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Arlington, Virginia trio Metropolitan is a pop band which regularly cites the influence of Sonic Youth, which should tell you a lot about what they sound like. On most of their songs the guitar is a layer of flanging distorted noise that lies below, while the rhythm section lays down sensible sashaying tempos and vocalist John Masters, the man playing said noisy guitar, offers catchy verses that are by turns sensitive and sassy. Other surprise instrumentation -- droning keyboards here, trippy tablas there -- makes Metropolitan considerably more interesting than your run-of-the-mill hook-happy indie rock band.

Now that's what Metropolitan sounds like now. When the group started out just a few years ago, it made arty guitar rock of a considerably more lo-fi variety, featuring some great tunes, but a lot more feedback and distortion, and even occasional brief guitar-based freeform noise digressions. In other words, then the group was more interested in Sonic Youth and less interested in pop. At that time the band was a duo featuring Masters and fellow guitarist Aidan Coughlan. After the first Metropolitan release, 1999's Side Effects, which occasionally suggests SY circa Bad Moon Rising and The Jesus and Mary Chain circa Psychocandy and maybe The Dead C circa Harsh '70s Reality, Couglan quit the band, leaving Masters the name, though the sound would change dramatically. In early 2001, Masters began playing with new drummer Saadat Awan and bassist Shyam Telikicherla. A year later, the trio issued Down for You Is Up, a title which perhaps shifts the new lineup's shift in inspiration to the simultaneously gritty and contemplative songs of the third The Velvet Underground album, from which that title is lifted.

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