Get our free newsletter

SUNDAY

If bands like Blind Faith, Asia, and the Traveling Wilburys are the X-Men of super-groups, then the Vancouver-based New Pornographers are more like Alpha Flight. Still, you can’t deny the power of the band’s team (Carl Newman of Zumpano, John Collins of the Evaporators, Kurt Dahle of Limblifter, Dan Bejar—aka Destroyer—alt-country sweetheart Neko Case, and filmmaker Blaine Thurier), muscularly displayed on 2000’s Mass Romantic. With Newman’s nervy pop intensity, Bejar’s Bowie/Bolan fixation, and Case’s occasional bighearted country croon, the New Pornographers sound like all your favorite records playing at once. Such as records from tonight’s billmates the Frames. After releasing three mostly ignored, over-produced albums on major labels, the Irish quintet retrenched with indies (Plateau in the U.K., Overcoat in the U.S.) for 2001’s For the Birds—and it seems the band finally made the disc it wanted. Steve Albini’s production is uncharacteristically delicate—the gaggle of strings and acoustic guitars are so intimately rendered that they feel as if they were being bowed and strummed right in your lap. Fans of early Red House Painters, Nick Drake, and other folk-rock melancholists will adore the Frames and their lead songwriter, Glen Hansard. And fans of post-emo chamber rock will dig Matt Pond PA, who opens at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $10. (202) 667-7960. (Christopher Porter)