Des Ark's Aimee Argote

It’s about to be showcase season—-only 1,500 miles away, at the South by Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas. We’re not totally out of luck here, though. Windian Records has an all-day showcase at U Street Music Hall Saturday (more on that later this week) titled “Fuck SXSW.” Like the Windian kids, Arlington’s Lovitt Records seems to be skipping SXSW this year. But two of its mainstays—-Des Ark and Pygmy Lush—-are currently on tour together, and they’re bringing their de facto label showcase to the Black Cat tonight. Both bands have new full-lengths out on Lovitt this year.

The newest Des Ark songs turn town the twang but up the stakes: They might start small—-with distant noodling and sweet vocals from Aimee Argote—-but usually end up huge, with mountains of harmonies, tidal-wave percussion, ringing guitars, and layers and layers of what sounds like toy pianos or glockenspiels or other things associated with finicky twee. It’s now less country punk than pop punk, but it’s also epic. I’ve been totally losing it for the song “Bonne Chance Asshole” all week.

YouTube video

If what I’ve heard of Pygmy Lush’s new record is a fair indication, the Sterling, Va., band is still doing what it’s been doing, but that’s a good thing: The band traffics in moody shanties that clang and menace and build into aching cacophonies.

Des Ark, Pygmy Lush, and Hey Girl perform 8:30 p.m. tonight at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $10.