Flex Mathews, Monday at Black Cat ... Local hip-hop is tough to find in any city other than New York, so I love local MC Flex Mathews. He came to us from South Dakota, which seems an unlikely place to find an MC so talented. His flow deserves recognition, as do his old school beats, keen sampling and intelligent lyrics. His following may not be large outside the industry, but plenty of promoters and artists have recognized his talents and taken him on tour. With Ardamus, Mello-D & the Rados, and the Five One Band.
Exit Clov, Wednesday at Black Cat ... Local indie-pop rockers Exit Clov's spread through the D.C. scene largely because of their DIY determination. The band relentlessly promotes itself and self-released two EPs before 2006's "Respond Respond" was issued on Livewire Recordings. Sisters Emily and Susan harmonize over a mix of synth and violin as well as the standard rock instrumentation of guitar, bass and drums. The songs can be playful just as easily as they can be political. With Black and White Jacksons, and Typefighter.
Superdrag, Friday at Nightclub 9:30 ... After becoming an MTV buzz band in the mid-'90s with their radio-friendly debut "Regretfully Yours," mastermind John Davis' songwriting started to become more challenging -- better for pop-rock music but worse for their major label, Elektra, which eventually pissed Superdrag off by demanding hit songs. That seemed to set the band toward its demise in 2003, but they reconvened in 2007 and finally released a new LP, "Industry Giants," in March. Davis is commonly compared to Big Star's Alex Chilton in voice and composition, but Superdrag's pop always was fused with noise for an edgier sound, if not always edgier content. The latest record shows the band still can produce guitar-heavy tracks and serious pop hooks.
Sebastien Tellier, Friday at Nightclub 9:30 (late show) ... Multi-instrumentalist and singer Sebastien Tellier comes from a similar school as other French electronica artists, though with a healthy dose of chamber pop. His compositions mainly are sad and beautiful pop songs that would sound at home on '80s soundtracks. If you stick around after the Superdrag set, it'll be a distinct change of pace, a completely different mood.