CLEM SNIDE

Clem Snide front man Eef Barzelay wears his misery like a soft old bathrobe. “Your favorite music / Well, it just makes you sad / But you like it / ‘Cause you feel special that way,” he mumbles on the title track of his group’s second album, Your Favorite Music (Sire)–which sat in the can for over a year, prompting the band to lobby their way out of their contract just months after it was released. In many ways he’s a classic indie-rock sad sack, writing at length about his own insecurities and shortcomings, and his self-consciousness often comes across as disconcertingly prosaic. “Your beautiful African friend / Next to him I look so white,” he complains in “African Friend.” But his reflections are occasionally sharp (or at least clever, as in “And the joke is there’s one beer left / So the punch line’s all we have to drink,” from “1989”) and the quartet–Barzelay on guitar, Jason Glasser on cello, Jeff Marshall on upright bass, and Brad Reitz on drums–tackles the pretty melodies in an elegant style you might call chamber honky-tonk. In one of the songs on the group’s 1997 debut album, You Were a Diamond (Tractor Beam), the narrator mentions listening to Nick Drake, but Barzelay’s earnest singing is more reminiscent of the marble-mouthed twang of Dave Schramm, and Clem Snide are more alluring for their plainness than for any allusion to Drake’s slippery grace. Saturday, November 18, 10:30 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508.

PETER MARGASAK