Take the entire lineup of a major music festival like Coachella and Bonnaroo. Then distill it down to the 15 or 20 coolest acts everyone wants to see. • That's what local music fans are about to experience, as an unprecedented glut of acclaimed indie-rock bands make their way to Tampa Bay and Orlando in October. • Vampire Weekend, MGMT, Phoenix, The National — bands this trendy normally skip Florida en route to packed clubs in New York or London or Paris. They exist in a world in which record sales matter less than critical praise, online buzz and speed-of-light hype. (The catchy music is just a bonus.) • As Central Florida indie music fans prepare to get their jam on — finally! — let's take a look at October's 10 hippest concerts. We even asked one artist, Yeasayer frontman Chris Keating, to weigh in on each show. Plan your month accordingly. — Jay Cridlin firstname.lastname@example.org
The Gaslight Anthem
When and where: 7 p.m. Monday, House of Blues Orlando, 1490 E Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista. $18.25-$20.25. (407) 934-2583
Vibe: Springsteen-influenced Americana-garage-punk
Hipster cred: The razor-sharp band truly worked its way to the big time from the ground up. In 2007, they played the Skatepark of Tampa's Transitions Art Gallery; earlier this year, singer Brian Fallon was invited onstage to sing No Surrender with his idol, fellow Jerseyan Bruce Springsteen. Even more popular overseas as they are here — they consistently sell out venues in the United Kingdom.
Breathless hype: After a "breathtaking" appearance on Letterman, Rolling Stone wrote that The Gaslight Anthem might be the "band of our generation."
Yea or nay? Nay, says Yeasayer singer Chris Keating. "They're kind of Springsteenish, right? I really don't know enough about them. I've seen their picture, and I know they're big in the U.K."
When and where: 8 p.m. Monday, State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. With Washed Out. $15-$18. (727) 895-3045
Vibe: Avant garde synth-pop
Hipster cred: They've opened for Beck and MGMT, and collaborated on Bat For Lashes' 2009 album Two Suns. Jay-Z couldn't resist checking out their set at this year's Coachella Festival.
Breathless hype: A two-paragraph concert review by New York magazine's Vulture blog in February was headlined "The Crowning of Yeasayer, Everyone's New Favorite Band."
Yea or nay? We couldn't ask Keating to critique his own band, so we asked him about the opener, downtempo electro-pop act Washed Out, a.k.a. Ernest Greene. "He's got a really cool sound. I really like his production techniques, and every time it came on in the bus, I was like, 'What is this again?' It's sort of chillwave, slowed-down disco funk."
When and where: 9 p.m. Tuesday, Hard Rock Live, 6050 Universal Blvd., Orlando. With Sleigh Bells. $32-$37. (407) 351-5483
Vibe: Punk-infused disco that emphasizes live musicianship
Hipster cred: Through his record label, DFA, mastermind James Murphy helped revitalize the world of live dance music. Had the cojones to release a single titled Daft Punk is Playing at My House ... and it became a Grammy-nominated hit. Handpicked by Nike to produce a 45-minute track designed to play during a workout. Opening act Sleigh Bells, who dish out a unique mix of breathy vocals and oversaturated guitars, is one of the most blogged-about new bands of the year.
Breathless hype: The online indie-rock bible Pitchfork named All My Friends, from 2007's Sound of Silver, the second-best song of the entire decade.
Yea or nay? Yea. "Just in the last three months, it seems like I've seen that band play 18 or 19 times, because we play the same festivals every day. We all flew from Australia to Japan together. James recommended one of the best coffee places in Tokyo I've ever been to. It was probably the best cup of coffee I've ever had."
When and where: 7 p.m. Wednesday, House of Blues Orlando, 1490 E Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista. With Owen Pallett. $23.25-$36.75. (407) 934-2583
Vibe: Moody rock for late, lonely nights
Hipster cred: Perpetually morose-sounding singer Matt Berninger drinks wine on stage — a lot of wine — but their music is oddly uplifting. The moody Brooklyn-via-Cincinnati group is tight with President Obama — their song Fake Empire was played during the 2008 Democratic National Convention and during Obama's election-night celebration, and they performed at an Obama rally this week in Wisconsin. Frequent collaborators with Brooklyn folk-poet Sufjan Stevens. Past four albums have averaged a stellar 8.4 out of 10 rating from Pitchfork.
Breathless hype: In May a 4,500-word New York Times Magazine profile posited that The National might soon "go ahead and make the great Middle American novel as music, an album for our time."
Yea or nay? Yea. "I know them really well. Great guys. Them, I've hung out with more in New York. They all kind of live near me. I ran into (guitarist) Aaron (Dessner) once when I was buying soap, which is very rock 'n' roll."
When and where: 6 p.m. Oct. 12, Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. With Beach House, The Very Best. $29.50. (727) 565-0551
Vibe: Guitar pop with hints of Afrobeat, dancehall and Paul Simon
Hipster cred: Where to begin? The genre-bending world-pop group is arguably the most hyped new band of the past decade — and perhaps the most hotly debated, given their penchant for African-influenced music that some critics have dubbed "musical colonialism." Columbia University grads helped bring the preppy look back into style thanks to their collective penchant for Lacoste and Ralph Lauren. Avoided the "sophomore slump" of many buzz bands by following up their acclaimed debut with an even better second album, Contra, that debuted at No. 1.
