Darren Jackson reminds me of just about every white boy with an untucked shirt and a lackadaisical approach to guitar tuning who slacked his way through the 90s, but he also does a damn good job of hiding his influences. On Kid Dakota’s So Pretty (Chairkickers, 2002) the downcast Minneapolitan and his bandmate, Christopher McGuire, don’t quote Archers of Loaf or Pavement or Built to Spill or Sebadoh so much as speak their language–a vocabulary of untrimmed edges, squeaking guitar strings, and deliberately misplaced beats. Drummer McGuire seems to jog in place rather than get behind the music and push. Jackson tends toward understated dysfunction in his lyrics and melodies; he murmurs rationalizations and half-truths like “I promise to quit if you promise to stay” as though still convincing himself, repeats guitar bits too modest to call themselves riffs like he’s still memorizing them, and trails off into desultory lo-fi fuzziness more often than his tunes deserve. But he’s delightfully nasty on songs like “Crossin’ Fingers,” in which his guitar sneaks away from his voice as his lyrics (“There ain’t no secrecy / I read all your diaries / But I know he’s more than a friend”) get too creepy for comfort. Friday, September 19, 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jayson Wold.