Two years ago, Magnolia Electric Co. frontman Jason Molina unwittingly defined a genre of music with a simple question. "What comes after the blues?" The sad-bastard blues are about daring to answering that question—and I'll give you a hint, the answer isn't happiness. Thomas Pendarvis of the Good Neighbor Policy falls decidedly on the sad bastard side of the blues/bastard rift. He possesses the gravitas of Smog's Bill Callahan, the heartbroken gospel of Molina, and a backing band that swoons as effectively as it bangs (most of that sound being telegraphed by the fingertips of pianist James Palmer). All of this can be heard on the band's debut disc Kill...the Good Neighbor Policy, most distinctly on his somber tale of vicious infidelity, "This Beast." "I am selfish, I am jealous, and I am cruel," he sings as the strings tug the edges of the song. "Maybe I gave up when the Lord gave up on me." This, from a 25-year-old? A little young to start realizing that, once you look past the blues, you're looking into the abyss.
Wed., Oct. 24, 7 p.m., 2007