Italian/Japanese-by-way-of-NYC band Blonde Redhead's music has always been as confounding, fascinating and as seemingly incongruous as their name. But they've whittled out a niche in the überhipster scene because they manage to sculpt all those disparate sounds together into something absorbing and, on their past two records, somehow soothing. Longtime fans may pine for the days when they made angular, jarring rock songs brimming with fierce, random energy, but for now, it seems Blonde Redhead are content to build tension in more subtle ways. Despite intricate arrangements and orchestral juxtapositions bordering on the psychedelic, Misery Is a Butterfly—like 2001's charming Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons—is a mellow, comfy-couch-in-the-coffee-shop kind of album. Even mousy vocalist Kazu Makino—she sounds like Björk, if Björk were singing while getting squeezed by a boa constrictor—is quietly curious and sometimes seductive with her suggestive squeaking (like when she coos the line "I long to kiss pink love"—now what could she possibly be singing about?!?), trading off reactions to love and pain with the helium-huffed drone of singer/guitarist Amedeo Pace. They pile the organs (both electric and airy), an array of strings, skittery guitars and some of the most distinctive vocals in modern pop on top of drummer Simone Pace's graceful, complex timekeeping. The last song, "Equus," is one for the old fans, with the guitar in the lead and Makino's voice chasing it down, like they don't want you to forget their power after all that prettiness.
Blonde Redhead perform with Performance Eight and the Casual Dots at The Glass House, 200 W. Second St., Pomona, (909) 629-0377. Sun., 7 p.m. $13.50-$15. All ages.
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