TUESDAY

Over three full-lengths (1997’s Murder City Devils, 1998’s Empty Bottles Broken Hearts, and 2000’s In Name and Blood), the Murder City Devils have honed a sound that successfully melds furious garage punk (a ground-pounding two-guitar attack and vocalist Spencer Moody’s urgent yowl) with gothic melodrama (Leslie Hardy’s spook-house keyboards and Moody’s morbid lyrics). The Devils’ new Sub Pop EP, Thelema (which boasts such cheery titles as “Midnight Service at the Mütter Museum” and “Bride of the Elephant Man” and a tune about a death ship full of rats), finds the Seattle-based outfit rocking down a familiar gloomy path. Moody’s perpetually impassioned vocals—imagine an unholy schlupping together of Ian MacKaye, Ian Astbury, and Ian Curtis—tend to grate on the nerves after a while, and the band’s recorded work suffers from a sameness of sound. But any group with a song called “Johnny Thunders” is on the right track, and rumor has it that the Devils’ live shows are not to be missed. If you’re lucky, they may even launch into their fabulous cover of Neil Diamond’s “I’ll Come Running”—or maybe their instant Xmas classic “364 Days,” which wins my vote for best song ever about getting stinking drunk with Kris Kringle. The Murder City Devils play with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Land Lord at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14, at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $10. (202) 393-0930. (Michael Little)