Much is made of rap's golden age in the late '80s and early '90s, but college rock was also enjoying its own budding glory during that period. From Mission of Burma and Hüsker Dü to Sebadoh and Built to Spill, the music was characterized by jagged guitar riffs and terse bristling rhythms infused with melody. Recapturing that spirit now is Oxford Collapse, easily one of the best rock acts to emerge over the past few years.
Growing up on Long Island, singer/guitarist Michael Pace discovered Nirvana when he was 13 and worked his way back, falling in love with bands on SST Records, before discovering fuzzy hook merchants like Superchunk and Archers of Loaf. Moving into the city for college, Pace found a pair of like-minded co-conspirators, drummer Dan Fetherston and bassist Adam Rizer. They've been polishing their hooky-jerky shimmer for the past seven years.
On the terrific song "Please Visit Your National Parks," off Oxford Collapse's 2006's Sub Pop debut, Remember the Night Parties, bittersweet distorted riffs crash over churning, anxious rhythms while Pace's tenor wails, "you should be standing right next to me, instead of two feet in front of me, go learn your geography." The group's fourth album, BITS, builds on the chunky, tuneful rumble with more harmonies and varied approaches, including the fragile, strings-driven "A Wedding" and the lithe psych-pop "Featherbeds." Initially destined for a double album, BITS was culled from more than 30 tracks, with leftovers appearing on 7-inches like The Hann-Byrd EP, whose jangly, effusive "Amongst Friends" is every bit the equal of its album counterparts.
Oxford Collapse with The Sexes and Onodrim. 10 p.m. Fri., Nov. 14. Brillobox, 4104 Penn Ave, Bloomfield. $8. 412-621-4900