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Stepping into the unknown hasn’t typically been the Hang Ups’ forte. They have long trodden where many other pop bands have trodden before, only better, and gigs away from their Minneapolis home were once as rare as accidental explosions in Belgrade. But in the past few years, the Hang Ups have become roadworthy as well as moderately exposed. (A song of theirs was even aired on Dawson’s Creek.) And with their forthcoming album, Second Story, they have broadened their usual masterful fusion of melancholy riffs and floating melodies. Judging from the new material, all of which was produced by long-ago R.E.M. collaborators Mitch Easter and Don Dixon, the Hang Ups are no longer content to let their guitars blow in the wind; instead, they juice their sound with a force they used to only imply, resulting in the most jagged, Brit-poppy music of their career. Granted, they still haven’t moved beyond tackling forms they know. But coming from such sensitive souls, the small shifts represented in their new work feel like the changing of seasons. The Hang Ups perform with the Saturday People at 9 p.m. Thursday, May 20, at the Galaxy Hut, 2711 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Free. (703) 525-8646. (Brett Anderson)