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The problem with most rock instrumentals is that they sound like the singer just forgot to show up. On its major label debut, Interstate, Pell Mell avoids this distinction with compositions that hypnotize like a long highway drive at night, juggling limber passages and linear, Velvet Underground-style song structures. The disc’s melodic guidance is provided by David Spalding’s bracing guitar and Steve Fisk’s dexterous keyboard textures. With Low, a Minnesota-based trio whose sophomore album, Long Division, reveals a penchant for slow-motion, effects-laden threnodies. The Townies open at 10:30 p.m. at the 9:30 Club, 930 F St. NW. $8. (202) 393-0930. (Christopher Porter)