Rain Machine

Bearded and bespectacled, Kyp Malone is always a welcome sight as a guitarist and singer in TV On The Radio. With that band on hiatus, Malone has stepped out on his lonesome with a self-titled debut under the name Rain Machine. As a side project should be, it’s woolly and unrefined, with producer Ian Brennan (Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Lucinda Williams) knowing better than to gloss over the ramshackle, kitchen-sink vibe. There’s reportedly a Beyonce influence on “Give Blood,” while other tracks mingle far-flung sounds over gorgeous guitar parts and lyrics alternately stormy and silly. The six-minute-plus “Smiling Black Faces” tackles genocide, references Nelson Mandela, and reveals gospel in its DNA, spelling an upswing despite such rocky topical terrain. Songs only get longer and more dire in the album’s second half, but there’s an intimacy guiding things, as if Malone knows he’s putting it all on the line without the comfort of his regular band. Free of that dense, surreal atmosphere, he’s exposed to the world. DOUG WALLEN

Thu., Oct. 1, 8 p.m., 2009

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