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In the clubs 

90 Day Men (pictured), to many critics, scream "pretentious." Maybe it was the odd title to their debut full-length, [It (Is) It] Critical Band, or the fact that these St. Louis art-rockers sound a bit like Chicago-style wannabes. Then again, maybe these Men are just messing with us. Critical Band seems to be more a mockery of pretentiousness than an indulgence in it. And there's a warmth hidden behind the band's brash exterior, as exhibited on their follow-up disc, To Everybody. Beautiful piano sounds sweep over the entire album, creating haunting melodies and a seamless, psychedelic experience. The vocals have moved beyond the spoken-slurred style of their previous work and the instrumentation is softer, the overall experience more lush. Joining them this week is Richmond-based quartet Denali, featuring the soaring operatic vocals of Maura Davis (the little sis of Engine Down guitarist/vocalist Keely Davis). See them this Saturday, Aug. 17, at Go! Room 4 in Carrboro. Call 969-1400 for details. --Brendan Ferriter

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