Music » Critics' Picks

Hem

9 p.m. Monday, September 25. Blueberry Hill's Duck Room (6504 Delmar Boulevard, University City)

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With the just-released Funnel Cloud, Brooklyn's Hem continues to refine their vision of American pastoral music. The band operates on a perpetual dichotomy between its country-flecked acoustic sound and the lyrical themes of loss, hard love and crippling nostalgia. This duality is at the heart of the album's lead single, "Not California." Singer Sally Ellyson plays it sweet and low in the verses, and unleashes in the chorus and the logorrheic coda: "I'm the one who wants to be the one you're with tonight." Never before in pop music has this same sentiment taken so many words to express, but it's never sounded so urgent, desperate and true.

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