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When the single “My Last Hostage” by the Life and Times popped up last summer, it was easy to imagine that it had been squirreled away somewhere since the ’90s, with its wall-of-sound guitars and its simmering synth hooks. But one look at the lineup of the band explained everything: That buzzy familiarity was the work of Allen Epley, the former frontman of Shiner, one of the many indie bands that had a mid-decade heyday (1997’s Lula Divinia), reached an artistic peak (2001’s ambitious The Egg), and then called it quits. Shiner’s sound was more thinky than welcoming, but the Life and Times seem intent on making big, dreamy crowd-pleasers. Drummer Chris Metcalf (also in the Stella Link) is the crucial component—he’s always in the pocket, locking things down so Epley’s riffs never bleed too far into the cosmos. The Life and Times open for metalists Pelican and Japanese instrumentalists Mono at 8 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $12. (202) 667-7960. (Joe Warminsky)