Music » Critics' Picks

Cut Off Your Hands/Headlights/Pomegranates

8:30 p.m. Sunday, March 15. The Firebird, 2706 Olive Street.

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Three different permutations of pop — four if you count the joyful noise of locals Gentleman Auction House — will be at the Firebird on Sunday. The coos, yelps and whimsy of Cincinnati's Pomegranates are almost unbearably cute, although the band's hard-to-categorize tunes — touchstones include everything from '60s rock to Australian dream-pop — make them substantial. Headlights also takes a sophisticated stance with its bittersweet tunes; springlike keyboards and delicate coed vocals make tunes from last year's Some Racing, Some Stopping feel as airy as cotton candy. And then there's New Zealand's Cut Off Your Hands, whose debut recordings weren't much different than the spiky dance-punk that flourished post-Franz Ferdinand. Thankfully, this year's Bernard Butler-produced You and I — while not completely abandoning the sharp-elbowed edges — breaks up the monotony by incorporating pleasing Wall of Sound cushion and acoustic respites.

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