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Clem Snide with the Weather and the Capitol Years

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Clem Snide with the Weather and the Capitol Years

A songwriter who can conjure titles such as "Nick Drake Tape," "Messiah Complex Blues" and "Joan Jett of Arc" is worth at least your passing interest, and a songwriter who can create stories of longing and loves long gone that manage to live up to those promising titles deserves your patronage. Eef Barzelay, leader of the Brooklyn-based chamber pop quartet Clem Snide, has proven he can do just that across the band's three albums, most notably last year's alternately crisp and quiet but always exhilarating The Ghost of Fashion. The core guitar-cello-upright-bass-drums lineup recalls Alejandro Escovedo's self-described "classical glam" configuration, and the middle-of-a-long-night vibe brings to mind fellow alt-country outskirts dwellers Varnaline, The Scud Mountain Boys and Silver Jews. But Barzelay's penetratingly original lyrical touch ("The world was shining like a jewel/But on the surface very cruel/So Jesus picked up his guitar/And sang about a shooting star"), and the whole outfit's ability to get more out of the spaces between notes than a host of bands get from the notes themselves has enabled Clem Snide to lay claim to a chunk of turf they can truly call their own. See them Saturday, March 9, at Kings Barcade in Raleigh. --Rick Cornell

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