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Posted at 12:58 PM ET, 03/ 4/2009

March Mixtape

By David Malitz

You know it's a good month of shows when multiple dates present serious "which one to go to?" dilemmas. That's the case in March -- Estelle/Ryan Leslie or Crystal Stilts? Tindersticks or Black Lips/Gentleman Jesse? Morrissey or the Feelies or Clem Snide? (OK, Morrissey, no contest, but it's sold out.) Five picks here, 15 more after the jump.

"Feel the Sun" - Tindersticks (March 5, 9:30 club)
Tindersticks has always been one of the classiest bands around, and on the band's first new album in five years, the chamber rock arrangements and Stuart Staples' singular croon sound smooth as ever.

"You Don't Have To (If You Don't Want To)" - Gentleman Jesse & His Men (March 5, Black Cat)
A band that owes such a debt to Nick Lowe would be honored to be called pure pop for now people, and that's exactly what this Atlanta group offers an overflowing helping of on its debut album.

"Fangela" - Here We Go Magic (March 7, The Red & the Black)
This song has everything you'd expect from an indie-blog band in early 2009: some slighty electronic beats, multiple voices working in tandem, a hint of a world music vibe and a general sense of positivity. I think it sounds like what would happen if the Walkmen collaborated with High Places. I'm sure that clears it up for you.

"Sweet Girl" - Ringo Deathstarr (March 7, University of Maryland)
Definitely more Deathstarr than Ringo. But it might have sounded like the Beatles if they'd had an intense shoegaze phase.

"Before the Money Came" - Bettye LaVette (March 9, 9:30 club)
This autobiographical tale has a happy ending. Despite an excess of talent, LaVette never made a name for herself in the '60s and '70s, but she's enjoying a well-deserved late-career renaissance. It doesn't hurt that her voice is as powerful and soulful as ever.

"New Guitar" - Mi Ami (March 10, Velvet Lounge)
Funky, punky, clangy, sweaty, spastic, jammy.

"Stop Stomp Stompin'" - The Coathangers (March 11, Rock and Roll Hotel)
The Coathangers seem like the perfect band to play a house party: all ragged fun with a bit of a riot grrl mean streak.

"Technique Street" - The Homosexuals (March 13, Comet Ping Pong)
Here's the best way to let you know how much I adore these art-punk-originals: When they last played in D.C. in November, I formed a band just so I could open for them.

"The Boy With Perpetual Nervousness" - The Feelies (March 14, 9:30 club)
Damn you, Morrissey! It's not like I'm going to miss Moz when he comes to town, which means I won't be able to catch these reunited rockers who pretty much set up the template for '80s college rock and gave me one of my theme songs.

"Me No" - Clem Snide (March 14, Iota)
Damn you, Morrissey again! I'll also have to miss these alt-indie-rockers, who are touring for the first time in nearly five years in support of the excellent "Hungry Bird" and promising clever, quirky songs from Eef Barzelay's songbook.

"How It Was Supposed to Be" - Ryan Leslie (March 15, 9:30 club)
Estelle is the main draw at the 9:30 club, but don't miss local product Leslie, who just might be one of the next great pop music geniuses.

"The Dazzled" - Crystal Stilts (March 15, DC9)
Of the approximately 3,298 bands currently stationed in Brooklyn, these guys might just be the best. That is, if you enjoy ramshackle indie-pop songs sung by a guy who opens his mouth less than that guy on "The Wire" who wouldn't rat out his friends. (I've never actually watched "The Wire." My apologies if that character doesn't exist.)

"Shaking Hand" - Women (March 15, DC9)
The presence of this Canadian band on the undercard of the Crystal Stilts bill makes that one of March's best shows. Expect a nice middle ground between jittery and atmospheric.

"Emily Sparks" - Richard Buckner (March 19, Iota)
The always entrancing, gruff-voiced troubadour is touring behind a trio of reissued albums, including "The Hill," a haunting gothic-folk rendering of poet Edgar Lee Masters' "Spoon River Anthology."

"100 Yard Dash" - Raphael Saadiq (March 24, 9:30 club)
It's true -- one of the guys from Tony! Toni! Tone! has emerged as one of the best in the ever-growing neo-soul crowd.

"Call It a Day" - The Soft Pack (March 24, Black Cat)
This San Diego band used to be called the Muslims; perhaps NME (who is presenting this show) wanted a less controversial name for a band playing on its tour. No matter, the quartet's Strokes-but-slightly-more-lackadasical sound is surprisingly fresh, given how many Strokes imitators there were just a few years ago.

"Wild Type" - Weakends (March 24, Velvet Lounge)
It's more fun if it's French, right? Good news for Weakends, but even if this fuzzy, mod-pop number was made by some dudes from Topeka it would still be pretty awesome.

"Charlotte" - Booka Shade (March 25, 9:30 club)
This German electronic duo does what all similar acts try to do -- make danceable house music that's the complete opposite of that song the Roxbury twins would always dance to.

"Oh My God" - Ida Maria (March 26, Black Cat)
If you're going to name your song "Oh My God," it better be a one that gets your heart racing and inspires leaping, shouting, screaming and general mayhem. Ida Maria succeeds.

"All the Stars" - NOMO (March 27, Rock and Roll Hotel)
The last time NOMO brought its Afrobeat/psych-rock/jazz hybrid to the Rock and Roll Hotel, I witnessed more out-of-control dancing that at any other show I saw in 2008. Yes, that says plenty about the shows I go to, but just as much about the funkiness these eight generate on stage.

By David Malitz  | March 4, 2009; 12:58 PM ET
Categories:  Music  
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So, does this mean that you'll be out supporting the Atlanta bands at the Black Cat tonight?

Posted by: Jerry_T | March 5, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

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