Maps & Atlases
Chicago’s Maps & Atlases bridge an unlikely divide between math-rock (being the domain of mostly dudes obsessing over Mars Volta’s YouTube footage) and indie-pop (the comfy cocoon of under-exercised Belle-and-Sebastian–loving library rats). Maps & Atlases toy with your inner metronome with all kinds of outlandish time signatures, stop-starts, midsong interjections, and waterfalls of guitar arpeggios cascading toward organized chaos. Amazingly, frontman Dave Davison’s unorthodox, nasally voice leads the note orgy into an authentic and oddly soothing pop. For a group that has only completed two EPs, Maps’ sound is remarkably well put together — perfect for those who have admired Deerhoof’s zany pioneering spirit but have been kept at arm’s length by the more grating edges.