Drum sets are aggravating enough to haul across the country while on tour, so it's no wonder pianos haven't caught on as the favorite instrument of fledgling indie bands. However, the positive effects on songwriting obviously outweighed the cons of incorporating the bulky instrument for Conor Meads, lead singer and self-taught pianist of San Diego's Pistolita
. Meads integrates the instrument into the melodies of the quartet's songs rather than letting it dominate. Stressed vocals and a brash rhythmic style contribute to more than their fair share of melodic bite in an effort to even out dreamier sequences. A few songs on Pistolita's debut, Oliver Under the Moon
, have soft Fray-like moments, but onstage the piano generally plays backup to the rest of the Cursive-meets-Jawbreaker rhythm section.