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Thursday

Excessively straightforward song lyrics can be cringe-inducing. Fans of abstract artistry might not take a shine to a singer who declares, “I want cold impersonal sex during which I’ll be pretending I’m with someone else” and “I hear him stretching the condom like he’s making a balloon animal.” Yet, somehow, Mecca Normal, aka vocalist Jean Smith and guitarist David Lester, get a pass. A unique offshoot of skronky, delay-drenched ’80s No Wave, the pair has enjoyed a 20-year reign as Vancouver, British Columbia’s generally drum-free art-punk duo. Their latest, The Observer, is a desperately personal record inspired by Smith’s Internet dating experiences. (Yep, you read that right.) The LP is more immediately pop than earlier efforts—Lester focuses less on hypnotic guitar loops than honest-to-goodness chord progressions—but Smith burns through songs like “I’m Not Into Being the Woman You’re With While You’re Looking for the Woman You Want” in a casual, no-nonsense Sprechstimme that’s as awkward as it is compelling. Watch these legends continue their unusual journey through the avant-garde—always on point but comfortably north of hip—at 8:30 p.m. at the Warehouse, 1017 7th St. NW. $8. (202) 783-3933. (Justin Moyer)