Ten acts that could almost pass as jam bands

Animal Collective at the Ogden Theatre this past September.
Animal Collective at the Ogden Theatre this past September.
Tom Murphy

There are countless bands that stray from the traditional song formula and jam the hell out live. Many of these acts fall under the amorphous indie tag, but there are a few that have notable prog- and psychedelic rock undercurrents flowing through their music, which is naturally conducive to improvisation and exploration. As such, these bands often take chances, and some really have a knack for playing on the cuff live. While they're obviously not, here are ten acts that could almost pass as jam bands.

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10. Poolside This California group is fast getting attention for the "daytime disco" dance parties its shows create, as well as the outfit's ability to improvise and explore during songs in the live setting. Some have dubbed Poolside as "lounge jam band," for the disco-tinged mellow electro sound being made by Filip Nikolic and Jeffrey Paradise, whose beats and shimmery synths blend into each other nicely, resulting in songs that can grow and expand as the dancefloor sees fit. These guys could play for hours to a poolside party and have the energy going the whole time.

9. Superhuman Happiness These experienced musicians, who have worked with Antibalas and TV on the Radio in the past, combine syncopated handclaps, lots of percussion and horns to create a celebratory sound that transitions seamlessly from song to song, both live and in studio. The band's latest album Hands is a non-stop piece of music all held together by hard hitting Afro-beat hand claps, and it gives the live shows a charging endlessness that keeps the audience dancing with force.

8. Delicate Steve An instrumental band from New Jersey, Delicate Steve is signed to Luaka Bop, a record label first started by David Byrne. Guitarist Steve Marion is a creative virtuoso, taking songs further than they should go. Constantly playing with time and tempo, Marion presents the guitar as if it's his lead vocals in a Tropicalia manner, with delicate twinkling fretboard work that is bouncy and energetic. Everything tends to get pushed to the brink of falling apart, and then, suddenly, it finds its resolution and climax.

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