Music » Critics' Picks

Mae

8 p.m. Thursday, August 24. Mississippi Nights (914 North First Street).

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It's difficult to toss a headful of meticulously mussed hair nowadays without hitting an indie-emo band pining for love, grieving over a broken heart or lamenting the premature death of a close friend — all atop a bed of lush piano pop. But on 2003's Destination: Beautiful and particularly last year's The Everglow, Mae adds honest-to-God dimensions to glistening guitar work and sing-along choruses; their sweeping sonic landscapes not only capture the limitless opportunities offered by a road less traveled but also create near-cinematic tension that builds further when the songs' storylines break from a narrator's perspective to follow the listener. Still not convinced the Virginia natives stand out from the well-groomed knockoffs churning out radio hits simply for the fashion cred, though? Cred this: Mae's classical-leaning keyboardist is both chubby and bald.

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