The Sea Life, left, and Pygmy Lush
The Sea Life, left, and Pygmy Lush

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Most happy hours: disappointing. Ours: totally essential.

This Friday, Washington City Paper is hosting an early-evening show at the Luce Foundation Center in the Smithsonian American Art Museum as part of its regular Luce Unplugged series. We’ve asked two great local bands to play, 3 Stars Brewing Company will be on hand offering free beer samples, and admission is free.

About the bands: Sterling, Va., outfit Pygmy Lush was born from the remains of screamo faves Pg. 99, and they brighten their gothic folk-rock with some post-hardcore tension (and the occasional post-hardcore explosion); their last full-length, Old Friends, “exudes the kind of control that comes from messing around with harsh, abrasive things and learning where they have their place,” we wrote in 2011. And apparently the band is writing a new song especially for the show.

Also on the bill is the Sea Life, another local group that tweaks its lustrous, languorous songs with bursts of intensity. The D.C. group released the excellent one-off single “Prozac and Merlot” earlier this summer; you can grab its 2013 full-length, In Basements, for free.

In addition to the free beer (free beer!) tastings, there will be a cash bar. The (free!) event starts at 6 p.m. in the Luce Foundation Center, on the top floor of the museum. Go ahead and RSVP here.