The Valentines, Redwalls, Mark Mallman, Smile Smile

The Valentines want to make sure you don't take their parking space.

Too often the whole garage band shtick proves as thin as a pasty lead singer's skin. Oh sure, worshipping Iggy and Nuggets and the Troggs (side note: what's with the two g's?) is all fine and dandy, but the music ultimately has to be, er, about music. Too many bands these days get stuck underneath piles of tube amps, vintage Gibsons, skinny ties and tight jeans, and they forget to write, you know, songs.

Not so with the Valentines. The quartet has some serious songwriting chops, especially on their fabulous single "Songbird," which boasts a catchy up-and-down chorus and equally titillating verse sung with a streetwise grit. Not since the Dandy Warhols has a band combined such skill at borrowing classic influences and making them so fresh. Also, don't miss the subtle, off-kilter songwriting of Smile Smile, who share the bill.

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