Friday, Sept. 25
New Jersey's Titus Andronicus are some unhappy fellows. Repositioning the rock song as a testament to existential crisis, they actually sound like they'd be more comfortable playing black metal than traditional bar-band-style anthems. But rather than mourning the utter meaninglessness of their ideals, the band would rather celebrate as they watch the whole world collapse upon itself. It's safe to assume they see no point in even attempting to reinvent the wheel, so they're going to get as drunk as possible, hotwire some prime Springsteen chord progressions and ride them off into the night while exploding in laughter at the ridiculousness of it all. Sounds fun. Christgau-approved Clash fans So So Glos, post-punkers Sunday Times and Weatherbox play in some unknown order at Soda Bar.
Power-pop is one of those genres that seems to have nowhere left to go, only keeping on through the insistence of garage-rock kids who get too old and jaded to play anything else. However, Boston's Pretty & Nice succeeded in making it interesting again with last year's Get Young, spiking the formula with robust production and the paranoid geekiness of twitch-rock greats like Brainiac. If anything, they're attempting to dropkick guitar pop into the future, so leave the past behind and don't worry too much about sticking around for The Get Up Kids, unless you're feeling nostalgic for that girl you had a crush on in seventh grade. Aussie emo group Youth Group also play at House of Blues ($18.50).
Saturday, Sept. 26
When Al Cisneros' hypnotic duo OM debuted with Variations on a Theme in 2004, he and drummer Chris Haikus (both formerly of doom-metal legends Sleep) had stripped their past band to its fundamentals—lumbering three- or four-note bass lines laid over a foundation of pounding, metronomic drums. The main difference between the two projects is OM's distinctive Eastern influence, reflected in Cisneros' meditative, Old Testament-referencing lyrics. Fast-forward five years—now with drummer Emil Amos, Cisneros has drifted into an even deeper haze of ancient Mesopotamian imagery on their fourth full-length, God is Good, adding touches of mellotron, flute and tamboura to a much gentler, even mystical, mix. Can't say how (or if) they'll attempt to pull this off in concert, but the band has a reputation for unforgettable live shows, so chances are you won't be disappointed. Chicago drone project Lichens and local metal kings Archons open at The Casbah ($13).
And, of course, see my feature about London's brilliant Sian Alice Group on this page, who'll be playing at Bar Pink. Unfortunately, they're paired with the awful Nico Stai, but get there after 11 and you should be OK.
Sunday, Sept. 27
As a touring violinist with The Album Leaf and Black Heart Procession, Matt Resovich is not only a well-respected musician in local indie circles, but also a talented songwriter in his own right. Resovich's Roll Film project deals in ambiance similar to his cohort Jimmy LaValle, but as evidenced by his chosen moniker, there's even more to his widescreen repertoire, which shows he can compose everything from rustic, contemplative pieces (“Sunup”) to sun-deprived expressions of loss (“Vlad”) and wistful, childlike displays of innocence (“Kiddo”). Along with the one-man guitar-wielding bliss of Census and Phoenix ambient act Really Big Birds, it'll be a night of gauzy textures at Kava Lounge.
Monday, Sept. 28
New Zealand-by-way-of-California transplant Ryan McPhun comes from the same school of psychedelia as Animal Collective's Panda Bear (aka Noah Lennox), infusing his band, The Ruby Suns, with distant oohs and aahs and Technicolor melodies. But where Lennox's solo music is sheathed in echo and reverb, making it seem just barely within reach, McPhun takes a hi-fi approach, giving his tunes a clear coat of gloss that puts his songwriting right out front. The project shows a lot of promise, even if its reliance on trendy African nuances and horrible song titles (“Kenya Dig It?”) probably won't age very well beyond a couple of years. San Francisco's hyper-folk duo The Dodos give support at The Casbah ($12).
Tuesday, Sept. 29
Professionalism in rock 'n' roll can be a blessing or a curse. If it means that an artist has an innate business sense and is always consciously marketing him or herself to the masses, it's a curse. If it just means he or she knows how to turn out solid melodies on a regular basis, it's usually a good thing, unless you're Rivers Cuomo. Norwegian electro duo Datarock are only two albums in but have already licensed songs to a handful of different commercials and video games. They're that band—the one whose song keeps coming up over and over again while you're in the middle of a FIFA '09 match. At first you hate it, but through repetition, it sinks into your soul, slowly becoming a part of you. Yep, these two write inanely catchy stuff. Isn't exactly a ringing endorsement, but if you're into iPod commercials and dancing (especially dancing) here's your band. British boys Esser and Kav open at Brick by Brick ($14).
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