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Before winter sets back in . . .

| March 22, 2011 | 0 Comments

Not to be so vulgar as to talk weather, but March is supposed to get warmer as it progresses. Not that it isn’t a cruel reminder to all the knobs who return from Austin each spring, but we’d like to put our snow boots away.

Fight it, we urge. The temptation is to haul out all those winter, comfort-food recipes and sleep on the couch every night, when now’s the time to show the calendar who’s boss!

If you’re the type to ease back into routine, you couldn’t land in a softer spot than Papercuts. One of Sub Pop’s less-heralded arrivals, Jason Robert Quever couches his not-quite-falsetto vocal melodies in a crowded arena of analog tones. Every instrument on Fading Parade sounds as if a blanket were placed over it on the recording, so that when brighter passages emerge they have a tendency to glow. File them/him between Grand Archives and Belle & Sebastian. (Wednesday@Schubas with Still Corners.)

Slightly higher on the muscularity index, White Hills give the effect of a hard day’s work followed by a narcotic nap on their self-titled, Thrill Jockey debut. The first half winds stoner-metal riffage around increasingly psychedelic excursions, nearly tipping over during the 9-minute “Three Quarters.” But the Kyuss/Sleep-like dirging doesn’t make a faith-leap across the desert ravine, careening to a fiery grave while spectral, post-rock textures take over. Eventually the riffs make their way back in, but it’s more of a “Hi, I’m enjoying myself in heaven; check out my wings!” cameo (or an extended coda) than anything else. (Wednesday@Empty Bottle with Liturgy.)

Somewhere between the two, try not to get too fooled by Xray Eyeballs. A sonic dizzyspell with X aesthetics, Not Nothing wriggles like a forearm dislocated at the elbow. Somewhere between Roky Erickson’s electric jug and a vomiting Leslie cabinet, O.J. San Felipe’s guitar effect puts a spotlight on how poorly tuned his guitar is, and shakes the whole band simultaneously. It’s a red herring, however, and an artificial edge. At their core, Xray Eyeballs revel in homespun Vaselines/Pastels alt-pop, the kind that suffers no frills. (Thursday@Schubas with Paul Cary and Nones.)

— Steve Forstneger

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