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IfIHadAHiFi & System and Station

Tonight @ the Cactus Club - 10 p.m.

Sep. 6, 2008
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With their sprightly guitars and doe-eyed songs, System and Station play like a punkier version of The Shins—probably because both bands share a clear reverence for Built to Spill. Where The Shins steep their albums in the gentle ambiance of ’60s pop, though, System and Station drown their albums in the harsh light of the ’90s, basking in the era’s burly guitars and prickly, sing-along hooks, which have earned them deserving Sunny Day Real Estate comparisons. Their reverence for mid-’90s alt-rock makes them the black sheep of Portland’s notoriously in-the-moment indie-rock scene, and System and Station have frequently been dismissed over the last decade as little more than a regurgitation of their influences. The group does have one thing going for it, though: a bighearted and mostly wonderful new album, A Nation of Actors, which could earn the band the second look they’ve long been seeking. The band opens tonight for local quirk-rock band IfIHadAHiFi as part of their free 10 p.m. CD release party at the Cactus Club, which also features sets from local shoegazers White, Wrench, Conservatory and indie-rockers The New Loud.

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