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Crooked Fingers 

With Micah P. Hinson and Justin Markert. Sunday, April 3, at the Grog Shop.

During his tenure fronting North Carolina's Archers of Loaf, Eric Bachmann made sure his group never sank too deeply into the guitar-band monotony so many indie acts are all too happy to propagate. By the Archers' last album, 1998's White Trash Heroes, he'd twisted their post-Superchunk blare into dark, noisy avant-rock knots. After such potency, it came as something of a disappointment that the first two albums by Bachmann's current band, Crooked Fingers, suggested that he'd be comfortable churning out volume after volume of dank piano-bar rock songs about drinking too much and generally feeling miserable. Dignity and Shame, the fourth Crooked Fingers album, lifts the doubt: It's a terrific set of texturally adventurous songs about drinking too much and generally feeling miserable, which finds the currently Seattle-based Bachmann's wandering spirit renewed. Many of the tunes sport fluttering Spanish guitar or bright mariachi-band horns, giving Bachmann's depression a romantic, wide-screen flair. The best tracks feature vocals by group member Lara Meyerratken: In the scintillating duet "Call to Love," when she calls Bachmann a "smooth-talking daddy" over exuberantly strummed electric guitars, you'll wonder which dank piano bar they've been frequenting.

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