Playing Around 

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Rock Island, 1614 15th St., Denver
Wednesday, June 8, 8 p.m.
$10; ticketweb.com or 800/965-4827

So, a band that features only synthesizers and drums should be pretty straightforward, right? Headphones prove that a whole quagmire of emotion and sounds can be packed into that so-called "simple" equation. Two expatriates from Pedro the Lion (David Bazan and Tim Walsh) make up Headphones, whose self-titled debut album is all about loneliness, lying and pretending to be something else. Sounds like a stereotypical teen isolationist's dream, right? Aha! Wrong again. These songs are too bloody catchy. Sure, "Slow Car Crash" sounds like a love song imagined by Fight Club's Chuck Palahniuk, but the plaintive, rather messed-up lyrics propped against a veritable boogaloo make for an interesting album. As Bazan complains in "Hot Girls": "I called to beg you not to write that stupid song. / But as it happens now it's burning up the charts / And breaking hot girls' hearts as it masquerades as art."

-- Kara Luger


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