(Marymoor Park) Do they teach Steely Dan in universities now? They ought to. It would benefit humanity—and gratifyingly anger dogmatic punks—if aspiring musicians studied the long-running yacht-rock/jazz-pop group’s madly intricate compositions, immaculate virtuosity, and sardonic lyrics. You probably know and love—or loathe—the numerous hits (“Do It Again,” “Peg,” “Black Friday,” et al.); few bands are as divisive as Steely Dan, and arguments between fans and haters still cause much gnashing of internet bandwidth. But as sleek and catchy as the radio standards are, Steely Dan’s deep album cuts—“Doctor Wu,” “The Fez,” “Monkey in Your Soul,” et al.—reward sophisticated ears with equal aplomb. Hearing this smooth and twisted American music outdoors in the summer is like gorging on luxury. DAVE SEGAL
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Portland four-piece Aan make lovesick alt-pop that stumbles between meticulous-yet-slightly-off-kilter rock songs, and sun-in-your-eyes experimental slow pop. Sometimes the drums keep a technical pace under swirls of harmony and shimmering effects; sometimes the singer yowls like he’s had his heart broken by the same person more than once. You could definitely dance to Aan with emotional sparklers in your hands, but I’m not trying to get sued by the Sunset here or anything (love you, Sunset!). Also on the bill are distortion-laced psych-pop shredders Peeping Tomboys (whose new album Lo is worth checking out) and dreamy, Breeders-esque slow-rock masters Posse (whose new album Soft Opening is worth checking out). Be safe out there tonight! EMILY NOKES
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(Neumos) For 25 years, the Notwist largely have eschewed extremes in their music. Adhering to an “everything in moderation” approach has worked out well for the German group. Their considered fusion of sensible-shoed post-rock and beige, IDM-leaning electronic shadings culminated in 2002’s Neon Golden, a critical favorite that may have made your toes curl and tap in approval. Even Neon Golden’s glitches are tasteful and tidy. Markus Acher’s voice is so flat and fragile, it induces an odd sort of pity. It’s perfect for the Notwist’s poised, understated music. After a relatively quiet 12 years since Neon Golden, the Notwist issued Close to the Glass on Sub Pop this year. Contrary to the usual musical-career trajectory, they’ve made their best album more than two decades into the game. The Notwist upped the energy level and punched up the rhythms and weirded up the electronic elements, resulting in a vivid augmentation of their polite indietronica. “7-Hour-Drive” even evokes My Bloody Valentine ca. Isn’t Anything. Glass is much more neon and golden than Neon Golden. DAVE SEGAL
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And here's all our recommended music events—tonight, tomorrow, and beyond!