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NOVEMBER 28

Dime-store novel aesthetics are about a dime a dozen. It’s too easy to hover over a watered-down drink, on an uneven stool, in a run-down bar as Tom Waits stumbles out of the jukebox. But while Kid Congo Powers and Sally Norvell are steeped in the nocturnal world of stale cigs and Jim Thompson wannabes, their music and sentiments are far from cliched; like white light, their new project, Congo Norvell, calls on every color to make up its tone. On the consistently captivating Abnormals Anonymous, their latest ode to the midnight hour, the two team up for five tracks with vocalist Mark Eitzel—he of the unlimited and often untapped talent. But under the sublime spell of Powers’ spookily reverbed guitar, (which has cast similar magic upon Nick Cave, the Cramps, and the Gun Club), Eitzel’s emotional bellowing is mesmerizing. Norvell sings in a husky voice that, while not technically great, delivers all the sustained drama the songs demand. See Congo and Norvell turn out the lights with Tarot Bolero and Leslie at 9:30 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1831 14th St. NW. $6. (202) 667-7960. (Christopher Porter)