The Fall of Troy
Equal Vision Records

That line about youth being wasted on the young doesn’t really apply to The Fall of Troy. This math-rock trio is comprised of virtuoso Thomas Erak on guitar and vocals, Tim Ward on bass and Andrew Forsman on drums, and every one of them is under 21. Youngsters ain’t supposed to be this good.

Not that The Fall of Troy doesn’t know it—Doppelganger is one long runway strut featuring Erak’s searing layered guitar riffs and a series of bass lines and drum fills that switch time quicker than the flight board at O’Hare airport. The vocals alternate between well-harmonized emo choruses and blood-curdling screams, but overall take a back seat to the listen-to-what-we-can-do prog-rock musicianship. And that’s just fine.

Doppelganger is the Seattle band’s second full-length album, and its first on a larger label. The result is four polished-up retreads from the initial release, most of which become highlights. “F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X.” stands out as the most complete example of all of Troy’s talents, while new songs like “Tom Waits” and “Laces Out, Dan!” charge forward with little regard for pacing or eardrums.

Momentum is on the side of these adolescents—after a summer on the Warped Tour, Billboard registered Doppelganger in its top 25 for new artists—so don’t expect The Fall of Troy to crumble anytime soon. (Skylar Browning)

The Fall of Troy plays Monday, Oct. 3, at 9 PM, at the Elk’s Lodge. Minus My Thoughts, On The Last Day and Your Divine Tragedy open. $5.


It’s been some time since a band came across the desk that succeeded in being cute, smart and annoying all at the same time. Congratulations, Princess, for challenging my critical dexterity, and forcing me to replay almost every song from your debut album just so I could comprehend what the hell was going on.

This Chicago noise-rap duo is two white guys who play any number of instruments (banjo, drums, synthesizer, etc.) surprisingly well and use those talents to create monsoons of worthless din. Similarly, Michael O’Neill and Alexis Gordon spit out streams of original, wholly laughable lyrics (“Move your body, don’t be snotty…Get real high like you’re doing a shotty with Scottie…Pippin”) and at other times repeat single lines until the whole effort seems forced (“With friends like these, who needs enemas?”). The disparity is maddening.

Even after multiple listens, I fully admit I don’t quite get Princess. They’re that girl in “Seinfeld” who looks ravishing in some lights and hideous in others. What I do know is this: listening to Princess made me appreciate locals Bacon & Egg that much more—our hometown noise-rap duo performs a vaguely similar act, but much better. (Skylar Browning)

Princess play the Elk’s Lodge Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 9 PM. Bacon & Egg and Rome is Falling open. $5.

The Stiletto Formal
Masochism In The Place of Romance

How’s this for dedication: The Stiletto Formal’s bassist, Paul Neely, gave up his free ride to Arizona State University just one year from a degree to tour right now with his up-and-coming band. Judging from their debut release, Neely’s willy-nilly decision just may be worth it.

This Phoenix, Ariz., sextet is full of sass and style and various sounds—something like The Cure if Robert Smith played more cowbell.

Take “Black Tar Concubine,” a rocker that starts with Jimi Lamp’s looping guitar riffs and Nole Kennedy’s tight drumming over lead singer Kyle Howard’s high-pitched “oh-oh” refrain. It’s only mid-way through the song, just as the gingerly backup vocals of keyboardist Shelly Barnes start to melt your heart, that the clanking of a cowbell thoughtfully emerges, and then, moments later, that little surprise is surpassed by the escalating tones from Sunny Davis’ cello. Somehow, it all works—cowbells and cellos coming together in a big-sounding indie band.

And it’s not even the best song: “Murder at the Stiletto Formal” opens the six-song effort with a long ’80s-influenced dance-hall number, and “Hills Like White Elephants” pulsates with Howard’s dire vocals and a dark rhythm.

Masochism is a promising debut. Make Neely proud—check it out. (Skylar Browning)

,b>The Stiletto Formal plays upstairs at the Elk’s Lodge Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 9 PM. Sparrow’s Gate, Briertone and Casual Drama open. $5.

The New Pornographers
Twin Cinema
Matador Records

Like superstar New York chef Alain Ducasse preparing a gold-leafed chocolate bar, The New Pornographers take familiar pop confections and turn them into decadent, heady indulgences. With gale-force harmonies reminiscent of The Cars, pituitary-pleasing high-voltage arrangements and compositions bursting with so many hooks they could stock a tackle shop, Twin Cinema promises to establish The New Pornographers as one of the most exciting rock ’n’ roll bands in the world today.

The Pornographers cite a raft of post-Beatles plush-pop influences, from 10cc to the Moody Blues to Genesis. But don’t expect the languid, over-produced AOR of the ’70s. The Pornographers come at you with real fury, pounding the sound right down into your heels. The best track is “The Jessica Numbers”—relentlessly firing on every measure, its off-kilter meter and stinging guitar plowing the way for a freight train of harmony, highlighted by the sophisticated voice of alt-country chanteuse Neko Case.

Seductively tickling the mind with clever displays of intellect, and so thoroughly pleasurable it could lead to an unseemly loss of self-control, Twin Cinema lures its audience into an irresistible orgy of power pop. Puritans beware. Listen just once and The New Pornographers will surely become an obsessive preoccupation. (Matt Gibson)

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