The Octopus Project
With a penchant for dense synthesizers, organic melodies and dressing up in what may well be their grandparents' suits and dresses, Austin's the Octopus Project looks and sounds like a beeping, bleeding contradiction. But that quirky paradox has helped the coed group rise above the indie-dance trends of this fading decade. Across its three full-lengths — the most recent being 2007's bubbly Hello, Avalanche — the Project has maintained a perfect equilibrium between loops, samples, warm hums and sweat-soaked instruments. The group's new EP, Golden Beds, is no different — although the disc's lead track, "Wet Gold," features breathy, bouncy vocals from the usually instrumental outfit (and bears a not-unwelcome resemblance to Belle and Sebastian's early flirtation with synth pop). Live, the Project's pretty, pulsing joy is nothing short of mesmerizing.