Cards & Quarters
Label: Frenchkiss Records
If you're a sucker for bands like the Shins, Fleet Foxes, and the Dodos, you'll instantly be drawn to the debut by this L.A. band. There are a lot of familiar sounds here: The gentle harmonies draw from Pacific Northwest influences; the rumbling builds take on Brit-rock dramatics; the jaunty beats (and an NPR namecheck) nod to the sweater-vest stylings of Vampire Weekend. Fit with a Talking Heads cover, it's quite a combo. They pull it off elegantly, but with plenty of drive, most notably from the drums, to remind us they are rockers first and foremost. Don't miss "Airplanes."