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Though they transplanted themselves to the Big Apple like sprouts looking for brighter light than can be found in the Big Swamp, the Walkmen are actually native Washingtonians. They almost flourished once before: Guitarist-pianist Paul Maroon, organist Walter Martin, and drummer Matt Barrick were all members of Jonathan Fire*Eater, which released the critically acclaimed Wolf Songs for Lambs in 1997. Unfortunately, Fire*Eater would prove to be the band that “almost made it”; fortunately, guitarist-vocalist Hamilton Leithauser and bassist Peter Bauer (both formerly of the Recoys) joined the rubble, grabbed a busted upright piano, and began to make dark, howling, sprawling musicand some actual cash from that Saturn commercial. Despite the flattering comparisons (Joy Division! Boy-era U2!) touted by every pub from the New Yorker to the Los Angeles Times, the band’s wonderful debut disc, last year’s Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone, is rooted in a sound all its own. The Walkmen play with the French Kicks and Rockmaster General at 9:30 p.m. on the Black Cat’s Mainstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $10. (202) 667-7960. (Anne Marson)