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FRIDAY

The folks in Aspera must figure that “neoshoegazing” is spelled “L-S-D,” ’cause they’ve turned in the trippiest darn piece of wombadelia I’ve ever heard. Don’t get me wrong: The Philly quartet’s new Sugar & Feathered is hardly an effects-pedal masterpiece. Next to certifiably great dream-pop discs such as My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless, Disco Inferno’s D.I. Go Pop, and Slowdive’s Pygmalion, Sugar seems about as cheesy as its hippie-dippy cover art, which features hummingbirds, butterflies, and, um, elk wheeling around someone’s sun-stretched hands. The guys try real hard to please, though, cranking their Big Muffs, brutalizing their QuadraVerbs, and filling their songs with wacky noises, woozy time changes, and layers and layers of quirky little interlocking melodies. At its best—as on the sweeping, glittery “Great Leaps,” the fun-house-nightmarish “Don’t Look Down (At Everyone),” and the thudding, fuzzed-out “Pearl & Brine”—Sugar comes off like a lysergicized hybrid of MBV’s Isn’t Anything and Rollerskate Skinny’s Shoulder Voices, shifting between singsong melodies and holy-hell noisiness in a way that would please both Shields brothers. At its worst—more or less anytime the distortion level drops below 11—the album demonstrates just how irksome vocalist Drew Mills’ thin, nasally quaver and his bandmates’ fondness for plinky-plonky, off-kilter instrumentation can be. But, hey, how likely is it that they’re gonna haul that toy piano all the way down to D.C.? Aspera performs with (The Sounds of) Kaleidoscope and American at 8 p.m. Friday, June 29, at the Velvet Lounge, 915 U St. NW. $5. (202) 462-7625. (Leonard Roberge)