JANUARY 23

Jim Youngberg: “And then sometimes it’s the 9:30 Club.” Rob Youngberg: “In Washington, D.C. The smell is legendary.” Bill Ferguson: “You play there and automatically your clothes smell like sweat, rat poison, and cigarettes,” and on and on and on, the members of Lotion explain to Thomas Pynchon, in Esquire, the many sensual pleasures of the old 9:30 Club. Oh, the good ol’ days. On its current tour through D.C., Lotion will have little more to contend with than boutique beers, edible food, and ace acoustics. But now that Pynchon has written something more substantive than liner notes, Lotion may have to reinvent itself as wholly as the 9:30 Club if it hopes to hold onto its place as the hipster-intellectual’s favorite New York foursome. After all, the band’s first two albums, full Isaac and Nobody’s Cool, did little to distinguish Lotion from its power-pop brethren. Both records are perfectly good examples of melody-driven rock ‘n’ roll. The lyrics are sweet, witty, and often goofy meditations on love, childhood, and other elemental matters. Guessing from the group’s latest album, due out in April, Lotion’s new shtick is to pay homage to another cultural heavyweight: “My Name is Prince” is one track, “I Love Me (Vol. 1)” is another. And the album’s title is an unpronounceable telephone symbol. Maybe J.D. Salinger will take up the group’s cause. With the White and the Put-Outs at 9:30 p.m. at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $5. (202) 393-0930. (Paul Demko)

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