What songs become a hit is one of the hardest thing to predict on a regular basis.  Today's hits come from a wide variety of styles, tastes, and influences.  Foster The People may have been one of those bands that sneaked up on you with their big hit "Pumped Up Kicks".  The band's sound has a distinct flavor that can only be described in one way - retro!  Foster The People are one of 3 bands that are currently making their throwback sound stylish, their own, and above all fun.

Foster The People come out of the highly competitive L.A. music scene, and carved out a niche not seen ofter since the 80s.  "Pumped Up Kicks" is different than most songs on the radio because of their electronic driven keyboard sound.  The band's sound has become a sound that flashes memories of past Post-Modern bands like Echo and The Bunnymen and The Tom Tom Club, which is very apparent on their song "Waste" off their debut CD Torches.

"Pumped Up Kicks" has been a Top-10 song for the band in 6 different countries, but that song seems to be different than most of the CD - not a bad thing at all!  The 80s sound has to be a major influence to the three 20-something guys in the band - makes sense when you think that was probably what their parents were listening to.

The 80s may get dissed sometimes, but more bands are plucking their influence from that decade of music.  Think about The Killers -- can't you hear INXS influence in many of their songs?  How about American Idol finalist James Durbin -- word is that he does carry his 80s "Hair Band" influence into his debut CD that has come out.  Two other bands are showing how retro can be hip, and sadly you may not know anything about them:

Grace Potter and The Nocturnals -- Grace may be known to you for singing with Kenny Chesney on his song "You and Tequila", but this woman and her band show their obvious love for Heart.  My girlfriend showed me their video for "Paris (Ooh La La)", and I thought that Ann and Nancy Wilson were applauding.  The band has been around for many years now, as their latest CD release is the bands 6th of their career.  We do not see many strong female rockers, but Grace Potter may qualify.

Fitz and The Tantrums -- A total accident on stumbling upon this group as SoJO 104.9 gave away tickets to see the band in Philly.  I was able to play their song "Don't Gotta Work It Out" and I was enjoying their rock/soul style with lead singer Michael Fitzpatrick sounding like Todd Rundgren.  Retro with a capitol R, and all of it addicting!  Fitz developed the band's sound in L.A., have garnered a generous amount of critical acclaim (including Rolling Stone calling them "a band to watch" in an April profile for the magazine), and are coming to Atlantic City @ The Borgata on Dec. 30th.  Think about taking the trip to the casino that night.

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