Rock & Pop

Cult Of Youth

When: Sat., Jan. 24, 9 p.m. 2015

Sean Ragon founded Cult of Youth in 2007 as an outlet for gloomy home-recorded folk. A record store proprietor in New York, Ragon hasn’t adhered to the usual promotional cycles and career arc prescribed for independent musicians nowadays. Instead, he has intermittently released material and slowly accumulated band members. Then, last year’s release, Final Days, led to a sudden qualitative leap. On it, neo-folk dovetails into charred new wave, while vigorous acoustic guitar strumming curiously undercuts Ragon’s raspy vocals. If you’d like, it’s a catalog of post-punk trajectories — a characterization driven home by Ragon’s oft-mentioned record-collecting habit. Or, it’s a fine rock album with an impeccable ensemble feel. Chimes and cello build the seven-plus-minute song “Of Amber” to a chamber-goth fever pitch. On “Empty Faction,” Ragon smartly breaks up a brisk sixteenth-note high-hat beat with the inimitable shimmer of guitar string harmonics. It’s the instrumental flourishes and the group nuance — not so much the influences — that make a strong case for seeing Cult of Youth in concert on Saturday at the Elbo Room (647 Valencia St., San Francisco)

Sam Lefebvre

Price: $10-$12

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