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Following the success of “Creep,” Radiohead‘s sophomore release could easily have duplicated the single-and-a-heap-of-filler formula that distinguished its debut. Instead, The Bends—a melodic collection of alterna-folk rock songs fueled by vocalist Thom Yorke’s sullen lyrics and sonorous vocals—avoids sequel status. The subtlety of The Bends may be a tougher sell to MTV-addled youth, but its rewards are far more exuberant. David Gray opens at 9:30 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1831 14th St. NW. $9. (202) 667-7960. (Christopher Porter)