Local Wire

Knesset @ Phoenix Art Museum

The phrase "big in Japan" is rife with negative connotations for American musicians. What does it mean when another nation is crazy for a band that remains a lesser-known act in their homeland? In the case of Phoenix indie-rock band Knesset, it simply means that the Japanese are ahead of the curve. The band has been written up in foreign publications like Rolling Stone (Germany) and NME, and has earned spins on BBC radio, but with the upcoming release of its new record, Coming of Age, don't be surprised to see the band earning stateside accolades. It's a 10-track slice of melodic, tightly crafted indie rock, augmented with tricky electronics and mournful pedal steel. Vocalist and guitarist Evan Fox spins existential dilemmas over the band's swirling mix of post-Broken Social Scene and Death Cab for Cutie pop. It's the kind of indie rock that remarkably is starting to sound classic, as purveyors of smart pop head off in directions more "of the moment." Maybe the Germans are just more focused than we Yanks.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.