Both Kevin Devine and Andy Hull are well-established names in alternative music. Devine, who was born and still lives in Brooklyn, cut his teeth with (the recently re-formed) earnest indie-rock outfit Miracle of 86, before breaking free to establish a solo career now six albums deep, full of socially conscious commentary and emotional insecurities. Hull is the frontman of existential angst-rockers Manchester Orchestra, an Atlanta five-piece whose songs veer between hushed whispers and ominous explosions of darkness as they wrestle with the religious doctrines Hull was raised under.
Devine and Hull have been collaborating as Bad Books since early 2010, and they return to New York now for the second time since the release of II, their appropriately titled second album. Combining elements of their main projects, their music is a mix of gently stirring folk, lilting melodies and at times the ominous post-emo simmer of latter-day Brand New (with whom Hull and Devine have toured and played). Expect an atmosphere of deep introspection and emotional vulnerability as these two distinctly talented individuals jointly bare their souls.
Like the last time they were here, Bad Books will be supported by the Front Bottoms. Don’t let the adolescent moniker put you off: The New Jersey band’s quirky indie-pop/punk is full of pathos and humor. Though short and sweet, their surprisingly perceptive and incisive songs hold a mirror up to the human condition, and should make for the perfect precursor to the main event.—Mischa Pearlman