Papa M

With the Watchers and EZT. Monday, December 15, at the Grog Shop.

When it comes to robots and space travel, the decade just past has seen a paradigm shift in scientists' thinking. It used to be, bigger was better -- Rocket robots! Mega-satellites snapping photos as they orbit into galaxies unknown!

But that was then. Now it's all about the small: itty bitty ubiquitous 'bots that scatter over the surfaces of planets and grab information via digital sensors. It's all part of a bigger cultural shift, wherein the viral and the piecemeal usurp the towering and unilateral, and you heard it here first: The iTunes store will put an end to the age of the album, because once all the indies are online, 99-cent singles are irrestistible.

Which is why, maybe, Dave Pajo is not only one of the most accomplished and intuitively gifted musicians of our time, but also among the most forward-looking. First of all, he can replicate himself: He's been in Slint and Tortoise, and played guest on half the twangy post-rock records you know and like -- particularly every single thing Will Oldham has ever released. The Bonnie Prince is still returning the favor, adding his warble to pretty much every minibot-styled Pajo release under various "M"-related monikers. Though he's released LPs, Pajo seems to shy away from the long-player format, preferring to parcel out his minimalist, roots-inflected tracks bit by bit. Prescient, perhaps; good, usually.