When: Fri., Aug. 22 2014
post-punk, indie, rock, 9 p.m.
Tyler Verhagen’s the poet laureate of dirtbags and the dispossessed, the victims and their victimizers living on life’s fringes. That’s the territory he became familiar with five years ago when he hitchhiked America at age 21. After two years of tumbleweeding across seedy dive bars and blank-eyed stares, Verhagen returned to his home state of Ohio and put his observations to music, graduating from street-corner busking to a full band, Emily and the Complexes. In 2012, Verhagen debuted his album-long paean to not-so-good living, Styrofoam Plate Blues. On “Two States Away” he sings, “I wish I could feel productive/ I wish I could do something other than watching TV and sleeping.” He offers a low-rent “Trailer Home” come-on and ponders life in “If I Had Money,” explaining he’d “put it in my gas tank and drive for hours to your stupid redneck town.” It’s musical verité. The album reaches its apogee on the bluesy, bad boyfriend ode, “I Don’t Wanna Brush My Teeth.” On it, he sings, “I won’t stop you from loving me/ But I’m gonna make it hard.” The music’s a versatile mix of acoustic strummers, taut minor key elegies, and slashing indie rock that evokes Cheap Girls, Manchester Orchestra, and a little Lucero. Emily and the Complexes are touring in support of the EP Dirty Southern Love, released Aug. 18. —Chris Parker FRIDAY