A Sugarcult high 

Fight the seasonal blahs with some sweet pop-rock.

SWEET: Sugarcult.
  • SWEET: Sugarcult.

Is the winter weather getting you down? Is going to work in the dark and coming home from work in the dark starting to make you feel as if you may never see the sun shine again? Does the chilling wind and drizzling rain make the world seem bland, bitter, and tasteless?

Have no fear, Sugarcult is here. The band’s supersweet Sunshine State pop rock is such mainstream MTV candy it might give you a cavity. Sugarcult will be playing the Village this Saturday, Nov. 11, along with with the Pink Spiders, Meg and Dia, and All Time Low.

Predictably based out of Los Angeles, Sugsrcult’s sound is that perfect peg in the pre-fabricated round hole of modern California pop rock. What exactly does that mean? Let’s put it this way: The band was featured on an episode of “Super Sweet Sixteen” on MTV. For those of you not familiar with the show, it involves documentary footage of privileged, usually overtly spoiled, 15-year-olds planning exorbitant 16th birthday parties on their parents’ dime. Sugarcult played for a set of triplets (yes, triplets) from Fremont, Calif., to the tune of $40,000. Despite the fact that $40,000 being spent for a band at a 16-year-old’s birthday party makes me a bit ill, Sugarcult probably was the perfect choice for the venue. Their clean-shaven ’90s punk pop-rock sound resembles a less savvy version of the Killers or the Strokes.

They were the opening band on Green Day’s “American Idiot” tour and they sound it. Although their music often seems to want to jump from the bondage of blandness, it’s the lyrics that hold the music down. Sugarcult’s newest album, “Lights Out,” is a little edgier, but with lyrics like “I want a girl that won’t talk back…” and “Gonna feel, feel, feel you up….” (which would probably not be so offensive were they not screamed, nearly falsetto, directly into the microphone) they are skirting some lines that should probably not be crossed if they ever want to make it out of the headbangers’ Neanderthal ballroom.

Joining them will be another band that delivers more style than substance, Nashville’s Pink Spiders. They emerged wearing signature hot pink threads in a town full of cowboy boots and rhinestones. They signed with CI Records in the summer of 2004, and, after some success, were picked up by Geffen in 2005. With their trademark hot pink and their over-portrayal of the ultimate rock ’n’roll lifestyle, they seem to be trying for a Rolling Stones or Sex Pistols sort of anarchy vibe. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that the hip factor can’t be forced, and although imitation is the highest form of flattery, it’s also just a shtick. Snobbery aside, they are the younger generation’s answer to rock pop, and why shouldn’t we give the people what they want? Guilty pleasure is a key element of rock ’n’ roll.

Speaking of giving the people what they want, the Village delivers with Pete Yorn on Friday, Nov. 10. He struck gold with “musicforthemorningafter” in 2001 and his most recent album, “Nightcrawler,” has been called both his best and “vague, hazy pop.” Though Yorn says his album tells a story, critics have suggested that instead of listening to the words you should just enjoy Yorn’s husky/sweet vocals. The Dixie Chicks are featured on a track and Yorn himself (after putting out more low-key, country-leaning albums) says this is definitely a rock album.

Also this week: Paleo, These United States, Mat Mahar, and Damn Bullets at the Treehouse (109 S Cedar). Paleo’s front man, David Strackany, meshes quite nicely with local acoustic guitar player Mahar. Both have that strange, creepy sweet vibe in their music and delivery. Paleo’s sound is certainly more put together, and he takes a few more risks in his vocal delivery, resulting in an absolutely pleasant and original listening experience. Also playing: These United States. With muted vocals and brass instruments, they are called “rolling, garage-folk” (or the newest category via Danielson and Devendra, “weird folk”) and their experimental, subdued vibe seems appropriate for the next Zach Braff film. Joining them are local acoustic indie singer (and Paul Simon vocal double) Matt Mahar as well as the Damn Bullets, pushing bluegrass to the next dimension.

Sticky Fingerz hosts rockabilly veterans the Dempseys on Friday, Nov. 10, and Austin singer Patrice Pike on Saturday, Nov. 11. At the Revolution Room on Saturday, Nov. 11, hear a Conduit Fam hip-hop lineup with Suga City, Epiphany, XXzotic, Bware, X2C, DK and Soulja T, and Maria V. On Saturday at White Water, check out the KABF Benefit featuring Nathan Browningham, Real Fighting, and Rockstar. On Sunday at Juanita’s, it’s hard rock with the Melvins and Big Business. On Friday, there’s another Acoustic Sounds Cafe with the Celtic sounds of Willson and McKeet. Opening will be jazz guitarist Rhett Butler.




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