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Every once in a while, the Charlottesville, Va., indie-folk duo Birdlips settles in a place, writes some songs, and makes a record. Then they move on, but the EPs and albums they make part of their DRIFT project aren’t acts of tourism, and they don’t channel each locale’s most obvious sonic traits. An EP recorded in Los Angeles doesn’t contain anything you’d term L.A. music, just as One Tongue, the group’s newest and best album, was made in Destin, Fla., but seems to take place in its own pocket universe. It’s often tropical-sounding, sure, but for every breezy, bossa-nova strum there’s a death shiver; Birdlips is fond of found sounds, but that’s menace you hear blowing through the palm trees. The band balances its gothic moments with sweet, strange ditties, and chooses its kiss-off carefully: a song called “Undertow.”
Birdlips performs with Thurlow and Cinnamon Band at 9 p.m. at Velvet Lounge, 915 U St. NW. $10.