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Los Angeles-based guitarist and singer Imaad Wasif has been in halfway-decent bands his whole life. He played in the indie-rock group Alaska!, jammed with Lou Barlow in the New Folk Implosion, and even toured with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. So why is he so sad? On his second solo record, Strange Hexes, Wasif wades through some morose territory—setting lyrics that ponder love and madness to serpentine psych-rock and ornate Eastern-inflected finger-picking. “When you feel yourself caving in/Don’t move towards the beckoning hands,” sings a forlorn Wasif with all the weariness of an emo kid trapped forever in an inescapable Gothic labyrinth. Lyrics like those don’t go very far toward explaining Wasif’s pain, but they do capture a certain dark romance—one that’s entertaining even when it’s a little bit overwrought. Wasif WITH TWO PART BEAST performs with Jason Simon and the Dustys at 9:30 p.m. Sunday, July 13, at the Velvet Lounge, 915 U St. NW. $8. (202) 462-3213.