* The Answer Team packed in a pretty full crowd to the Slowdown, 729 North 14th St., Friday night to celebrate the release of their new album O Sad and Future Human. Openers New Lungs and Back When impressed with their sets. New Lungs, fronted by Little Brazil bassist Danny Maxwell, played a taut, indie-hardcore mash-up that held a brief punch-in-the-mouth quality. Back When has again evolved from the last time I saw them play, pulling their prog-metal into new shapes. Their set included a few songs that paired the pummeling tumult with a new sense of melodic heft.  The Answer Team followed with their intricate, yet concise post-rock. As they played, they looped in poetry and spoken-word samples that also appear on their album.

* All Young Girls Are Machine Guns’ Rebecca Lowry is eager to introduce the world to her songwriting friend, Howard. Howard isn’t really Howard. Howard is 18-year-old singer-songwriter Anna McClellan’s new group. The two acts will play together at the Slowdown on Thursday, September 29th. The show will also feature slam poets Jake Norofsky, Patrick Sather, Tessie Stednitz, Gage Wallace & Ben Wenzl.

* Saddle Creek Records is gearing up for a busy fall, thanks to three new releases. Earlier this August, Tim Kasher unveiled Bigamy, an EP of tracks from the sessions for his solo album, The Game of Monogamy. Azure Ray’s Maria Taylor also released Overlook, her fourth solo album. Her previous album, 2009’s LadyLuck, came out on Nettwerk Music Group. Those two releases will be joined by Big Harp’s White Hat on September 13th. It is the debut release of ex-Baby Walrus frontman Chris Senseney and his wife, Stefanie Drootin-Senseney, who had previously played in the Good Life.

* The Reader has profiled the Hold Steady, America’s finest indie bar rockers several times, but the band hasn’t released anything new since their last trek to Omaha. However, there is word of a solo album from front-talker Craig Finn. Supposedly, Finn cut the country-leaning record in Austin, backed by members of Heartless Bastards and White Denim.

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