Guster

There's no drummer in Guster. Instead, a standing percussionist hits skins and even cymbals with just his taped-up fingers. It may not make a huge difference in the band's sound--there's still a kick drum after all--but it's the first clue that the band is a little out of the ordinary. The mostly acoustic trio (supplemented on the road by an additional guitarist/bassist) plays songs that aren't sweet enough for pop, aren't hard enough for rock and are too energetic for folk. Basically, Guster is a jam band that doesn't jam, instead trading musical improvisation for creative oddity. It covered the Violent Femmes' self-titled album for an MTV2 special last November, and along with the steadily increasing supply of live recordings it sells online via Apple's iTunes, it also offers a version of its major-label debut, Keep It Together, sung using only the word "meow." Let's see Phish top that.
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Sander Wolf