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This Little Underground

Our live music columnist checks out American Party Machine, Pity Sex, Broncho and more

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Adam Haworth Stephens was very good when he performed his solo material here in 2010, but his dead-raising voice is truly at full mast in Two Gallants, especially with their muscular last album (The Bloom and the Blight). Stephens’ singing is raw soul driven to the brink. You gotta respect someone who practically pops capillaries just to cut into you. It’s why he’s one of the gutsiest, most riveting vocalists today.

With exhaustingly named bands like the World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die and You, Me and Everyone We Know, the latest Norse Korea bill (June 19, Will’s Pub) read like a Fiona Apple album title. But of the many bands on this Enemies of Brevity tour, the succinctly named Michigan band Pity Sex was the most intriguing with a thick, chewy sound that merged openhearted melodies and slack ’90s noise. Although underdeveloped and shaky on vocals, their guitars are nice, fat and fuzzy enough to swim in. Of the two singers, however, Britty Drake only needs a little more seasoning, confidence and lead time to turn this band into a new, complete force. They’re worth keeping a keen eye on.

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