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COLUMN

This Little Underground

Bao Le-Huu takes on RadioShaq, Mirabeau, We were Promised Jetpacks, New Roman Times and more.

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With a sort of melodious sad-sack sound that sometimes resembles a more juiced Pedro the Lion, St. Petersburg's Alexander & the Grapes (April 5, the Social) is a New Granada act that's never fully grabbed me on record. But live, they're much more impressive with some nice sonic grandeur and an interesting pedal steel aspect. Consider me re-interested.

Also playing was Noah Kussack's latest band, the Passenger. They have a more traditional modern-rock setup than XOXO but the Passenger sports his same signature, very natural knack for buoyant melody. The music's more mainstream but has fuller wings. It's a direction he's been headed in for a while now, which isn't necessarily my thing, but at least it's done pretty well. But memo to the keyboard player: Friends don't let drunk sisters get onstage with your band to waggle a tambourine and stupidly finger your keyboard mid-fucking-song. Christ.

And then Andy Matchett & the Minks – hated by venue staff but loved by fans – popped off a total party and covered the club in confetti, streamers and, yes, toilet paper. Love it.

The influence of New Roman Times on this city's contemporary indie-rock scene cannot be underestimated, and last weekend was another one of the occasional homecoming gigs of the formerly local, now Austin, Texas-based band (April 6, Will's Pub). Their sharply defined aesthetic tends not to fluctuate widely, but it's nice to hear that their guitars have expanded with more noise and steam. More than anything, though, it's nice to see real pros in action.

And finally, happy birthday, WPRK! Lookin' pretty hot for 60.

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