By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
An adherent of the "more is more" philosophy, blogosphere darlings Annuals fashion widescreen pop majesties in the image of The Flaming Lips. And, like the Lips, the Raleigh, North Carolina, sextet billows with fluffy, kitchen sink arrangements that sample widely from baroque, twee and indie pop, are cooked over a '70s soft-rock swagger and get spiced with bits of electronic effusion and any spare strings the band members can lay their hands on. The band's swelling, panoramic, sonic adventures are frequently impressive (if sometimes overly grand), undercutting leader Adam Baker's pretty, more naturalistic folk-pop tendencies.
Meanwhile, opener Jessica Lea Mayfield may not be a naturalist, but her vocals sure sound like they're resolutely dragging a gimpy leg through full-moon backwoods twilight before the big storm hits. Her parched, achy twang recalls Jolie Holland in its evocative, antediluvian air, as she laments her life falling apart ("Kiss Me Again") and contemplates perfidy ("I Can't Lie to You, Love"). The Kent, Ohio, singer grew up in her family's bluegrass band and her full-length debut, With Blasphemy So Heartfelt, was produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, whose heart-wrung blues riffs augment her stormy Americana sound.
Tempe's What Laura Says also opens, offering up a style quite similar to Annuals'.
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