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War and Washington motivate two local releases this week by bands who couldn't be more different 

The Metropolitans embarked on recording their debut some time ago; now the loungey local seven-piece is releasing it, as guitarist and bandleader Seth Dubin says, "to close the era, and start a new one." He refers to lead singer Elise Smithmyer's impending relocation to Washington, D.C., with her husband. "We decided that, since Elise is leaving, it was a good time."

The seven-song album was recorded at the Bellevue home of Metropolitans drummer Tim College, a Berklee School of Music grad with recording expertise. Listening through is much like catching the band live -- many songs, like the anti-war protest "The Letter" and the spunky "Nothing to Say," are staples of the band's live act, and recorded with a straightforward, roomy feel.

"Initially, [the goal] was to really capture the ambiance of a live show, because that's where our energy is," says Dubin. But with the band's sprawling lineup, which includes a rhythm section and horns, "It was tough to do that." The results are natural, not overly polished -- much like Smithmyer's vocals. The Metropolitans was her first time behind the mic, but she proved a unique stage presence and natural talent; Dubin says she's actively seeking musical opportunities in D.C.

"We've heard a lot of girls and there have been a few who've stuck out" in auditions, says Dubin, but they're taking their time enlisting a new singer. The band will likely perform a few more times with Smithmyer this summer, but the best bet is the CD-release show, this Fri., June 5, at Club Café. The show starts at 7 p.m. and costs $5 (CDs will be available for $5.) For more info, visit www.themetropolitans.com.

 

Also releasing a new album this week -- at a show you'd be lucky to squeeze into -- are Pittsburgh's punk stalwarts Anti-Flag. Fresh off 2008's expansive, Tony Visconti-produced album The Bright Lights of America, the band has set aside the glockenspiels in favor of corrosive guitar hooks for The People or the Gun, its brand-new release on Side One Dummy records.

The band's topical, political focus remains front and center in "Sodom, Gomorrah, Washington D.C." and other tracks. The lyrics, "I've seen a lot of rip-offs in my life / seen a lot of scams a lot of crooks and crooked schemes," kicks off the gloriously Clashy song "The Economy Is Suffering ... Let It Die."

Anti-Flag's local release show is at the Smiling Moose on Tue., June 9, with guests American Armada and The Catastrophe; the $10 ticket includes a free CD. The all-ages show appears to be sold out, but that's never stopped a truly motivated music fan -- so good luck to all. For more info, visit www.anti-flag.com.

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