THESE UNITED STATES
Saturday, Oct. 23, with Magazine Ave., Megan Jean, Adam Arcurragi
The Wormhole Bar, 2307 Bull St.
"Cumulonimbus WordPop fr th' Jangly Railyard Dreamer," that's how this rootsy American band from Washington, D.C. (and thereabouts) whimsically describes itself. I like this band because it isn't just sloppy fun - Americana, alt/country, whatever you want to call it, a lot of the artists that play this freewheeling, wide-arc style tend to arrange things fast and loose (not that that's a bad thing, American Aquarium). These United States, however, possesses an acute sense of pop songcraft, serving the words and the melodies with finely-tuned retro-rock arrangements (and hooks!). So what is it, exactly? "I never know what words to use," founding songwriter Jesse Elliot told a journalist at SXSW a couple of months back. "It's just rock ‘n' roll, nothing too fancy ... a sort of melting pot of Americana influences with a few British and African influences thrown in for good measure. Not that we're anywhere near this ballpark, but in the back of our brains we're more like Springsteen and Petty and all that." Elliot's pinched singing voice conveys the sense of loss and resigned hopefulness stitched into his lyrics, which sometimes - to these ears - try too hard to cover lots and lots of literary and philosophical topics (not that that's a bad thing, Decemberists). But the atmosphere - the psychedelic guitars and graceful pianos more than make up for it. The band is on the road supporting the just-released What Lasts. See theseunitedstates.net.
WORN IN RED
At 11 p.m. p.m. Monday, Oct. 25, with Dead Yet?
The Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.
A hardcore foursome divided between Richmond and Charlottesville, Va., Worn in Red - Joe Lusk, Brad Perry, Brendan Murphy and Matt Neagle - are with Florida's No Idea Records, which has been championing the indie cause since the mid 1980s. "Considering how nice these guys are, they sure do yell a lot," said Var, the label's founder, on the release of In the Offing (available on vinyl, CD and download). "Their songs gnawed their way into my brain over the last year, and being involved in this record was not an option: it became an imperative. Heavy and pummeling locks in with a melodic, open groove. Duality in tandem. Good hair too." See www.myspace.com/worninred
THE INCREDIBLE SANDWICH
At 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21 with Eyes Around
Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St.
"Bouncing, rambling cosmic rock" is how I described my own introduction to Athens' No. 1 fan-voted jam band in 2009. That's well nigh impossible to elaborate on. The ‘Sammies make periodic visits our way, with keyboard guy Damian Kapcala never failing to drop jaws with his nimble-fingered prowess on the Hammond B3 organ. The music blends rock, funk, jazz and psychedelia with impressive chopwork and healthy, creative improv - everything you want and require in a Georgia jam band, no? John Keane produced the band's first full-length album, out shortly. See theincrediblesandwich.com