In recent months Awesome New Republic, affectionately known by its many admirers as ANR, has been gigging all over the place, from Wynwood District warehouses and Churchill's Pub to unnamed spots across the Southeast. What is it about this band, who combines your favorite sounds -- crazy skronk-jazz, weird IDM electro, and a dash of New Wave soul -- into an unpredictable yet danceable stew, that is making all the smart kids scream? Part of its charm is lead vocalist Michael John Hancock, whose sweet falsetto adds necessary context to the band's rough, start-stop undulations and time changes. Plus, it's difficult not to like a band who lists Japanese cult director Takashi Miike as a primary artistic influence on its MySpace band page (www.myspace.com/awesomenewrepublic). -- Mosi Reeves
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