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Twelve years ago, the Silos’ Walter Salas-Humara (pictured) emerged out of nowhere as a master of the roots-inflected, seemingly tossed-off pop song, and he’s struggled to match his early glories ever since. As much as any songwriter of his generation, Salas-Humara has been a victim of setting the bar high—there isn’t a singer in Texas who wouldn’t love to claim authorship of anything on ’86’s About Her Steps or ’87’s Cuba, both of which still sound like best-of’s. At their most potent, the Silos prove that roots music needn’t be a slave to convention—an approach that extends to its leader’s career. Ever since Bob Rupe (now with Cracker) split, Salas-Humara has been the Silos’ only real fixed member, and as he’s busied himself lately with solo projects and short-lived collaborations, he hasn’t given the band his full attention. Heater, the Silos’ first recording in four years, joins the part of their oeuvre that needs to be picked at for gems; Salas-Humara is weakest when he tries to rock and best when he’s longing for the road (see “Let’s Take Drugs and Drive Around” or the new disc’s “Stoplight”). Live, the Silos tend to lean on their best material, so tonight expect the set list to be flecked with some of the greatest nonhits you’ll ever hear. With the Drovers at 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, at Iota, 2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. $10. (202) 522-8340. (Brett Anderson)