People who've never been there might hear "Kansas City" and think Dorothy and Toto or, if somewhat more enlightened, jazz and barbecue. But there are more progressive things going on there than you might expect. In their own humble and low-key way, the Kansas City, Missouri-based trio Namelessnumberheadman have been blazing a trail that solidifies the invisible bridge between far-off galaxies and rural landscapes. They take heartfelt, melodic pop songs with a folk-ish acoustic tinge and swirl them into futuristic, electronic soundscapes. Their songs are both ear-pleasing and exploratory; you can hum along and feel like you've been transported somewhere new. As critic Scott Wilson aptly put it in a recent Magnet review, "if the group called Iceland home, it would end up on the cover of The Wire."

Named after a character in Steven Soderbergh's film Schizopolis, the group has an anything-goes approach that allows ample room for surprise. Sometimes the best way to go somewhere new is to do whatever you want and see where it takes you. Yet their music also has a down-to-earth quality, as if they're your best friends or next-door neighbors. Their lyrics tackle real-life longings in an ambiguous way that leaves room for interpretation. Introspection and mystery meet in the lyrics and the music, as do emotion and innovation. They hit you in the heart while lifting you off into space. – Dave Heaton

Want more? Namelessnumberheadman interview, complements of