Sounds Like: Classic Eighties New Romantic bombast led into the emotional abyss by a raspy, passionate frontman.
For Fans Of: ABC, OMD, Spandau Ballet
Why You Should Pay Attention: Singles, the fourth album from this Baltimore outfit, is full of lush new wave that wouldn't sound out of place at an Eighties revival party – synth spangles and crisp hooks abound. But the emotional quotient is sent into the stratosphere by frontman Samuel T. Herring. On record, he's a close talker, his gritty rasp scraping against the smooth textures laid down by his bandmates. The live show, however, operates on another level – Herring throws himself into each syllable, commanding the stage with his movement and emotion. His dancing so transfixed David Letterman that, after the band appeared on the Late Show, the talk-show host used clips of it to punctuate his monologues. "People hear with their eyes, too," Herring says. "You put the things together – the movement and the sound, it comes together."
They Say: "We wanted to make music that was high-spirited and would bring energy into a room, so people would have a good time," says Herring. "That's something in the Baltimore scene, too – people want to do something and have a good time with it, and have fun with it. There's many different reasons why we make music, but the jumping-off point is that we did this because it brought us joy and it brought our friends joy. That's why we did it, and that's why we continue to do it."
Hear for Yourself: The performance of "Seasons (Waiting On You)" that launched a flurry of Letterman asides. MAURA JOHNSTON