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Sam Billen

with Hidden Pictures / Max Justus

Related lawrence.com band pages

If you went, you might have heard

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Lawrence songwriter Sam Billen's obsession with Magic 107.3FM, the J-Pop education obtained directly from the source, the Todd Rundgren LPs— it all adds up to his latest album “Headphones and Cellphones” (listen to our podcast preview). Though the former co-frontman of The Billions' songwriting sensibility is more akin to Sufjan Stevens or the Postal Service, it’s often delivered with a knowing smirk. For the first time in eight years, Richard Gintowt doesn't work for lawrence.com. His local music podcasts will be particularly missed — but the silver lining is that we can now pimp his bands for the first time, which have always been pimp-worthy, from Ghosty to OK Jones to this, his latest project, Hidden Pictures. The band began to take shape a couple years ago when Gintowt and Michelle Sanders started performing as a duo. They've since assembled a six-piece band, which plays sunny indie-pop with lots of harmonies and hook-laden melodies. No one sounds like KC producer Max Justus: not locally, and not even nationally. Plenty of kids with keyboards and hijacked software attempt to be as effortlessly cool as mullet-rocking Max Spransy, but they don't know nearly as much about vintage synthesizers, and they don't make modern dance-floor music that's classically informed.

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