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If we remember Greg Cartwright for nothing else, let it be for liberating garage rock from the tyranny of the bowl cut. Cartwright’s old band, the Oblivians, snatched fuzzy three-chord rock from the jaws of the ’90s’ self-consciously wacky men in fringe vests, demonstrating that if you wanted to strip rock ’n’ roll to its essence, you needed to make more than your bangs swing. Some of the people who were listening then are big rock stars now—such as the Hives, for whom Cartwright’s new band, the Reigning Sound, is opening tonight. Until recently, Cartwright owned a record store in Memphis, and he’s got a love for dusty old singles as deep as the Mississippi River is long. That’s necessary to make music like his, but it often leads to fetishizing ancient recording techniques at the expense of songwriting. Fortunately, Cartwright has some real gems buried in the barn-burning distortion of Reigning Sound’s latest album, Too Much Guitar. Originals such as “Drowning” and “If You Can’t Give Me Everything” more than hold their own against the Jim Dickinson and Hank Ballard covers, perfect pop moments that don’t try to change your life but might just change your evening. The Reigning Sound plays with the Hives and Sahara Hotnights at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 20, at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $16. (202) 397-7328. (Andrew Beaujon)