With its third album, Transaction de Novo (Trance Syndicate), this somber Dallas quintet hasn't exactly become extroverted, but by the time Bedhead cranks it up, near the end, on "Psychosomatica," it's clear that the band has a more masterful grip than ever on dynamics. Bedhead's previous releases feature frail but pretty melodies fluttering out of low-key Velvet Underground-inspired guitar strumming, catatonic rhythms, and hushed vocals, all in the service of decidedly minimal tunes. This time around there's much greater attention paid to the subtle, ringing harmonies of the three electric guitars (the quiet, levitational "Exhume"), more sophisticated melodic filigree (the majestic guitar lines in "More Than Ever"), and more traditional pop songcraft (the chirpy "Extramundane"). Thursday's show is opened by the caustically beautiful Red Red Meat spin-off Califone and the New York trio Lynnfield Pioneers, whose ragged new Emerge (Matador) suggests the art punk of anarchic no-wave lifers the Chain Gang, but not the conceptual brio. Wednesday and Thursday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. PETER MARGASAK
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.