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Not to play the wizened crosspatch, but time was when true rock awfulness required epic pretense: No garden-variety sprout could inscribe upon our souls the lapidary gibberish of “Desolation Row.” No mortal rhymester could make multitudes pay swooning obeisance to the afflatus of “Imagine.” Punier gods for punier times, I suppose. How about Kris Roe, unassuming frontman of the Ataris, a Santa Barbara, Calif., band I’d be surprised to remember next month? So faultlessly vacuous is Roe, so virginally unwrinkled his cerebrum, that when he desires “In This Diary” to express that these are the best days of our lives, he rouses the muse and bids her guide his quill: “These are the best days of our lives.” Every other line crafted for So Long, Astoria is precisely as undercooked, every other sentiment as bare. Move over, Billie Joe—”Good Riddance,” indeed—yearbook rock has at last found its laureate. Get sentimental when the Ataris play with the Juliana Theory, Further Seems Forever, and Damone at 7 p.m. at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $15. (202) 393-0930. (Glenn Dixon)