BARING IT ALL: In the music world, sometimes timing is everything. In less than a year, Kiwi synth poppers The Naked And Famous (TNAF) have gone from homegrown favorites to global stars, thanks to a buoyant and earwormy LP that sounds remarkably similar to those other skyrocketing sequencer lovers, Passion Pit. (In truth, the first time I heard TNAF’s “Young Blood,” I bet money it belonged to the N.Y.C.-based band. Ooops.) Considering the acts’ similar creative time lines — and similar fan appeal — it seems almost pointless to argue over who got there first, especially now that TNAF are touring stateside and playing SOhO Restaurant & Music Club on Friday, December 16.
Instead, I’m taking this week’s show as another (great) excuse to relive the silly and spring-loaded slam-dance fest that occurred around this time last year, when Passion Pit rocked a nearly sold-out Granada. Like that show, Friday’s affair threatens to be a raucous one, no doubt brimming with youngsters who’ll come prepared to scream-sing their way through the set list. But it’s also certain to be jam-packed with all the infectious cuts off of TNAF’s debut, Passive Me, Aggressive You.
As the title implies, the album is a potent mix of synthesizers, sequencers, bouncy samples, jarring industrial guitar lines, and electronic drums. Mid-album aggressor “Spank” even delves into the realm of Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode at points, thanks to heavy vocal effects and a pulsing back beat. At its most upbeat, Passive Me may be the epitome of electro-rock lite, but when these five delve a bit deeper, the result is slightly sinister dance pop that most music fans should be able to get behind. In other words, pack your dancing shoes and prepare for a crowd. The Naked And Famous play a sold-out all-ages show at SOhO on Friday, December 16, at 8 p.m. with openers White Arrows. For info, visit clubmercy.com.
A VERY METAL XMAS: If you’re more partial to circle pits than Passion Pits, however, I recommend heading down to Velvet Jones this Friday for a metal fest of massive proportions For the first time in, well, quite some time, S.B. goblin rockers Nekrogoblikon will plug in to headline a night’s worth of hardcore and headbang-ready tune-age. Since forming in 2006 (and playing our very first Independent-sponsored S.B. Bands Showcase in 2007), these five youngsters have truly grown into their own, recording two full-length albums and collecting nearly 3,000 Facebook fans in the process. This weekend, the guys team up with area shredders Snakefist, Eating Fear, Raised by Wolves, and Missiles for Misdemeanors for X-Metal Spectacular, a festive and surely guitar-solo-filled ode to the holidays, hard-rock style. The show is all-ages and starts at 7 p.m. Visit electricsex.ticketleap.com for tickets and info.
FLASH FORWARD: And if you’re anything like me, your holiday wish list includes at least a few must-have concert tickets. (Santa, if you’re reading this, those Coachella passes would be really appreciated, kthanx.) As such, the promoting gods have been smiling brightly on us music fiends of late. In the past few weeks, we’ve gotten word of some killer bills headed our way in 2012, including Handsome Furs’ January 17 gig at SOhO, and Cults’ long-awaited return to S.B.(They’ll play Velvet Jones on March 24.) For those with good hookups — or extreme faith in jolly ole Saint Nick — Wilco’s sold-out Friday, February 10, show at the Arlington with openers White Denim is shaping up to be next quarter’s must-have ticket. And if you’re looking to get your dance on, L.A. deejay, UCSB alum, and all-around party starter Steve Aoki just announced a January 20 stop at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in support of his soon-to-be-released new album, Wonderland. It’s a fitting title indeed, especially considering the bevy of winter goods that seems to be headed our way.