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Music like foursquare

Panther, Badger King, Bobby Birdman, Anna Oxygen
The Meow Meow
527 S.E. Pine
Feb. 2, 9 p.m.
All Ages, $5

Personally, I am unimpressed when a musician shows too great a stylistic range. I become interested in a group or an artist when they are able to fill a gap that has been left by other musicians, and I do not expect any one artist to fill all of my gaps. This would not even be desirable, considering that the artists who attempt a great stylistic range tend not to possess an individual voice, which is what my tastes require.

For example, I have no interest in “country music,” but my “warbling southern guy strumming his gee-tar on porch and singing sometimes incoherent, but occasionally beautiful, things” need is met by Will Oldham. Similarly, I have no interest in “punk music,” but The Ex fulfills my need for “stiff, humorless Dutch anarchist music.”

The great thing about this upcoming show at the Meow Meow is every performer has a very specific angle they are working, and each one is sure to complement the others very well, filling in some gaps while leaving others unfilled, just as they should be. Badger King’s soaring melodies will fill a gap left open by Panther’s rhythmic leg-humping, just as Anna Oxygen’s scientific inquiries will complement Badger King’s modern-day fairy-tale imagery.

What these acts all have in common is that they are one or two people who incorporate modern technology, some high-tech, some low, in order to realize a vision that would otherwise be impossible. Beyond that, each performer brings a unique flavor to the line-up, showing that a live concert does not necessarily need to be one headliner and two cheap imitations of the headliner’s sound, as is too often found in rock music.

In a nutshell, Anna Oxygen fulfills that nagging desire for “music about sexually frustrated scientists spying on girls in alternate universes that I can do my step-aerobics to,” while Badger King is more on the “Prog-IDM about showering dragons and too-heavy crows with references to Anne Sexton” tip. Although I haven’t yet heard Bobby Birdman, I can tell you for sure that Panther will provide you with all the “skinny flailing hipster singing falsetto along to minimally programmed R&B beats” that you are likely to need.

Go ahead and look through the paper. I can assure you that you will find nothing else that can fulfill your quotas in these areas. Sure, you could go to any bar and find any horrible house band playing their “eclectic mix of rock, soul, reggae and funk,” but you don’t really need any of those things. You need “rock that sounds like it is coming from a Trans-Am with the windows rolled down,” or “soul that sounds like it is coming from the alley outside the club where the singer desperately hopes to one day perform.”

That is real music, and none of these genre hoppers will be able to achieve the spiritual satisfaction that comes from hearing a really unique and personal artistic voice.