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Rock Picks

THURSDAY, JANUARY 4

Playing Thursday:

BODIES OF WATER at Pershing Square; HARBORTOWN SAINTS, LOS MYSTERIOSOS, IRISH BROTHERS at Alex’s Bar; SABERTOOTH TIGER, NEW COLLAPSE at the Echo; UNWRITTEN LAW, AS FAST AS at House of Blues; GUILTY HEARTS, BLACK COMETS, THE MAD LOVERS at Safari Sam’s; DIE ROCKERS DIE at the Scene; THE COLOUR at Spaceland.

Cursive at the Troubadour

I’m pretty sure I believe in Cursive. I’m pretty sure that their punk-rock-by-way-of-Saddle-Creek approach to honest writing and sonic experimentation is for real. I’m pretty sure that maybe Barack Obama should consider making them his house band much like Clinton did Bon Jovi. Cursive hooked up in 1995 after the collapse of Slowdown Virginia, a cog in the Nebraska music scene’s wagon wheel. They broke up after recording a couple of big, potent records with smart and gutting lyrics that demonstrate what scores of bad emo bands are grasping at. Cursive got it going again in 1999 and soon released a concept album about a troubled relationship, 2000’s Domestica. After another breather, the band came together and this year put out Happy Hollow, a virulent purge of noise. Heavy shit. (Kate Carraway)

Lady Sovereign at El Rey Theatre

At 5-feet-1, Lady Sovereign stands out in the rap world thanks to being (porcelain) white, female and... English. Brit rhymers (the Streets, Dizzee Rascal, Ms. Dynamite) have yet to emulate their domestic success stateside, but the Ess-Oh-Vee benefits from the very American endorsement of Jay-Z (who signed her to his label) and Missy Elliott (who remixed her MTV-embraced “Love Me or Hate Me” single). Sov’s musical M.O. isn’t that rad — dancehall and drum-&-bass-infected beats with standard gritty “grime” imagery — but her boast-raps’ distinctively self-deprecating subplots and an impatiently punkish cadence combine into a sassy (and salable) charm. This show is a makeup date for her aborted El Rey set in November, when her tearful battle with a chest infection won many hearts. If someone who could pass for 12 years old rapping about her “breast-s-s” and hairy armpits doesn’t bother you, be there. (Paul Rogers)

Also playing Wednesday:

ESTEBAN at the Canyon; LOU BARLOW, EMPEROR X at the Smell; THE SIXTH CHAMBER at the Viper Room.

Playing Thursday:?5 O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE, RESTAURANT at Pershing Square; CHEATIN’ KIND, SAINTS OF THE GUTTER, TRUCKER UP at Alex’s Bar; GENTLEMEN CALLERS, TSK TSK, NANTUCKET SUICIDE at the Echo; NOFX at House of Blues; ADAM MARSLAND’S CHAOS BAND at Molly Malone’s; NINJA ACADEMY, SYBIL, CLEVIS at Mr. T’s Bowl; THE COLOUR at Spaceland.