N*E*R*D, Bad Brains Critic's Choice Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard

When: Tue., Sept. 2, 8 p.m. 2008

Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams, aka pop and hip-hop production wizards the Neptunes, have famously omnivorous musical tastes, but that can be both good and bad. In their work for hire they’ve helped create a decade’s worth of ridonkulously catchy and aggressively experimental singles that reference everything from Run-DMC to New Orleans jazz to Nirvana, but in their own band, N*E*R*D, the urge to cover new ground often dead-ends in hookless set pieces and self-­indulgent filler—the stuff you have to slog through in order to find the handful of bangers that invariably pop up on each of their albums. But damn are those bangers good. For those who’d rather not do their own slogging, the cuts to hear on the new Seeing Sounds (Star Trak/Interscope) are the drum-’n’-bass-tinged old-school hip-hop workout “Spaz,” the snapping R & B groove “Yeah You,” and “Everyone Nose,” a high-speed mess of breakbeats, sax honks, chant-along vocals, and DJ cutting that despite its anticocaine lyrics bumps and trips along with a jumpy ADHD feel that practically demands the use of illicit stimulants. —Miles Raymer

Price: sold out, 17+

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