Noise Conspiracy is the band that singer Dennis Lyxzen formed when his first band, Refused, imploded. Refused's last release, The Shape of Punk to Come, was one of the best albums of the late '90s, and Lyxzen hasn't exactly been able to match its scorching intensity. But he's getting closer with Armed Love. Produced by Rick Rubin, it's not only INC's hardest and best yet; it's also the most melodic, which makes Lyxzen's communist diatribes bearable when they play live.
Future Perfect (DMZ/Red Ink)
Not even producer T-Bone Burnett could help Future Perfect hint at how amazing these guys are live. Stock up on sunblock because assaults like "Blanket" and "Angry Candy" will melt your face off if you're not prepared. And unlike a certain other female drummer performing this year (here's a hint: it's Meg White), Carla Azar can wail like a woman possessed.
Music To Start A Cult To (Stinky Records)
Looking like something that moseyed off the set of Carnivále and fronted by the eerily gorgeous Jesika von Rabbit (herself resembling an offspring of Cher and Greg Allman who was abandoned in the Mojave desert and raised by coyotes), Gram Rabbit sounds like a significantly less raunchy Peaches backed by Sergio Leone's house band. Expect to be weirded out, but not able to take your eyes off her-I mean, them.
Something For Rockets
Something For Rockets (Tragic City)
Hopefully Something For Rockets will play at twilight because- despite their insatiable, and often pretentious, lyrics-this is perfect cuddling music. Singer Rami Perlman (son of Itzhak, not Rhea) intimates about lust and love like an indie R. Kelly backed by atmospheric pop hooks. Could be the next Postal Service, albeit the R-rated version.
Impossible Broadcasting (Artemis)
More a pastiche of artists than an actual band, Trans-Global Underground easily segues from bizarre Saharan reggae ("Cikan-Le Message") to audacious gypsy techno ("Take the A-Tram"). Either way you slice it, expect belly dancing and drunk frat boys who think they can dance. It moves ya.
Shirley Manson doesn't make you tingle anymore? Witness Chantal Claret who, sounding like a resurrected Bon Scott, coos things like, "First it was my legs, now my heart is open." Morningwood's debut is ultimately satisfying, but they should stick to rocking. Songs like "Nth Degree" are catchy, but they sound like Aqua if they had added a little raunch to their Barbie world. Watch out though, I've heard they're so good live that when they play "Take Off Your Clothes," people take it way too literally.
Enter The Mowo! (Hyena)
Adam Dorn (aka Mocean Worker) makes songs like they were tailored specifically to yuppiefied car commercials. Not to imply that it's not entertaining at times, but Enter The Mowo! really works when the songs get darker. Expect to hear the incandescent "I'll Take the Woods" on 94.9's Big Sonic Chill any day now.