The Airborne Toxic Event
Label: Island Records
For this LA-based guitar pop band, channeling devastating life events into song is an upbeat artform. Clearly taking cues from masked melancholy masters The Smiths, or more recently Arcade Fire, frontman/lyricist Mikel Jollett sings his pained, poetic stories about heartbreaking run-ins with exes ("Sometime Around Midnight"), and desperate attempts to calm his nerves ("Something New"). Meanwhile the optimistic, new-wave inspired, violin-heavy musicality of the band shrouds the depressive words in disco beats and post-punk fervor.