PRETTY OLD, WHITNEY BALLEN, ALBERT SQUARE
Maybe you're one of the lucky souls who hasn't spent any part of your young adulthood in cramped, dark kitchens clutching a cup of caffeinated liquid and feeling utterly convinced that you're never gonna figure out this thing called "life." (In this case, stop reading and tell the rest of us what you did right.) I'm not talking about students fretting over an ideal academic track, or newly vacant graduates armed only with the solid knowledge that they have no idea what to do with the rest of their lives. I just mean the day-to-day struggle of getting a handle on the basic stuff that constitutes living. When will I start putting money away in savings? What is going to happen if I eat another dinner of tortilla chips? How am I even supposed to find the motivation to roll out of bed today? I listen to Pretty Old and think about these kinds of domestic anxieties. I hear songs about walking home with groceries in the rain, dealing with disinterested former lovers, the world turning round and round while people are barely keeping it together. I suspect that some might consider this music bleak, dreary, and possibly extremely desperate. Earlier recordings without a full band are sparse affairs, as deep, hushed voices and quiet guitars play up these attitudes, but I also find Pretty Old noble and inspiring, capturing the beauty of mundane "day in, day out" moments and trying to find something close to humanity in them. With Whitney Ballen and Albert Square. Heartland, 9 pm.
THE NUMBS, A WHITE HUNTER, FREE PUNK, FUNKY PHOTOS
Allow me to be the umpteenth person to praise the Numbs. Pulsing into peculiar but euphonious sound collages, this latest project from Seattle electronic musician Jeff Johnson lends itself to viscous descriptions. You might liken the music to a lava lamp, malleable songs that twist and ooze into unique yet unmistakably familiar forms, or instead think that it sounds like frozen juice concentrate, because each number is short and sweet without anything extra. Whatever you prefer, it's fluidly engrossing, and the Numbs should never be missed. With A White Hunter, Free Punk, and Funky Photos. Black Coffee Co-Op, 8 pm.