Portishead is that rare band who, throughout their well-spaced discography, successfully fuse a timeless sound with a pioneering one. Since the Bristol, England three-piece emerged on the scene in 1994 with their now classic trip-hop debut Dummy (one of Rolling Stone’s Top 500 albums of all time), the group’s following two studio releases nailed down a downtempo, synth-heavy landscape that at times evoked a sterile, electronic world, but singer Beth Gibbons’ haunting, emotive vocals tethered the sound to a common, fragile preciousness. The group is reportedly working on new material for a fourth album and in 2009 released a heavy, industrial single called "Chase The Tear," but have been tight lipped about further details, allowing their enduring mystique to drive the hype. For now, we have their back catalog, which from start to finish, is the go-to soundtrack as our tender humanity merges with an inescapable digital future. With Thought Forms. GWENDOLYN ELLIOTT

Sun., Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m., 2011

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