Music » Critics' Picks

Strays Don't Sleep

9 p.m. Thursday, June 15. Blueberry Hill's Duck Room (6504 Delmar Boulevard, University City)

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Strays Don't Sleep is a collaboration between two of Nashville's most honest and secretive rock songwriters. Neilson Hubbard has long been involved with outsider-AAA pop (he's worked with Glen Phillips and Garrison Starr) but now sounds darker and raspier, while Matthew Ryan gets dreamier — and if not more chipper, at least less threatening and more forgiving, though with Ryan forgiveness is relative. "We're born like a bullet from a gun," he sings, as if he's glimpsed an exit from scorched history. "Our shadows look small against that setting sun." The bandmates drop glitch and single piano notes into their watery, Blue Nile-inspired acoustics, building soundtracks for the films inside their heads (and on the DVD portion of their self-titled debut) and projecting with suggestive, shadowy lyricism.

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