Chris Webby - Tuesday, October 7 - Pub Rock
Chris Webby has "203" inked across his right side, a gothic "Connecticut" burned into the skin beneath his neck. There are the scattered images of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mario Brothers and Transformers among his tattoos; a search online suggests Simba exists on his leg, but I didn't check. Some tattooist put a coupling of eighth notes a few inches above his hip. He is suburban, aggressively so; the voice of parking lot angst, the face of middle-middle-class rage. When he tosses an unopened water bottle down at the floor, he scowls: "Motherfucker!"
Outside of the traditional hip-hop blogs, far away from radio, his is a bubbling movement, a frathouse contagion. Over more than five years on the way to eight mixtapes, two EPs, and his upcoming full-length debut, Chemically Imbalanced, Chris Webby has racked up some 124,000 followers on Twitter, 230,000 fans on Facebook and gazillions of YouTube plays. -- Jeff Rosenthal
Belle & Sebastian - Wednesday, October 8 - Civic Space Park
Belle and Sebastian guitarist Stevie Jackson hoped to be celebrating Scottish independence. What better way to commemorate 18 years of making music, the re-release your out-of-print vinyl back catalog, and your first-ever Phoenix appearance in a place (Civic Space Park) putting on its major-concert-venue pants for the first time? Alas, despite polls to the contrary, the Scots chose not to break with England. He had a feeling the referendum might fail, yet it still surprised him.
"I'm bitterly disappointed," Jackson, a Glaswegian, says. "It's a great opportunity lost, seems like. But I think something irreversible has happened. There's been a major shift. I'm one of them. I was opposed, but I've been thinking about it over the last year and thought, 'Yes, let's try it.' It's a bit of a step into the unknown."
That's a familiar place for a band that began as a college project. None of the members really knew each other, and the project only really bloomed into a career through some label-related happenstance and the overwhelming American response to Belle & Sebastian's exquisitely literate, exceptionally pretty 2006 album, If You're Feeling Sinister. -- Chris Parker
Pomplamoose - Wednesday, October 8 - Pub Rock
As of the writing of this piece, the YouTube channel of California indie duo Pomplamoose has 435,213 subscribers. Several of its unique videos, including a multi-instrumental take on the Angry Birds theme, a mashup of Pharrell songs (complete with eyeballs projected on vocalist Nataly Dawn's chest), and a cover of James Brown's "I Feel Good," have more than a million views. These videos have to follow two rules, according to Dawn's bandmate and significant other Jack Conte: What you see is what you hear, and if you hear it, at some point you see it. Pomplamoose (which take its name from the English pronunciation of the French word for grapefruit) focuses on touring and distributing their music digitally. It allows them the freedom to share their music with an audience eager to hear their peculiar take on pop hits, such as Michael Jackson's "Beat It" complete with xylophone, and original music, a hodgepodge of indie rock, folk, hip-hop, and electronic influences. Their fun and fresh approach has transcended the Internet and garnered the attention of the advertising world, as the duo played Christmas tunes for a series of Hyundai commercials. -- Jason Keil
Little Dragon - Wednesday, October 8 - Marquee Theatre
If there's one thing the Swedes know how to do, it's create perfect pop songs that American audiences love. From ABBA to Ace of Base and the Knife, their tradition of synth-laden pop that gets people up and dancing has been going strong for decades. One of the longest-running groups who trade in this genre is Little Dragon, a group that formed in 1996 but didn't get noticed in America till sometime around 2006. Since then they've been on remix after remix and guested on albums from Raphael Saadiq to Big Boi. The band's latest album, Nabuma Rubberband, hit No. 2 on the U.S. Dance charts and their singles continue to be favorites of DJs who are trying to get the night going. Expect to dance and get sweaty. -- Jaime-Paul Falcon