Music » Critics' Picks

Hello Operator

7 p.m. Sunday, December 30. Cicero's, 6691 Delmar Boulevard, University City.

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Don't hold it against Hello Operator that it's opened for Hilary Duff, Simple Plan and Loverboy: This Canadian duo specializes in the type of eye-popping keyboard-pop that made new-wave so much fun. On its new EP The Breaks, vocalist/guitarist Mike Condo and keyboardist/vocalist Evan Huson have created six well-crafted tunes that (most impressively) are slick and radio-ready without being soulless. "Chasing Satellites" is an infectious garage-stomp with a power-pop heart of gold, the strutting "Hot Step" could be an outtake from the Cars' early albums — down to the paranoid vocals, zooming synths and stutter-step riffs — and "Just Another Girlfriend" sounds like Hot Hot Heat dirty-dancing with the Darkness.

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