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Some songs sound weird until you listen to them more closely and realize that neither the words nor the music is all that interesting. Some songs sound sort of unremarkable until you find that the words are about something stranger than what you thought they were about or that the guitar part is trickier than you realized. And then there are some songs that start off sounding kind of weird and just get weirder, thornier, and more interesting the more you listen to them.

British Columbia’s Frog Eyes specialize in that last category. Bandleader Carey Mercer apparently idolizes oddballs such as Scott Walker and Captain Beefheart but has a lot to say himself — Frog Eyes have released nine albums since 2002. Still, Mercer is apparently determined not to make it easy to tell what he’s going on about. He sings in a voice that alternates between quavering and keening, moping and whooping. His band — which includes wife Melanie Campbell, Megan Boddy, Michael Rak, and Ryan Beattie — starts with relatively straightforward roots-rock elements and pulls them in disorienting directions to keep up with Mercer. (Think Nick Cave, Tom Waits, or bands trying to keep up with a raving street lunatic.) Then there are Mercer’s lyrics, which are even more oblique than his song titles suggest — not an easy task when you write titles like “Caravan Breakers, They Prey on the Weak and the Old” and “The Fox Speaks to his Wife, Who Is Not Quite Sure.” So you know that digging into this stuff is not going to be easy, but if you’re up for it, you’ll find it rewarding.

Past Event

Frog Eyes

  • Thursday, May 27, 2010, 8:30 p.m.
  • Casbah, 2501 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego
  • $8 - $10
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