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Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008

Brief Candles

Tonight @ the Cactus Club - 9 p.m.

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Has there ever been a subgenre of alternative rock more proudly stagnant than shoegaze? The genre hit its apex in 1991 with My Bloody Valentine’s masterwork, Loveless, and although bands like Slowdive and Swervedriver applied the tenants of shoegazey dream-pop to sludgy alt-rock in the mid-’90s, the genre soon ceased to evolve. Modern shoegaze artists have done little to reinvent the wheel—it seems they’re too transfixed watching it spin to even consider it—but they’ve nonetheless struck gold mining My Bloody Valentine’s durable template of sighing rhythms and roaring guitars. Like Asobi Seksu, Serena Maneesh and other young masters of the craft, Milwaukee’s Brief Candles, who play the Cactus Club tonight at 9 p.m., are proud torch carriers of the shoegaze tradition that do justice to their forefathers, deftly evoking beauty and turbulence in the same stroke on their melody-drenched 2006 album, They Live We Sleep.