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Listen Up!

Listen Up! brings you songs of bands and performers coming through town in the next week. Listen up, then go check them out live.

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Tuesday, May 20
The Helio Sequence’s “Lately” takes us back to our days in college, when breakups and fallouts were followed by the creation of epic iTunes playlists filled with tracks reminding us how great we were doing on our own, even though we really weren’t. The Portland duo takes over the Black Cat tonight with its seamless blend of pop and folk. “Hallelujah” is another track worth checking out.

• Folksinger Laura Veirs—who counts Thao Nguyen as a fan and thus can do no wrong in our book—and her band, the Saltbreakers, play Jammin’ Java at 8. Behind drums in the band is Tucker Martine, who’s produced records for both Veirs and Nguyen.

Wednesday, May 21
The Mary Onettes sound like a band stuck in the ’80s and, honestly, we couldn’t be happier about it. You can’t miss the influence of the Cure when you listen to “Lost,” and “Void” is a bizarre cross between Echo and the Bunnymen and A-ha that has us feverishly tapping our feet and swaying our heads. The band, originally from Sweden, plays at DC9 with the local band U.S. Royalty.

Thursday, May 22
• Somewhat of an oddball, Nick Thorburn—former frontman of the Unicorns and the mastermind behind the Islands—draws inspiration for songs from murderous teenagers and German philosophers with equal ease. The result is an album full of distinctive tracks like “Creeper,” which masks its description of a sinister scenario with a peppy percussion beat and guitars. The Islands play the main stage at the Black Cat, with Magic and Street Carnage opening.

Saturday, May 24
• Not to be confused with the Private Practice actress of the same name—or fellow British crooner Kate Nash, for that matter—Kate Walsh brings her guitar along for a performance at Iota.

Sunday, May 25
• It’s been months since we first purchased Seawolf’s record, and it’s still one of our favorites. Pitchfork be damned, we find “Middle Distance Runner” to be quite charming. Currently touring with the Jealous Girlfriends, Seawolf plays at the Rock and Roll Hotel.

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