Like their Kiwi peers The Clean, The Bats are on what you might call Dunedin time. Or perhaps Robert Scott time, since he plays bass in the former pioneering indie-pop band and sings and strums in the latter. Both bands are associated with the New Zealand movement called the “Dunedin Sound,” and both have aged with grace but not complacency: They tour and record infrequently—apparently whenever they feel like it—but their output almost never misfires. The latest Bats record is 2011’s Free All the Monsters, a dreamy, lilting album that will remind some of Galaxie 500, but which is really a more meditative evolution of the kind of smart, classicist fuzz pop that Scott and Co. has made since the early 1980s. The closest thing to classic Bats is “In the Subway,” which has tons of jangly menace, but the best song is probably “Spacejunk,” in which Scott seems to identify the comfortable unhurriedness that has always made each new Bats record a treat. “Direction is easy, direction is hard to find,” he sings. “Time is the healer.”
The Bats perform with Dot Dash at 8:30 p.m. at DC9, 1940 9th St. NW. $12–$14. (202) 483-5000. dcnine.com.