Music » Critics' Picks

The Magnetic Fields

8 p.m. Wednesday, November 14. The Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Boulevard.

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On the grammatically correct "With Whom to Dance?" Stephin Merritt claims, "Moons in Junes, I've given up on that stuff." Don't believe him for a minute. As leader of the Magnetic Fields, Merritt has made a career out of taking the seemingly simple form of the pop standard and turning it inside out. He may eschew hackneyed rhymes, as he claims above, but Merritt never kicks his affair with the form. 69 Love Songs remains his calling card, but his album-length forays into sonic and songwriting restrictions (folk music, noisy pop, the letter "I") have softened on this most recent release. Writing beautiful, witty, erudite songs is enough work in itself.

Last Time: The band played at the Pageant in 2010, but this week's show at the Sheldon presents as good a setting as this city offers for a band that marries conservatory smarts into its pop songs.

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