Moon Taxi: Building A Better Jam

It’s easy to think of Moon Taxi as what The Black Keys might sound like if they moved off the blues towards the glad-faced ADD of Dave Matthews. Their sophomore effort, Cabaret, boasts a big ol’ swath of textures: Indie-esque jangle, bluegrass noises like banjo and pedal steel, echoing synth-squeaks, a Matisyahu guest spot, and—most prominently—spacey, jammy leads that overtly resist the urge to meander. Wrap it all up in alternately pounding and lazy pop rhythms and Trevor Terndrup’s jubilant tenor (sort of scratches at the Jim James stratosphere) and you’ve got a festival-primed rock band that cheerily swept through 2012’s Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza without label backing. They headline Philly’s North Star Bar on Nov. 30 and Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom on Dec. 1.