Tonight: The Tallest Man on Earth at Neumos, Magic Kids at Vera, Thee Oh Sees at the Crocodile

Johan Stolpe
The Tallest Man on Earth, with S. Carey. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $15. The Tallest Man on Earth, is the Swedish troubadour Kristian Matsson, and is actually less blessed in stature (he's only 5'7") and much more so in the gift of songwriting. Two albums deep, nobody's disputing all the Dylan comparisons Matsson gets, and that's because he's able to channel Dylan's legacy into his own folksy, narrative style instead of just shamelessly imitating it. Matsson's croaking vocals and deft fingerpicking lend his songs a sense of melancholy and reminiscence; on his latest record, The Wild Hunt, he uses these tools to paint worlds of glaciers and canyons, wildcats and ghosts in trees, cold skies, and lonely cities. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Magic Kids, with Candy Claws, Beat Connection. Vera Project, 305 Harrison St., 956-8372. 7:30 p.m. $9. All ages. Magic Kids' debut album, Memphis, came out just a few weeks ago with not a hint of the country music the title suggests but instead every possible sunshiny salute to Beach Boys' swoon pop. From the hyperactive sugarhigh of "Superball" to the diner dance of "Hey Boy," their shameless childlike energy will close the night on pop rocks and soda after chill, somewhat esoteric sets from local boys Beat Connection and ambient electro-orchestra Candy Claws. MARY PAULINE DIAZ

Thee Oh Sees, with Tyvek, Love Tan. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $10. If there's anything plaguing contemporary art punk bands invoking the fuzzy garage-psych sound of the '60s, it's that they tend to sound the same. Blame it on the distortion and static if you want, but this formula is something that's been attempted so often over the past half-century or so that we've pretty much reached the point of redundancy. And yet, San Francisco man-about-town John Dwyer's project Thee Oh Sees manages to churn out crunchy, catchy, retro rock and roll songs, the best (read: most accessible) of which avoid the bizarre experimental departures that tend to drag down some of Dwyer's earlier stuff. So what if it's been done before, more or less? It's still great music. If you're new to the band, Help and Master's Bedroom are good places to start. SARA BRICKNER

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