Montreal’s Islands, the pop-packed project from former Unicorns Nicholas Thorburn and Jamie Thompson, put out one of 2009’s catchiest collections of tunes with “Vapours,” laden with bouncy rhythms and simple, addictive choruses. While The Unicorns engaged with lo-fi quirk and psychedelic tangents, Thorburn has polished the rough edges with tight production and infused killer Casio-sounding synths for Islands, blending his new gadgets into the band’s vague calypso influence, which it’s apparently tied to as long as the band keeps calling itself “Islands.” While ostensibly pretty silly, Islands manages to best the myriad of other bands trying to conjure eighties new-wave by focusing on the genre’s inherent strengths: fun with the studio’s limitless expanse of electro sounds, immediately comprehensible melodies, and mostly meaningless lyrics. (Andy Seifert)
July 12, Lincoln Hall, 2424 North Lincoln, (773)525-2501, 7pm. $15.