Music » Critics' Picks

David Vandervelde / Richard Swift

9 p.m. Friday, April 13. The Billiken Club at Saint Louis University (20 North Grand Boulevard).

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In another era, David Vandervelde would have added the Michigan State marching band and a couple of Philharmonics to his solo album, The Moonstation House Band. As it is, he includes (and plays) everything else: electric sitar, bells, space echo, a suitcase of maracas and some circuit-bending burble — all tied together with a voice that resembles T. Rex's Marc Bolan waking-and-baking to Terry Jacks' "Seasons in the Sun." Vandervelde's Secretly Canadian labelmate, Richard Swift, prefers his trips through the Old Weird America, like Stephin Merritt chased down Tin Pan Alley by tap dancers and ragtime trombonists. They're both post-modern pop artists, which means that they're both formalists for whom the pure pleasure of musical invention is the best personal statement. If you've had your fill of confessional singer-strummers, you might take a chance on this indie, hip-kid double bill.

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