Margot & the Nuclear So and So's, Mike Bloom, and Alive in Wild Paint are scheduled to perform on Wednesday, May 28.
From the music to their name, there's an unmistakable precociousness at play with Margot & the Nuclear So & So's — perhaps not surprising given the moniker was inspired by The Royal Tenenbaums. Certainly don't hold it against singer/guitarist Richard Edwards and his seven compatriots, who manage to thread the needle between the Arcade Fire's vibrant, unpredictable art rock and the navel-gazing tweeness typically associated with K Records. The Indianapolis octet's debut, The Dust of Retreat, balances careening, string- and horn-fueled arrangements with sweet, melodious broken-hearted odes, lightened by a bit of playfulness, as on "Paper Kitten Nightmare," where Edwards meows the chorus like an old Meow Mix commercial. Unlike many chamber pop-oriented acts, Margot rock convincingly ("Barfight Revolution, Power Violence") despite their preference for ringing, folk-tinged melodies. Edwards' breathy tenor drifts through the music with the melancholy downcast air of '80s New Wave romantics: "I am alive and that is the best that I can do," Edwards sings at one point, before complaining, "My love is dressing me like a clown." The shambling, meandering pace contributes to the homey sound, which, while not lo-fi, is decidedly unfussy for something so orchestrated. Their signing to a major (Epic releases their followup, Animal, in July) offers further evidence of their idiosyncratic charms.