WHAT THEY DO: Runx3 (cute nickname!) make dreamy psych-tinged rock & roll grinds — which earned them the shoe-gazer label early in their career, despite animated live shows and obvious odes to more abrasive American rock. Says founder Xander Smith: “We try to connect the dots between My Bloody Valentine and Fugazi.”

THE RUNRUNRUNDOWN:  Runx3 is the brainchild of lead singer/guitarist Smith, formerly of Otherstarpeople (along with L7’s Jennifer Finch). You may also know him as the former “musical director” of popular glam-o-rama Club Makeup (where a monthly cast of revered rockers took the mic each week in the late-’90s/early ’00s). Smith formed Runx3 in 2002 after some rousing recording sessions with the late Fred Drake at Rancho de la Luna — the Joshua Tree compound and onetime musical oasis for everyone from Queens of the Stone Age to Emmylou Harris.

MOOD LIGHTING: Onstage, the group presents some of the best atmospherics you’ll see from a non-arena-level local band — including foot-pedal-controlled lighting — but don’t expect a laser show. Runx3 take the less-is-more approach. “It’s about the power of the absence of light,” explains Smith, who does lighting at House of Blues. “It attracts like a moth to a flame. Whether we’re at the Silverlake Lounge or the Avalon, we’re always mindful of connecting the lighting to each song.”

HURTS SO GOOD: Tunes like “Wait Up for You” and “2am” explore feelings of isolation and escapism (the former is about getting stood up). These tunes could be total bummers, but Smith’s winsome vox always suggest a ray of hope.

MAZZ, W/PIZZAZZ: The band’s cover of “Fade Into You” (which has just been remixed by Bauhaus’ David J) might lack the lazy loveliness of Mazzy Star’s original but manages to conjure its own rhythmic magic, with swifter tempos and a more emotive sonic approach.

TAKES A VILLAGE? Typical of many L.A. bands, they’ve had their share of lineup changes, band drama, etc. (with over a dozen members in the past four years), but Smith sees the changes as a positive thing. “Each member that’s been with this band has left something behind that’s good,” he says. “Now we’ve evolved into more a Spiritualized kind of project, with an extended family of musicians that come through.” Current members include Daniel Dod on drums and Nic Speck on bass.

THEIR LUCK RUNNETH OVER: Other notable “family” members (whose contributions will be heard on Run Run Run’s full-length debut, Endless Winter, out this spring) include New Order’s Phil Cunningham, and backing musicians for Madonna and Richard Ashcroft. Smith’s rock-star connections don’t end there. He does session work — like providing the guitar work for Z-Trip’s lauded album Shifting Gears — and has scored Runx3 gigs opening for everyone from Elephant to the Strokes.

SPACEROCK: The band’s video for “Wait Up for You” was just chosen as the first Indie Group Clip of 2006 on Myspace. Check it out at www.myspace.com/runrunrun.

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.