SATURDAY

You gotta see this band, I pleaded with my friends two years ago as I tried to conjure the fuzzed-out, cinematic doo-wop of Broadcast’s Haha Sound that pushed the record onto my top-10 list for 2003. Who knew that the then-quartet’s set at the Black Cat would be so incredibly loud as to impair our hearing for the next 24 hours? It rivaled the Great Mogwai Debacle for that year’s Show I Most Regret Talking Up. But I stand by my assessment of Sound: Who can resist Trish Keenan’s light vocal-tripping through the fun-house ditty “Colour Me In,” the siren song “Before We Begin,” or the marching-band anthem “Man Is Not a Bird”? Sound’s blankets of rhythm provide just enough of a chaotic cushion for Keenan’s tenderness, but the band’s newest album, the somewhat ironically titled Tender Buttons, finds the now-pared-down, boyfriend-girlfriend duo providing less of a soft place to fall. Keenan’s flaky sweetness is still there, but the sonics she and bassist James Cargill have cooked up are a bit thin and gimmicky: a single cluster of bleeps and bloops (“Michael A Grammar”), a single note plucked over and over again on a guitar (“Tender Buttons”). And the band’s endearing homage to Motown is all but gone, leaving only this question: Can one note played at an unspeakable volume possibly be as loud as a wall of sound? Come find out (but bring earplugs!) when Broadcast pumps up the volume with Gravenhurst and Tralala at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, on the Black Cat’s Mainstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $12. (202) 667-7960. (Anne Marson)