Music » Critics' Picks

Koufax

8 p.m. Sunday, August 24. The Bluebird, 2706 Olive Street

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For pop-rockers Koufax, Strugglers is more than just the title of their most recent full-length: It's also an appropriate epithet for a band that's never had it easy. During its decadelong career, it's been dismissed by the indie elite for its Moog keyboard and Lawrence, Kansas, zip code, while simultaneously being doomed to opening-band purgatory as the small fish in the pond of its label, Vagrant Records. Perhaps in reaction, Koufax has subsequently spent the last few years dusting the sugar from atop its tuneful pop in order to showcase a saltier core. On Strugglers, the group trades its Cars-influenced synth leads for soulful saxophone solos, proving its obsession with a different kind of '80s pop — that kind that starts with "Huey Lewis" and ends with "and the News."

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