We as a culture may never decide such debates, but bands like VCR make it a bit easier to decide whether or not bringing the wave back was a good idea. No mere Flock of Seagulls rehashers or over-ironic lampooners of new wave's nuke paranoia, VCR takes bygone synths and hardens the edges with a grasp of the intervening 20 years of pop history, hinting at the past without sinking too deeply into it.
They've got a bit of the core we've seen locally in Flee the Century, and it creates real heft, like those top-loading video cassette recorders of yore. Expect them to wield it like a bludgeon.
VCR at Rock Coffee with Flee the Century, LIMBS and A Taste of Silver on Monday, June 26, at 7 pm. Tickets: $5. Call 838-1864.
She may be dressed like a naughty little Boy Scout, but BRANDI CARLILE's music is all grown-up. She fits into that not-quite-a-genre of commanding female singer songwriters who don't sound like Ani DiFranco. A dying breed, perhaps -- especially given the number of waifs who broker in vulnerability -- but it's kept alive by the likes of Carlile, Fiona Apple and certain elder stateswomen (Lucinda Williams).
Like her forebears, homegirl's got a strong, gravelly voice and she uses it to powerful effect, touching on common pop themes -- falling in love, falling out of love -- with grit that's incredibly sexy, and no doubt inspirational for anyone who's been brokenhearted.
It'll also be nice for us music lovers, scared at the prospect of losing a great mid-sized venue like Fat Tuesday's. Brandi's determined to fight through it, and we should be as well.
Brandi Carlile at Fat Tuesday's on Wednesday, June 28, at 7 pm. Tickets: $12. Visit ticketswest.com or call 325-SEAT.