If Cymbals Eat Guitars’ classic-minded indie rock flatters established tastes and Freelance Whales’ homespun twee oozes Jason Reitman-like quirk, Brooklyn’s Bear in Heaven is this hype-heavy bill’s sonic wildcard. Last year, amid glowing reviews of the group’s second album, Beast Rest Forth Mouth, many critics hailed Bear in Heaven as an understated favorite of 2009. The band is just as appealing as its broad-minded tourmates, if not quite as niche-specific: The best songs on Beast Rest Forth Mouth evoke a sense of lingering paranoia, an almost Twin Peaks-like eeriness floating above moody synthesizers and laconic vocals. But as adept as the band is at constructing rich atmosphere, the pop sensibilities of “You Do You” and the single “Teenagers in Love” are persuasive indications that Bear in Heaven’s live show will rise above much of the album’s laptop-centric, knob-turning doldrums.
CYMBALS EAT GUITARS PERFORMS WITH BEAR IN HEAVEN AND FREELANCE WHALES AT 9:30 P.M. AT THE ROCK & ROLL HOTEL, 1353 H ST. NE. sold out. (202) 388-7625.