Samuel T. Herring and Co. make good use of the Letterman launch pad

During the “Late Show” days, David Letterman was more likely to ask about a performing band's drum set than he was to launch a band onto bigger stages. But the latter is exactly what happened with Future Islands in 2014. The North Carolina band had been toiling away in the underground (albeit on respected label Thrill Jockey) for several years, but when frontman Samuel T. Herring debuted his lovably goofy dancing, wild-eyed chest-beating, earnest, throaty singing and the occasional Cookie Monster growl in a late-night performance of “Seasons (Waiting on You)” at the Ed Sullivan Theater, Letterman was bowled over — so much so that the clip went viral.

It's safe to assume Future Islands is tired of this story and any association with Letterman, but in 2012 Future Islands played the Basement in Columbus, and after that network TV debut in 2014 the band shared a bill at Express Live. On Tuesday, Aug. 28, Future Islands headlines the Newport. But the band's star wouldn't have risen so high if “Seasons” was a dud; it's a genuine synth-pop anthem. It holds up.

And while Future Islands comes across best in a live setting, that doesn't mean 2014's Singles and last year's The Far Field aren't worth your time. It's just that the (mostly) guitar-less, new wave pop songs sound even better if you can picture Herring beating his chest as you listen. (Safe bet)