Like so many other acts, the Rosebuds want to have their cake and eat it, too— they want to remain stern-browed, all the while barely stifling a chortle. The North Carolina-based duo of Kelly Crisp and Ivan Howard offer up formalist indie-rock numbers that present as thoroughly serious but dissolve, lyrically, into goofisms. (Take that, Fiery Furnaces!) Consider, for instance, "Cape Fear" from this year's Life Like (Merge): Structurally, it's got slacker love song written all over it. Dundering guitars recycle a simple hook, synths reiterate what the guitars are doing at key intervals, and Crisp drapes her voice over the whole shebang as though it's a shabby dorm couch. But wait—she's singing about a baby catfish she was supposed to feed but didn't. Instead, she freed it, it ate a man, and she'd really appreciate updates on the situation as it unfolds: "Holla at me!" Or their cover of "Push It," which bulges with irony by playing Salt-N-Pepa's old-school rap classic totally straight. With Megafaun. 21+.
Sun., Nov. 16, 8 p.m., 2008