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Rock-music media has suffered from breeziness overload the last few years—at times, it seems, to the point of exhaustion. San Francisco band Girls, one of the Internet’s most hyped bands of 2009, rose to the top of the jangle-pop heap with its lauded debut, Album. But on that record’s tour, Girls choked, delivering droopy-lidded versions of even its peppiest tunes. It’s a wonder whether the band’s tour guitarist at the time, Ryan Lynch, had anything to do with that. Lynch makes his own pop music with his band Dominant Legs, and while the Redwood City native doesn’t have the insane backstory as Girls frontman Christopher Owens (son of a cult member, escaped, became addicted to opiates), his band deserves a slice of the jangle-pop fame pie. Dominant Legs’ first full-length, Invitation, is sparkly and unabashedly poptastic, clearly enamored with The Go-Betweens, Aztec Camera, and the funky white-boy inclinations of Orange Juice. But on this LP and the band’s debut EP Young at Love and Life, Lynch shows a morose streak, possibly cribbed from Arthur Russell, the king of tortured pop profundity. True to Lynch’s origins, Dominant Legs is a little more San Fran than SoCal; even the band’s sunny moments don’t rule out the possibility of fog. Dominant Legs performs with Nurses at 8:30 p.m. at Red Palace. $10.
Steven Pinker‘s book, The Better Angels Of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, graced the cover of Sunday’s New York Times book review section. That may be all some folks need to hear. But the Harvard professor’s latest does sound like a meaty tome. Reviewer Peter Singer runs through just a handful of the big questions Pinker asks in his 800 pages: “Is there a link between the human rights movement and the campaign for animal rights? Why are homicide rates higher in the southerly states of this country than in northern ones? Are aggressive tendencies heritable? Could declines in violence in particular societies be attributed to genetic change among its members?” The author reads from his book at 7 p.m. at Politics & Prose. Free.
Dominant Legs is our pick o’ the evening, but there’s also Ladytron at 9:30 Club, Boyz II Men at Birchmere, and Virginia Beach death-metal band Arsis at Jaxx (who is killer). If you’re someone who has trouble deciding between those three, consider a blogging career at the City Paper.