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Tonight’s Concert Picks: XPN Welcomes Freelance Whales to The Abbey Bar, Dave Hause opening for Flogging Molly at The Electric Factory, XPN Welcomes The Stray Birds to World Cafe Live, Sour Mash at City Tap House

Brooklyn indie kids Freelance Whales head out to Harrisburg for a show at The Abbey Bar tonight.  The quintet followed up their 2009 debut with Diluvia last year.  The sophomore effort sees Freelance Whales expanding their sound and their narrative with more intricate arrangements and a complex sci-fi concept running through the tracks.  What hasn’t changed with the new release is the band’s accessible and appealing indie pop sound that got the buzz started in 2009.  Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with Hundred Waters can be found here.  Below, watch the video for “Spitting Image.”

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Watch an alternate-take video of “Caverns” from Hundred Waters (playing The Abbey Bar on 1/31 and World Cafe Live at The Queen on 2/1)

Gainesville, Florida’s Hundred Waters released a breathtaking self-titled LP last year on dub step / electronic label OWSLA.  In May 2012, Hundred Waters re-recorded two tracks from their full-length to be released as a limited edition 7″ through Small Plates Records (Gracie, High Highs) this coming spring.  While the album cut of “Caverns” is unleashed with gauzy, twinkling bells crescendoing into multi-layered electronic patterns, the re-imagined version is a solo piano take with vocalist Nicole Miglis.  Watch the Yours Truly session video for “Caverns” below; Hundred Waters will open for Freelance Whales on January 31st at The Abbey Bar in Harrisburg, PA and on February 1st at World Cafe Live at The Queen in Wilmington, DE.  Tickets and information for both shows can be found here.  Pre-order “Caverns” b/w “Visitors” here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: John Wesley Harding’s Cabinet of Wonders at 215 Festival, Freelance Whales at Union Transfer, Spirit Family Reunion at The Abbey and more

The fantastic spectacle that is John Wesley Harding’s Cabinet of Wonders hits Underground Arts tonight in conjunction with the 215 Festival.  Bringing in special guests Dean and Britta, Elizabeth & The Catapult, Doogie Horner, Paul Muldoon, Alec Ounsworth, Carla Rhodes and The Spinto Band, the Cabinet is sure to entertain with its quirky, vaudevillian mix of comedy, music and storytelling.  Tickets are $15 here for the 21+ show; doors will open at 9:00 p.m.  Watch a promo video for the Cabinet of Wonders below.

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Tonight’s Concert Pick: Freelance Whales at Johnny Brenda’s

Freelance WhalesWhat can you tell about an indie-darling-of-the-moment based solely on the company that signs it for use in a television commercial? Apple has made a science out of cherry-picking carefully groomed indie acts that are every bit as aesthetically pleasing as the company’s latest generation of iPods; Hyundai, meanwhile, chose Pomplamoose—quite possibly the most offensively forgettable and personality-devoid band of 2010—to hawk its forgettable and personality-devoid WhatsItCalled line of sedans. Then there’s Freelance Whales, whose “Generator ^ First Floor” (off the band’s debut album, Weathervanes) was featured in a Twitter commercial earlier this year.

At first, that would seem to suggest that the Queens-based quintet is best taken in extremely small doses, or that its time in the spotlight will last about as long as that tweet you posted earlier this morning regarding the long line at the coffee shop. (Which, in these times of adorably-quaint-but-depressingly-disposable indie rock, wouldn’t be much of a surprise.) Honestly, it’s hard to argue in favor of the staying power of a band whose work is featured in a commercial for a social networking service that is the very face of substancelessness in the digital age. (A commercial that stars a faceless protagonist, no less.) But we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. And when whatever new thing that will eventually replace Twitter finally comes along, they might want to think about using Freelance Whales’ “Generator ^ Second Floor” in their commercial. Freelance Whales performs with Miniature Tigers at 9 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are SOLD OUT.