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16

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Those of you who dropped icy tears when Denali broke up will be tickled to learn that lead singer Maura Davis is back with a new band, Bella Lea. The group’s three-song demo features Davis’ trademark tweaky-angel vocals padded by music less ambient than Denali’s but just as otherworldly. Opener “The Mess” is just that: Former Pinebender compatriots Matt Clark and Stephen Howard thicken the mix with dark guitar chords and a throbbing bass line, respectively, that awkwardly crash into one another. Combined with Ryan Rapsys’ kick-drum-heavy thumping, the effect is that of different versions of the same song imperfectly layered. It’s much cooler than it sounds, haunted and chaotic in the way Evanescence wishes it were. Closer “Save It” is a frail lament of the twangy, Twin Peaks–ian variety, narrowly rescued from its pigeonhole by the charming addition of mandolin and sleigh bells. Check out these songs on the band’s creepily worshipful MySpace Web page, and see what else Bella Lea has to offer when the band plays with Cub Country at 9 p.m. on the Black Cat’s Backstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $7. (202) 667-7960. (Anne Marson)