By the time the Naked and Famous play here, their new CD, In Rolling Waves, will have been released. I got to preview a track from the forthcoming disc earlier. “A Stillness” is no doubt an attempt to retain the glory generated by last year’s power anthem “Young Blood.” Twenty-five-million YouTube views and a half-million album sales later, this New Zealand band is on the pop-culture map. Rolling Stone magazine called “Young Blood” one of the year’s best singles. It surely must have come as no small relief to the quintet recently when a BBC Radio 1 host debuted their “Hearts Like Ours” on one of his “hottest records in the world today” spotlights. But scary: the air gets mighty thin up there, and hype is addictive. John Taylor, who cofounded Duran Duran once told me about the dark side of being in a pop band. “And I’ve yet to find anything more addictive,” Taylor said, “than hits.”
TNAF began a couple of years ago as a campus recording project with great promise and in search of a band. Fronted by Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith, by 2012 the group included bassist David Beadle, Jesse Wood on drums, and Aaron Short on keyboards. An MGMT spawn? Kind of. But if MGMT are ABBA on slippery psychedelics, the Naked and Famous (the name comes from a line in a Tricky song) are equally as interesting but minus the droning sludge, a factor that surely made them the hot pick among Hollywood’s music supervisors. TNAF tracks have surfaced on the Vampire Diaries, Secret Circle, Grey’s Anatomy, and Gossip Girl, just to name a few. Red Bull’s used them as well. It occurs that if the hit machine ever shuts off for the Naked and Famous, they’ve got a future to look forward to in advertising and soundtracks.
The Naked and Famous: House of Blues, Wednesday, September 25, 7 p.m. 619-299–BLUE (2583). This all-ages (under 18 with adult) show is $25 in advance/$28 at the door.