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Critics' Picks: Yo La Tengo, Gang of Four, Huun-Huur-Tu and WYEP 

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Fri., Feb. 4 -- Throat Singing

If you liked Alash and Chirgilchin, you'll love Huun-Huur-Tu! OK, perhaps more explanation is needed: Huun-Huur-Tu is one of the most popular performers of the folk music of its native Tuva, a music distinctive for its throat-singing, in which one vocalist generates several pitches at the same time -- from low growls to high, whistling overtones. It's not just some gimmick; the sounds can be very beautiful and musical. Formed in the early 1990s, Huun-Huur-Tu has since incorporated some Western elements, and collaborated with the likes of The Chieftains, Frank Zappa and Kronos Quartet. Opening for the group at the First Unitarian Church is local ensemble AppalAsia, who also opened for Pittsburgh performances by Tuvan groups Alash and Chirgilchin. Aaron Jentzen 7:30 p.m. 605 Morewood Ave., Shadyside. $20 ($25 at the door). All ages. 412-621-8008 or www.first-unitarian-pgh.org


Sat., Feb. 5 -- Rocks

If you've followed the band since the mid-1980s, indie-rock stalwarts Yo La Tengo bring plenty of memories to mind; for Pittsburghers, the freshest might be of the band's noisy yet idyllic show at Hartwood Acres last summer. Yo La Tengo's most recent release is 2010's Here to Fall EP, which included remixes by De La Soul, RJDT and Pete Rock. Opening for the band at Mr. Small's is guest William Tyler. AJ 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.). Mr. Small's Theatre, 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $18. All ages. 412-821-4447 or www.mrsmalls.com

 

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Sun., Feb. 6 -- Benefit

It began as something for those not so concerned about the Super Bowl, and has turned into an annual tradition that's scheduled so that it can supplement the big game for fans of sports and music. WYEP's Alternative Souper Bowl this year features locals Nik and the Central Plains, The Wreckids and J.D. Eicher and the Goodnights. It's a benefit for HEARTH, a local women's shelter, so you'll feel good about going -- and it's over by 3 p.m., leaving gridiron junkies plenty of time to get home, make a pot of chili and settle in for a Steelers win. Andy Mulkerin Noon-3 p.m. Borders Eastside, 5986 Penn Circle South, East Liberty. Donation of non-perishable food or household items requested. 412-441-1080

 

Wed., Feb. 10 -- Rocks

Post-punk originals Gang of Four formed when punk was at its peak -- and have continued, on and off, ever since. The intellectual leftists, whose aggressive brand of genre-mixing rock is at times angular, always straight dancey, released its latest album, Content, just weeks ago. Gang of Four appears tonight at Club Café, in a show that's guaranteed to pack the place. AM 7 p.m. 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. $35. 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com

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