Two chances this week to lose yourself in the music, the moment; you own them, you better never let them go. The big name, of course, is Sigur Rós, the much-heralded Icelandic troupe of teary tone poets who sing in their own language, eschew pesky album titles and favor long-ass bowed-guitar slow jams that make people who've never seen a whale or a volcano think of whales and volcanoes. Lately I've found (), their major-label debut from last year and one heavy-hearted hunk of frozen melancholy, a little much to handle--accompanied by the TV news on mute it's just too end-of-days evocative for me, especially when those new Al Green reissues are lying there waiting to soothe a soul. Perhaps at the Granada, in a room with a bunch of other troubled minds, the experience will prove to be therapeutic.
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The experience to be had at Gypsy Tea Room on Sunday night most certainly will be. New York's Hem might be that city's most unlikely treasure: a loose outfit of urban hipsters whose gorgeous alt-country lullabies pack nearly as much sonic depth as Sigur Rós' icy post-rock. Rabbit Songs, their terrific CD, is a study in intricate studiocraft, a lush swirl of overlapping acoustic guitars, gentle piano, lightly brushed drums and singer Sally Ellyson's spine-tingling singing; what's really great is that the band can reproduce it onstage, maneuvering a miniature ocean of sound that swallows anyone in its path. Highly recommended for whatever anxieties or sorrows you may have to drown.