Across three albums, Bedhead mastered an unusually majestic brand of Velvets-esque guitar rock: Built on the Kadane brothers’ drowsy vocals and interlocking, undistorted guitars, the band’s music was as slow as the line at the post office, yet affirming and simple as air. That tactic didn’t attract many followers: The fact that the term “slo-core” is now meaningful only to retired zine editors and Low fan-site managers speaks to how difficult it’s been to apply Bedhead’s formula since the mid-’90s. Even Matt and Bubba Kadane’s second act, the New Year, doesn’t quite measure up. Still, their self-titled third album makes a strong case for how flexible a band can be at resting-heartbeat tempos—groans of feedback stalk Matt’s sullen, closing-time piano on “Body and Soul”—and the guitars on “The Door Opens” are so charming and sleek it’s easy to forget that the song’s about the moment “all hell blows in.”
THE NEW YEAR PERFORMS WITH THE UGLY SUIT AT 9 P.M. AT DC9, 1940 9TH ST. NW. $12. (202) 483-5000.