10 p.m. White Water Tavern. $5.
The Ezra Lbs. self-titled debut, out now on Thick Syrup Records and available at this record release show, is quite an odd album, and I mean that in the best way possible. It seems to have been written, recorded and sequenced without any consideration whatsoever of following convention.
The album is 22 songs, divided between perfectly rough-around-the-edges garage-rock tunes, wistful bedroom pop and meandering instrumental passages, such as "Pennies," which has an underwater lounge-jazz feel, and "Insomnia," which recalls those drifting interstitial pieces from Eno's timeless "Another Green World."
"Bears" and "Postcard" are fantastic, melancholy sketches that remind me a bit of The Great Unwashed (David and Hamish Kilgour's excellent, under-heralded post-Clean collaboration). "Purple Sweater" is a wordless, minute-and-a-half blast with a late-period Jay Reatard vibe that segues into the delightful "Record." But as good as all those songs are, for me, the sweet spot is the final stretch of the album. The last four songs make up a perfect suite of gorgeous guitar rock that I've listened to over and over. The last song in particular, "Motorcycle Accident," is sublime, with soaring, gorgeously distorted guitar.
In a basic sense, Ezra Lbs. is building on similar influences as the British band Yuck — which I also love — those being Yo La Tengo, Dinosaur Jr., Pavement and the like. But this Arkansas crew is more restless, adventurous and willing to take those familiar touchstones in weirder directions. It'll be interesting to see where they go next, but until then we'll have this very enjoyable album to absorb.
Also playing is the ever-burly rock machine known as Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth.