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Check It Out

Check It Out!: July 5, 2013

Portugal.The Man —

Evil Friends (Atlantic Records) —

For Portugal.The Man’s second major label album, the Portland outfit linked up with Black Keys/Beck producer Dangermouse (a.k.a. Brian Burton) to help with the heavy lifting in the recording studio. Given the band’s psychedelic pop leanings and the latter’s ability to coax eccentric yet accessible sonic nuances out of any project he works on, the match is not only solid on paper but in practice as well.

Dangermouse’s penchant for spacey pop works particularly well with John Gourley’s slight obsession tweaking modern religion whenever he gets a chance.

“Modern Jesus” finds the producer incorporating Broken Bells-ish synthesizer beeps amid the subsequent buildup of ethereal choruses and mellotron while “Someday Believers” features tighter and more traditional arrangements gilded by the slightest hint of strings.

Elsewhere, PTM does sprinkle harder-edged touches throughout the record. The title track has an aggressive punk attack mitigated by dollops of fuzz guitar and jangly riffs while “Atomic Man” is no less in-your-face thanks a Knack-ish intro and just a hint of swagger.

Other highlights include and “Smile,” a brilliant outro that stitches together a deliriously majestic blend of odd time changes, crashing cymbals and wailing guitar. Between Burton and Gourley’s crew, the listening public’s ears have been primed to shake things up a bit on the current pop music landscape.

July 6


The Rascals @ Nikon @ Jones Beach Theater, 1000 Ocean Pkwy,

7:30 p.m. $154.50, $69.50, $39.50. 800-745-3000

It’s no surprise that acrimony was more than abundant in the post-breakup world of The Rascals going so far as to both separate factions laying claim to the band name through much of the ’90s. But with avowed Rascals fan Little Steven Van Zandt on the scene, the Springsteen sideman got all the original members together for the biographical concert/theatrical event The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream. Following a successful Broadway run, the quartet had deigned to take it on the road and in the process, will be returning to its old Long Island stomping ground with this date at Jones Beach.