Devotees of the local rock scene have long kept an eye on scholarly philoso-punk songwriter Daniel Pujol and his outfit PUJOL. Those of us who care about the sort of reverse-engineered pop and whip-smart, big-picture lyrics — snarled as they may be — that Pujol seems to be born to make have snatched up each cassette and 7-inch that the titan of garage-rock DIY has churned out. But with the release of PUJOL’s full-length Saddle Creek Records debut, United States of Being (out today), the Pujolian songbook gets a retooling. On USoB, Nashville’s show-going rock ’n’ roll community will find a collection of mostly familiar songs that have now gestated for months and years in the creative pressure cooker that is Mr. Pujol’s brain. There’s the longtime live staple, “Endless Mike” — once a swift-moving rocker — suddenly stripped acoustic, backed with whirling atmospherics and landing closer to Radiohead’s The Bends than to Buzzcocks’ Love Bites. There’s “Black Rabbit,” once produced by Jack White and released as a Third Man Records single, now more about the song’s naturally pulsing, burning energy than dueling guitars or lighting-fast drum fills. But there’s new stuff, too, from the consumerism-critiquing “Made of Money” to the relentless, feel-good, punk-pop whirlwind of “Niceness.” And it’s all fashioned into one cohesive, ambitious, smartly arranged piece, adorned with found sounds — falling rain, cell phones buzzing and beeping — that are perhaps there to remind us that no art is made in a vacuum, and that Pujol, probably more than most, wants to say something meaningful about … well, everything. Tonight’s lineup is absolutely packed with stellar locals: Natural Child, D. Watusi and Fox Fun, not to mention several poetry readings. —D. PATRICK RODGERS
I recently thought of "philoso-punk" and am obviously somewhat proud of it. Cover for that one is $5, and it kicks off at 8 p.m. Oh, but there's more. You guys know about I Believe in Hotpants yet?
Their music is far better than their name ... not that that's difficult. Hotpants are playing with Calicocat, Scale Model and Anchor Thieves tonight at Exit/In, and I wrote a pick on that one too:
If you made it past this band’s dreadful name and are still reading, then good for you. You don’t judge the proverbial book by its cover — or by its title, anyway. And it’s a good thing that you don’t. Because, while I Believe in Hotpants sounds like the name of a cock-rock band made up of strip-club bouncers or some such, it’s actually the moniker of a pretty strong and dynamic local outfit (and they really seem more harmlessly nerdy than intentionally lascivious, if the bass player’s Battlestar Galactica T-shirt is any indication). On their brand-new The Crowning EP, Hotpants bounce around from the sort of big, catchy power-pop melodies that all the ’90s’ “Super” bands made in their heyday (-chunk, -grass and fellow Nashvillians -drag, particularly) to mathy interludes and dissonant, punky breakdowns. Generally, the EP goes down like an indie- and alt-rocking blast from about 15 years ago — some sort of combination of Built To Spill and Toadies, with the proficiency you’d expect from a power trio of jovial rock nerds. Fellow local rockers Calicocat, Scale Model and Anchor Thieves — all of them Scene-approved — will also play. —D. PATRICK RODGERS
That one's also $5. But how am I to clone myself and attend both of the shows I critically picked? Perhaps I'll skip them both and attend YACHT's appearance with Onuinu and Jasmin Kaset at The High Watt instead. Not really, but that sentence made for a decent segue into Lance Conzett's Pick:
Hailing from the long shadow of James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem and DFA Records (to which they are currently signed), YACHT’s evolution over the years from bleep-bloop laptop atmospheria into groovy disco-pop has been fascinating. Originally founded by former member of The Blow Jona Bechtolt, YACHT is a chameleonic electronic pop project, adapting to fit the new indie electronica hotness as it presents itself on the pages of Pitchfork and Brooklyn Vegan. As it stands now, Bechtolt (now joined by deadpan singer Claire L. Evans) has found a comfortable niche in the realm of chilled-out dance pop, finding more in common with Tina Weymouth and Deborah Harry than their frenetic brethren in dance punk circles. YACHT’s fifth album, Shangri-La, leads them further down the path of being a “band,” rather than a “project,” with songs like “Love in the Dark” and “Beam Me Up” pairing clever lyricism with electroclashy beats. —LANCE CONZETT
If you're feeling charitable, there's also the Stars for Second Harvest show at The Ryman, and if you're feeling singer-songwriterly and nostalgic, there's the Bluebird Cafe's 30th Birthday Bash. And Mark Sultan will be at The Zombie Shop with Denney and the Jets and Majestico, but more on that later. If you've read this far and still can't find something you deem worthy of your own presence, then you probably just don't like guitar music of any sort. Stay home. Maybe you can find a nice documentary on choral groups on Netflix or something.