The Broken Letters

9 p.m. Thursday, July 26, at the Speakeasy Lounge, 117 J Street; $8. (916) 443-0107.

Listening to this record is like spelunking without a flashlight, except the record gets more rewarding the more you try. The Broken Letters suddenly have appeared from nowhere with their debut, a spooky, haunted, vinyl EP. A two-piece from Birmingham, Ala., they play dark, complex Southern rock with post-rock sensibilities. The melodies and guitar riffs recall a certain gothic blackness, but the complicated instrumental sections put the band in a league with the best of Appleseed Cast or Explosions in the Sky. David Hickox’s echoing guitars and Brad Davis’ booming percussion fill so much sonic space that there’s no need for a bass player. Making out Hickox’s lyrics underneath all the melodic noise is tricky, but whatever he’s singing about, it’s with compelling conviction and pain.