City Paper is not for tourists
Unlike many of its peers from the heyday of ’90s college rock, Guster has aged rather gracefully during its 24-year run. Although the band has implemented a few new tricks since its early days busking in Harvard Square—most notably the drum kit that usurped percussionist Brian Rosenworcel’s trademark bongos starting on 2003’s Keep It Together—Guster’s amiable discography is united by clever songwriting, dynamic grooves, and bright melodies. January’s Evermotion, the band’s seventh studio album, marks Guster’s most ambitious development to date: a foray into synth-filled space rock that recalls Soft Bulletin-era Flaming Lips ballads. Guster devotees might initially find the electronics and lo-fi production to be jarring, but Evermotion is a grower that appreciates with multiple listens. The album has no shortage of familiar Guster motifs, such as the midtempo pop craftsmanship of “Simple Machine” and the cheeky Americana on “Never Coming Down,” but the change of scenery breathes new life into the band’s most endearing qualities. It’s a delight to hear the veterans taking inspired risks, fending off nostalgic complacency by escaping to a new frontier, and bantering with the audience during live show. Guster performs with Kishi Bashi at 8 p.m. at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna. $32–$45. (703) 255-1900. wolftrap.org.