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The Faint

Retro-synth rockers The Faint burst out of Nebraska with 1999's self-consciously titled Blank-Wave Arcade, which combined rigid, machine-like drumbeats, haunting synth peels and vocoderized vocals. Where Blank-Wave focused on the interpersonal--"Casual Sex" and "Worked Up So Sexual," for example--last year's Danse Macabre commented on our work-defined culture with songs like "Your Retro Career Melted" and "Agenda Suicide," which laments: "The element of progress/that you mention is gone/it de-evolved/all we want are just pretty little homes."

More than simply rote retro-ists, the Lincoln, Neb., quintet is also a terrific live band. Besides wearing "stage clothes" designed with an eye to Gary Numan-esque chic, the band sways and dips in unison, with vocalist Todd Baechle fiercely gripping the mike like a corn-fed, hair-tamed answer to Robert Smith. They're also incredibly tight, with last year's addition of one-time death metal guitarist Dapose adding a searing edge to their already impressive sound. With The Faint getting a rep as a band to watch, it's no wonder that multi-platinum act No Doubt, grabbing for some indie cred, recently had the synth wonderboys open for them on a batch of dates. Local band Cold Sides takes the middle slot on this bill, with female-fronted indie pop band The Reputation (who have a self-titled debut disc on Initial Records) opening the show Sunday, April 28 at the Cat's Cradle. --Chris Parker

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