WL, TOM BLOOD & JORDAN DYKSTRA, BIRD COSTUMES

(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) Let's have deep thoughts and drink absinthe. The members of Blouse and Houndstooth that make up WL (or Well) are ready to show off their shoegaze. I can't get enough of either of those bands or the fact that Valentine's is heated like a little, experimental volcano all winter long. SUZETTE SMITH


THEMES, THE WE SHARED MILK, SIOUX FALLS

(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Themes is a band that requires your attention. Though this hallowed musical synthesis between Kelsey Crawford (keys, vox) and Jacy McIntosh (guitar, vox) began in the Bay Area in 2005 and has since entertained multiple sojourns to Minneapolis, it seems the duo (joined by drummer Nick Dayka) has found a tidy home in our fair city, and graces us with their presence in between lengthy tours with nationally renowned acts. The self-described "fractured post rock" group's most recent album, The Phantom, was produced by Carcrashlander's Cory Gray and is nearly as daunting as their tendency for textual yelling; it's unspeakably dark, but in its eight-song duration, it manages to clear the brush from those slovenly places in your head to make way for more lucid thoughts before it swallows you whole. RAQUEL NASSER