Country/Americana, Rock/Pop, Rock/Pop

Clem Snide, Oracle and The Mountain

When: Sun., Sept. 6, 9 p.m. 2009

Clem Snide marries elegantly arranged but never-too-neat acoustic-based rock to one of the most compelling and distinctive songwriting personalities around. Band bard Eef Barzelay walks a tightrope between empathy and sarcasm, sans net, throughout Clem Snide’s considerable catalog and his own strong solo albums. The band’s albums have ranged from the musically and lyrically dazzling The Ghost of Fashion to the straightforward, disarmingly intimate The Soft Spot. The band’s latest, this year’s Hungry Bird, is ambitious if at times impenetrable. Gone are the self-aware video vixens, Joan Jetts of Arc, and autobiographical new dads that have populated some of Barzelay’s better past songs. A direct closing plea aside, the folk-rock songs on Hungry Bird reach high, occasionally beyond their grasp, with impressionistic, sometimes stream-of-consciousness intimations of wonder and doom. Unlike many low-key, lyric-focused bands, Clem Snide delivers live, having played many good shows in Memphis over the past decade. Clem Snide plays the Hi-Tone Café Sunday, September 6th, with locals Oracle & the Mountain. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $10. — Chris Herrington

Chris Herrington

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