Piano rock, schmiano rock. What Copeland produces is something much more than the recycled Ben Folds schmaltz typical of most ivories-oriented groups. Both Beneath Medicine Tree
, the quartet's 2003 debut, and In Motion
, its 2005 breakthrough, were awash in lush, dreamy indie pop that eschewed irony for introspection. The guitar work of Bryan Laurenson and vocalist Aaron Marsh is just as exquisite ("No One Really Wins" kicks off In Motion
with a storm of wailing strings). Ultimately, Copeland defies categorization, challenges music-marketing execs, and creates . . . gulp . . . good music that doesn't fit a niche.
Throughout six albums, three labels, one hiatus, countless lineup changes, and nearly a decade of existence, Kansas' Appleseed Cast has evolved from a Sunny Day Real Estate knockoff into a revered indie band. March's Peregrine features singer-guitarist Christopher Crisci's hollow, haunted vocals rippling over hazy electronic blips. The whole package is soaked in enough reverb to turn My Morning Jacket green with envy.