There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
From Louis Armstrong to Mudhoney, scuzz was one of the great American musical traditions of the 20th century. Nowadays, though, there’s a whole contingent of folks who try to turn fuzz into digitized soundscapes as shiny and slick as an OK Computer screen. Cutlery has largely forsaken the serrated edges of pure aggression for the smooth sharpness of synthetic textures—music that prefers ProTools to Big Muffs. Vocalist Ryan Grimes does the Chino Moreno, leading the mix like a frontman’s frontman. He’s a little emo-tive, not quite sing-speaking but not quite sing-singing, screaming occasionally to remind you that he cares more than he lets on. The band is able to cull a surprising amount of feeling from the bleeps, beats’n’ticks, saw synths, and sine waves with which they surround themselves, and they lay down mood like a monolith. See Cutlery with the Drugstore Cowboys at 9 p.m. at the Black Cat’s Backstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $6. (202) 667-7960. (Doug Tye)