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Canadian-born Spookey Ruben spent his high-school years in Reston, playing guitar and singing in a speed-metal band. Five years later, again residing in Canada, Ruben has moved on to the indie-pop/jazz-rock sound of his home-studio effort Modes of Transportation Vol. 1. Ruben adds spoken-word and bird-sound samples, plus Allan Holdsworth–inspired guitar noodling, to a pop structure built around vocals resembling those of Andy Partridge. More self-consciously wacky than XTC, he chirps nonsensically about “the explosions in your mind” and “the house of food.” He sounds best, though, when he keeps it simple and relies on Beach Boyish harmonies. With Morel and Hippo at 9:15 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1831 14th St. NW. $5. (202) 667-7960. CP