Nebraska band Cursive just released its first album in three years, Mama, I’m Swollen, on which it vacillates between manic and depressive, each song dripping with post-adolescent complaints. Frontman Tim Kasher’s lyrics are often querulous, sometimes despairing, always spirited; even the names of the songs reflect this choleric humor. “Art Is Hard,” complains one song. “Mama, I’m Satan,” declares another. But although Cursive’s caterwauling can border on maudlin, its form is, for the most part, well-realized. The band artfully combines dramatic guitar licks, staccato strings, shouted vocals, and an occasional dash of soft-boiled indie ballad; the resulting chaos is compact, carefully controlled, and engrossing.
CURSIVE PERFORMS WITH MAN MAN AND ANDREW WRIGHT AT 8 P.M. AT THE BLACK CAT, 1811 14TH ST. NW. $15–$17. (202) 667-4490.