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The Generationals Do Actor-Caster

New Orleans is famous for its traditional jazz, funk, and R&B, not its indie pop. So it made some sense a couple of years ago when the city’s indie-pop duo Generationals appeared on the national stage with Con Law, a debut that seemed to marry the Shins with Dr. John. When this worked, it really worked: standout tracks “When They Fight, They Fight,” “Faces in the Dark,” and “Nobody Could Change Your Mind” were irresistibly upbeat, with great horn-based hooks. Some of them ended up in TV shows, movies, and commercials. But when I saw Generationals on tour with a full band backing them, I felt they needed to throw more ideas into the mix if they were going to sustain interest.

This year, Generationals returned with Actor-Caster, which finds them doing just that. The process started with last year’s Trust EP, in which Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer expanded their sound to include some ’80s touches without sacrificing the nods to the ’60s or the 21st Century. The experiments yield even better results on Actor-Caster.

The sound is still mostly uptempo and peppy and still mixes digital-age quirks and laid-back vocals with more traditional elements (the occasional old-school R&B bass line or burst of horns), but now they are mixed in with some New Order–like keyboards, U2–like echoes, and even a bit of ’90s-style distorted guitar. The sound is more complex, and Joyner and Widmer’s songwriting rises to the challenge...even if they still sing like they can barely get up off the couch. You may not always know what decade you’re in, but you know you’re listening to the Generationals.

Jamuel Saxon and Gardens and Villa also perform.

GENERATIONALS: The Casbah, Sunday, July 10, 8:30 pm. 619-232-4355. $10.

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New Orleans is famous for its traditional jazz, funk, and R&B, not its indie pop. So it made some sense a couple of years ago when the city’s indie-pop duo Generationals appeared on the national stage with Con Law, a debut that seemed to marry the Shins with Dr. John. When this worked, it really worked: standout tracks “When They Fight, They Fight,” “Faces in the Dark,” and “Nobody Could Change Your Mind” were irresistibly upbeat, with great horn-based hooks. Some of them ended up in TV shows, movies, and commercials. But when I saw Generationals on tour with a full band backing them, I felt they needed to throw more ideas into the mix if they were going to sustain interest.

This year, Generationals returned with Actor-Caster, which finds them doing just that. The process started with last year’s Trust EP, in which Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer expanded their sound to include some ’80s touches without sacrificing the nods to the ’60s or the 21st Century. The experiments yield even better results on Actor-Caster.

The sound is still mostly uptempo and peppy and still mixes digital-age quirks and laid-back vocals with more traditional elements (the occasional old-school R&B bass line or burst of horns), but now they are mixed in with some New Order–like keyboards, U2–like echoes, and even a bit of ’90s-style distorted guitar. The sound is more complex, and Joyner and Widmer’s songwriting rises to the challenge...even if they still sing like they can barely get up off the couch. You may not always know what decade you’re in, but you know you’re listening to the Generationals.

Jamuel Saxon and Gardens and Villa also perform.

GENERATIONALS: The Casbah, Sunday, July 10, 8:30 pm. 619-232-4355. $10.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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