Backwards Dancer

Backwards Dancer

FILE UNDER: Surging post-rock

ROCKS LIKE: The Weakerthans, Brand New, Death Cab For Cutie

WHAT'S DIFFERENT: The self-titled debut from Worcester, Massachusetts-based Backwards Dancer—a quartet fronted by ex-Hotelier guitarist/vocalist Zack Shaw—specializes in clawing, claustrophobic post-rock with snarling guitars, throat-searing vocals and a snarling backbone. "The Radio" and "Airy" conjure the kind of scabrous grunge-punk Sub Pop released in the early '90s; "Forever" churns like Failure's greyscale post-rock; and "Breathe Life Into Beauty" finds Shaw showing off a melodic croon and an emotion-cracked scream.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Despite overall aggression, Backwards Dancer exhibits a wrenching range of dynamics—as evidenced by the tension-filled, sparse intro of "I Wish I Could Have" and the seething, anxiety-wracked standout "Vanishing, Panicking." Debut records rarely sound this self-assured, urgent and willing to put a fresh spin on familiar sounds.

OUR PICK: "Vanishing, Panicking"