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In retrospect, it is probably a good thing that the Hang Ups took four years to record their latest, So We Go. In that time, they had to weather a costly defection (that of guitarist/sound scientist John Crozier) and some bad omens (reportedly the sessions began and ended on the same days as the O.J. trial). It was 1993 when the Hang Ups released their debut, He’s After Me, and with grunge in full flower, timid white guys playing power pop were hardly noticeable on the general public’s radar. Audiences for the band’s first-ever tour are now more likely to be hospitable to their command of sonics. These skinny Midwesterners have an uncanny ability for sounding huge, as if their guitars were layered and then compressed to maximum density. Or are they just two guys elevating the colossal weight of their worry with every strum? Whichever, the Hang Ups are pop fiends of the highest order, with lush soundtracks that are always in service of the songs. You would have a hard time convincing any beathead or punk of it, but, like Stereolab or Bis, the Hang Ups are hard-core in their own way, really. Leslie and Plate Six open at 8:30 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1831 14th St. NW. $5. (202) 667-7960. (Brett Anderson)