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Trio of bands rock the Launchpad

764-HERO brings its own sound to town for CD release tour

Maybe it's my old age, maybe it's too many early '90s punk shows, but, wow, is the Launchpad loud!

Tuesday night's show started with bang as B-Movie Rats, Streetwalkin' Cheetahs and the Shins opened for Seattle's 764-HERO.

764-HERO is on the tail end of its CD release tour "Weekends of Sound," which is also the title of its latest CD, and gearing up to start work on its next album. 764-HERO keeps coming up with better, crisper, edgier stuff each time around.

"The goal for every album is to be better than the one before," guitarist John Atkins said. "I guess that is everyone's goal, but I think we've accomplished it."

Weekends' focused sound contains plenty of Atkins' driving guitar rifts and Polly Johnson's rhythmic drumming. Songs such as "Terrified of Flight," jump out at the listeners and locks them in for the more intense tunes such as "Out Like a Light." The songs require listeners to sit back and figure out what it all meant. It is good late-night music to sit and chill to after a hard night on the town.

Sometimes compared to Built to Spill and Modest Mouse, 764-HERO has emerged with a sound of its own - a little more pop, a little more controlled and a little less depressing. As for the comparisons that still come out, "Hey, whatever puts the asses in the seats," is Atkins' response.

Local band The Shins added more of a pop/rock sound before 764-HERO took the stage. The Shins will finish the 764-HERO tour before its CD Oh, Inverted World is released on Sub Pop Records in June. Singer/guitarist James Mercer, Casio-man Marty Crandall, drummer Jesse Sandoval and Neal Langford on bass created good American pop with bits of The Cure coming through Mercer's voice and Crandall's keyboard work.

If you missed this chance to see them this time around, The Shins will be back in town this summer to release the new CD.

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