Nice Purse seem like they should be a cute band. Their sing-along lyrics and hippies-with-clean-hair look seem almost fresh-faced in this sloppy rock 'n' roll town. But if from afar they look like fuzzy kitties eating cotton candy, that makes the shock all the more pleasurable when you notice those kitties are flecked with blood splatter. Aww...kitties. It's Nice Purse's ability to make a sad song sound happy (for instance, in "Heart Medley" they cheer in unison, "If my heart was a movie/You should return it/Because you don't watch it anymore") that makes them better than the average college pop-rock band. Frantic acoustic strumming and lackadaisical vocals owe a debt to Black Lips, but Nice Purse are mentally healthy and coordinated (read: sober) enough to incorporate the occasional finger-picking sesh. And fierce, braying vocals reminiscent of old-school Modest Mouse make these clever darlings even more worth the listen. With Nona Marie & the Choir, Hot Freaks. 18+.
Fri., Feb. 17, 10 p.m., 2012