Backyard Tire Fire

Hailing from downstate Illinois, Backyard Tire Fire play a ragged, sincere, blue-collar brand of indie rock that feels particularly Midwestern. Entirely unpretentious, BTF's arrangements have a meat-and-potatoes straightforwardness, yet are crafty enough to sprout a distinctive character; a dissonant keyboard flourish here, a syncopated rhythm there, the odd juxtaposition of snarly guitar and elegiac piano, and a flair of honky-tonk. Songwriter, lead singer, and guitarist Ed Anderson essentially puts barroom conversations to music: confessionals, complaints, laments, impertinent questions, and bittersweet reflections. All are found on last summer's The Places We Lived (Hyena), which stretches from the bluesy, cello-buoyed, Tom Waits-like ballad "Rainy Day (Don't Go Away)" to the searing, guitar-driven boogie-rocker "How in the Hell Did You Get Back Here?" The loose thread woven throughout is the sense that there's no place like home, for better ("how I wanna come home today") or worse ("Everybody's this damn town"). With Apparently Nothing. 18+
Thu., April 23, 8 p.m., 2009

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