When: Sat., May 1, 9 p.m. 2010
Sun-splashed California rock in the tradition of Spirit and Pavement, Imaad Wasif's 2009 release The Voidist sported creepy Middle Eastern sonorities, Bert Jansch-style guitar licks and arrangements that moved from murmur to dissonant squall. Over the course of three strong records, the Vancouver, B.C., native has worked variations on classic-rock song structures. Cut in Nashville with producer Mark Nevers, his 2006 self-titled debut shimmered with magical acoustic guitars, but the songs were opaque. The irresistible "Spell" — a track from 2008's pop-friendly Strange Hexes — floated like postmodern raga-rock. With its echoes of Los Angeles garage rock and psychedelic guitar overload, Strange Hexes may be Wasif's catchiest collection to date. Still, Wasif — an introspective singer with a slightly affectless voice — may be too subtle for the power-trio format. At his best, he combines Tim Buckley's neurosis with Pavement's formal grace, and that's no small achievement.