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Casper Bangs: It’s not that The Hard Tomorrows never blew me away, it’s just that I was so impressed with the band’s Jamiroquai-set at Run For Cover a few years back that when I heard the songs that they actually wrote, it was difficult to adjust my expectations. I kept waiting for front man Rob Pierangeli to put the floppy hat back on and break into “Use the Force.” Alas, it never happened.

Casper Bangs, Pierangeli’s solo project, which features some of the other Hard Tomorrows members, made its debut at Black Cat last week. No floppy hats here, either, but it was pretty good. Guitar driven pop with lots of reverb, comparable to some of the later Echo & the Bunnymen records or, maybe, early Oasis, although that seems like it might be a cruel thing to say. Surprisingly pro-sounding, too, especially for a first show. Apologies for the blurry photo.

Foul Swoops: Young people! I had thought that if you were 20-years old and in a band these days, that band either had to play Phish covers or hardcore. Not so with Foul Swoops, the trio has the good taste to plunder its aesthetic from the skronkiest depths of the Flying Nun catalog. If Casper Bangs is a band that benefits from experienced musicians, Foul Swoops is the opposite. Its music demands thrashing and careless naiveté, which the trio seems to have. Plus, their set last night at Velvet Lounge was only 17-minutes long, including a sweet cover of Half Japanese’s “Face Rake.” Can’t beat that. Hopefully, good things to come.