Eight Gigs: Pinback

Mon., Feb. 9, 8 p.m., Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub, $18-$20

Like a twisting fog-shrouded drive up U.S. Highway 1, Pinback offers knotty, rhythmic-yet-dreamy guitar rock that's at once placid and tense. The way the instruments wash over the vocals suggests a less herky-jerky Modest Mouse or more downbeat Clientele. The emotional remove provides distance on the arty guitar structures but never feels as mechanistic as math rock. It's sorta the musical embodiment of Pynchon's “keep cool but care” aphorism. Formed in '98, the San Diego act's released five albums and more than a half-dozen EPs—the latest of which, 2012's Information Retrieval, made surprising inroads on the modern-rock charts. 2708 J Street, www.pinback.com.