Pop & Hiss

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Coachella 2011: Foster the People is on the fast track

April 12, 2011 |  1:05 pm

In the week leading up to Friday's kickoff of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Pop & Hiss offers a preview of some of this year's less established or underappreciated artists.

Who: Foster the People

When: Sunday

From: Los Angeles

With only a digital EP to its name and a major label debut not out until late May, Foster the People would seem to fall under the baby-band umbrella. Massive festivals such as Coachella have plenty of such acts, and their names can be found well below the headliners, written in relatively tiny type on the festival's poster.

Yet Foster the People is ascending at a rather brisk pace, and the locals already have two sold-out shows at the El Rey in July. Sample the single "Pumped Up Kicks" above for the act's more laid-back side, and the strength of that song alone has won the band critical praises and packed clubs. Yet the summer breeze groove of "Pumped Up Kicks" barely hints at the atmospheric dance-rock storm the act can whip up. 

Foster the People's multi-keyboard set-up and left-of-center rhythms will draw comparisons to MGMT and Yeasayer, and the act shares their penchant for experimentation. Hooks materialize out of an electronic hiss, and atmospheric excursions slyly build to grandly celebratory choruses. These are heavily layered songs, built around loops, samples and oddball beats. Expect Foster the People to land one of the earlier sets of the day, but don't be surprised if the act commands the crowd like a headliner.


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-- Todd Martens