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THURSDAY

There’s a certain sweet slowness to life in the West that is entirely missing (and missed!) in the frantic Northeast. When I’m homesick and dreaming of the West Coast, there are certain records that never fail to make me feel closer to home: the Ginger Baker Trio’s Going Back Home, Modest Mouse’s Interstate 8, and anything by the Friends of Dean Martinez. The Friends’ lulling tunes are reminiscent of empty prairies and rain-washed landscapes, and although the band has a revolving membership, the influences of its members’ other outfits—Calexico, Giant Sand, and Tom Waits’ backing band—are readily apparent. Their songs are hauntingly complex, liltingly sweet, and utterly outstanding. Touring in support of their newly released album, A Place in the Sun, the Friends will re-create the sounds of the lonesome Wild West in the middle of Washington (with the 45s opening) at 10 p.m. at the Metro Cafe, 1522 14th St. NW. $10. (202) 518-7900. (Lisa Locker)