The Weakerthans
WHO Led by former Propagandhi member John K. Samson, this Winnipeg-based four-piece sings about the wonder and sadness found in everyday moments.
SOUNDS LIKE If your smart best friend learned to play guitar and listened only to Midwestern rock bands.
DOWNLOAD “Plea from a Cat Named Virtute”
TRADEMARK Canadian Vegetarians
The Ting Tings
WHO English duo Katie White (vocals/guitar) and Jules De Martino (drums) invert the White Stripes setup and end up with a pocket version of Blondie.
SOUNDS LIKE A pocket version of Blondie. Pay attention.
DOWNLOAD “Shut Up and Let Me Go”
TRADEMARK Dynamic duo with interesting accents
Black Kids
WHO These kids from Jacksonville, Florida, went from local opening act to UK headliner in two short years.
SOUNDS LIKE The Cure doing Bloc Party covers, or maybe the other way around.
DOWNLOAD “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You”
TRADEMARK Not just a clever name: Two of the five Black Kids are, in fact, black
Music fans are still buzzing from last month’s Lollapalooza festival, the annual three-day rock event that takes place in Chicago. Even if you didn’t make it to the show this year, here are six on-the-verge bands from the lineup that you need to know.
Rogue Wave
WHO Originally started as an outlet for singer/ guitarist Zach Rogue’s quieter solo material, it’s evolved into a full-fledged group capable of grand gestures and simple pleasures.
SOUNDS LIKE A body built of Shins, Flaming Lips, and Bright Eyes.
DOWNLOAD “Lake Michigan”
TRADEMARK None, unless you count their omnipresent Zune commercial
Explosions in the Sky
WHO This Texas instrumental quartet captures the wide-open spaces and sweeping beauty of its home state so well that it was hired to score the film version of Friday Night Lights.
SOUNDS LIKE The lead-up to -- and aftermath of -- a West Texas hailstorm.
DOWNLOAD “Catastrophe and the Cure”
TRADEMARK Blistering live performances
The Whigs
WHO A power trio that formed at the University of Georgia, this band reaffirms the indie-rock tradition of Archers of Loaf and Superchunk. They record for Dave Matthews’ label.
SOUNDS LIKE The kind of band you would have heard on a really good early-’90s college radio station.
DOWNLOAD “Right Hand on My Heart”
TRADEMARK Extended adolescence