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Whenever I play Papas Fritas’ self-titled debut, I start on the last song, a whip-smart shout-along called “Afterall,” then zip back to the beginning. The bratty tune opens with a reference to smoking pot out of soda cans and goes on to mock someone who hasn’t been invited to a party: “My house/You’re home/Two words: You’re alone!” The Boston trio is generally more cuddly than cruel, but this song appropriately sets a tone for those teen years when being wild at heart meant wearing innocence as a badge of courage. It’s a tactic Papas Fritas use often in their songs, as they mix cheeky new wave, sunny Beach Boys pop, and rambunctious Brit-punk. While the band’s music once sought to forestall fading youth, maturity is the hot topic on their latest, Helioself. On “Live by the Water,” singer/guitarist Tony Goddess even finds some decent reasons to move to the suburbs. “The city brings the man out in the man,” he argues, “and it makes it hard for me to understand your feelings.” If that all sounds a little precious, that’s because it is. But as headliner Tuscadero should help demonstrate this evening, innocence is often just a cover for those hard kernels of truth. With the Others and Starry Eyes at 9:30 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1831 14th St. NW. $6. (202) 667-7960. (Brett Anderson)