With its buttery chord changes and melodies that seem lifted from any number of sophisticated 70s pop records, Backyard Tire Fire's new full-length The Places We Lived is as sly and sneaky as its sources. From Bloomington, Ill., by way of North Carolina, Ed Anderson sings in an irresolute yelp perfectly suited to his great subject: provincial ennui. Everybody's so stressed, he declares, and Anderson's take on small town frustrations comes complete with nervous rhythms and finely worked verses and bridges. How in the Hell Did You Get Back Here? is a Rolling Stones rip that turns into a B.T.O. homage halfway through, while the riff that powers "Legal Crime" reveals a rare knack for goosing song form. Still, they're scruffy losers in the grand tradition. "She's setting me up/He'll be knocking me down," Anderson singshe seems to relish the prospect.
Wed., Dec. 3, 9 p.m., 2008