Breathless hype: In 2008, Vampire Weekend was photographed for a Spin cover story before they'd even released an album; they played Saturday Night Live six weeks later.
Yea or nay? Yea. "I might go see them play tonight at Radio City Music Hall."
When and where: 8 p.m. Oct. 13, Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. $37.50. (727) 565-0551
Vibe: Euphoric, psychedelic alt-rock
Hipster cred: If they're not the best live act in rock 'n' roll, they're in the discussion. Concert highlights include confetti cannons, lasers, dancing aliens and Santa Clauses, giant rubber hands and frontman Wayne Coyne crowd-surfing in a human-sized hamster ball. Followed up one of the '90s' flukiest hits (She Don't Use Jelly) with a stream of critically acclaimed alternative albums.
Breathless hype: From a concert review: "It was a sublime mixture of chaos and catharsis that reached an early apex when the band exploded into its first proper song, the rapturous Race for the Prize. As confetti rained over the audience, singer Wayne Coyne swirled a light bulb over his head and fired air cannons full of streamers from the stage. It was almost too much to take in." Who dared publish such radiant hooey? Um … that would be us, back in 2007, the last time the Lips played Jannus. (Trust us, if you were there, you'd agree.)
Yea or nay? Yea, mostly. "I am a fan, and I definitely think they're super-innovative, but that wasn't really a band that was on my radar growing up. But recently, in the last four years, I've checked out some of the older stuff they've done — Yoshimi, and The Soft Bulletin, which are really great records."
Matt and Kim
When and where: 8 p.m. Oct. 15. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $15-$18. (727) 895-3045
Vibe: Super-jubilant, super-energetic, super-danceable pop
Hipster cred: They're a super-cute couple whose irresistible music comes from pianos, drums and handclaps. The video for their single Lessons Learned showed them stripping to their bare skin in New York's Times Square; the clip won the mtvU Woodie Award for Best Video. Their hit Daylight was used in a Bacardi commercial. (Okay, that's not very hip. But trust us, the song is.)
Breathless hype: From an Amazon.com customer review: "Your cat just got hit by a car? No problem, just one track off of this album will have you dancing around the room like a cracked out kangaroo." Couldn't have said it better ourselves.
Yea or nay? Yea. "The first time we ever played a college, in upstate New York, we opened for Matt and Kim in kind of like a conference room, which was weird. Our first time in London, we opened up for them, too."
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
When and where: 8 p.m. Oct. 16, Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $16-$18. (813) 247-2555
Vibe: Cultish hippie folk
Hipster cred: This sprawling collective has at least 10 members, depending on whom you ask, which is pretty hip, in a boho-commune sort of way. And none of them are actually named Edward Sharpe. "He" is a fictional, almost spiritual creation of singer Alex Ebert. "He was sent down to Earth to kinda heal and save mankind," Ebert told Paste magazine. "But he kept getting distracted by girls and falling in love."
Breathless hype: Some thought they stole the show at this year's Bonnaroo festival. Spin called them the new "Pied Pipers of hippie kids and trustafarians. Young Bonnaroo patrons in tie-dye bikini tops and board shorts spilled out from the awnings for a hundred feet in every direction, craning to see their messianic Ebert."
Yea or nay? Nay. "Are they kind of hippie dudes? I think I drank a beer with one of those guys once. But I don't know what they sound like, to be honest."
When and where: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26, House of Blues Orlando, 1490 E Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista. With Wavves. $29.50-$32.50. (407) 934-2583
Vibe: Shimmering, sparkling, melodic pop-rock
Hipster cred: There are only three noteworthy modern French rock acts. Phoenix is one of them, and they've recorded with the other two — Air and Daft Punk. They're something of a muse to hipster filmmaker Sofia Coppola — so much so, in fact, that singer Thomas Mars is the father of Coppola's two children. The singles 1901 and Lisztomania, from 2009's Grammy-winning Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, were inescapable in movie trailers and car commercials. When they played Saturday Night Live last year, they were asked to perform a third song, an honor previously offered only to the likes of U2, Coldplay and Paul McCartney.
Breathless hype: Rolling Stone wrote: "One stereotypically European thing about Phoenix is their cerebral and analytical approach to things that most American bands would pretend to be totally unselfconscious about. (Guitarist Laurent) Brancowitz and Mars are two of the most articulate and intelligent rock stars imaginable."
Yea or nay? Yea. "Had a chance to meet them for the first time this summer, and they had really interesting things to say. They didn't seem like French rock stars. They were actually really down-to-earth, nice guys."
When and where: 8 p.m. Oct. 27, Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. $25-$45. (727) 791-7400
Vibe: Veers from electro-tinged pop to freakadelic '60s mod-rock
Hipster cred: Spin cover boys. Best New Artist Grammy nominees. Winners of multiple NME Awards in the U.K. Proved they're not afraid to thumb their nose at the system by following the insanely catchy Oracular Spectacular with the insanely challenging Congratulations.
Breathless hype: How about getting name-dropped by a Beatle? "I'd like to work on some more dancey stuff with MGMT," Paul McCartney said last year. "If they called me, I'd say, 'How did you get my number?' But I'd do it."
Yea or nay? Yea. "Those guys are some of the most talented musiciansans that I've ever met, and I embrace the idea of them playing with people's emotions a little bit. They had this strange opportunity, and probably could have jumped into being an arena-sized band, and delivered this album that's pretty weird and complex. I'm not sure how it's been received, but I really dig the idea of what they're doing."