Music » Critics' Picks


9 p.m. Monday, June 2. The Bluebird, 2706 Olive Street



After a chance meeting in a New York subway station in 2004, Billy McCarthy and Eric Sanderson wasted no time forming Pela. The classically trained pair recruited three other Brooklyn musicians and quickly self-released two promising EPs. But Pela's debut full-length (2007's Anytown Graffiti) saw the band realize its potential. Heavy bass grooves and slightly shoegaze-inspired guitar textures create falling waves of wistful ambience upon which the band's dreamy soundscapes glide. "Lost to the Lonesome" was one of the catchiest songs of last year, its hard-driving bass drum, touches of eerie church organ and crunchy guitar lines matched only by McCarthy's rambunctious, jarring vocals. The band's future was in doubt for a short time recently when the singer fell on broken glass during a Chicago show and suffered a severe gash to his left hand. But after surgery and physical therapy, McCarthy recovered and Pela immediately headed back on the road — demonstrating the kind of perseverance the band needs as it prepares to make its next studio album and searches for a new label.

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