The Junior Panthers play lush, head-filling indie pop. I’m compelled to call them shoegazery, but really their sound is too upbeat to label them anything introverted and/or self-involved. As soon as I got close to the stage at the Du Nord, I found myself wrapped in pleasantly complex, melodic tunes that made me forget my ex-girlfriend, global warming and the three slices of sausage and pepperoni pizza with chili flakes I’d eaten that afternoon.


There’s a lot to love about HIJK, but you should probably just go to one of their shows. Not only are Mike, Dave and Trevor nice dudes and snappy dressers, they are also 110% into making unabashedly shiny, emotionally driven pop music. When I first laid hands on their self-titled EP, my feeling was they were like a low-key Jimmy Eat World with a touch of the Promise Ring. They just came off a tour with Love is Chemicals, so their set was game tight. Their new album is out real soon.


The Dont's kind of seem like a team of superheroes, like the X-men but with fewer members and no apparent powers except the ability to make you shake your booty. Johnny Don’t is an outstanding front man. His charismatic, on-the-verge-of-being-way-too-into-his-cowbell, near ranting, faux lounge singer persona is totally entertaining. From their poppy hooks to their post-punk nuanced guitars and vocals, the Dont's are the band you expect to rock your Birthday BBQ before they abscond with a twelve-pack of Miller Light to save the city from evildoers.