Rock & Pop

Murder City Devils

When: Thu., Aug. 21, 8 p.m. and Fri., Aug. 22, 8 p.m. 2014

The Murder City Devils work from a rock ‘n’ roll template that isn’t bound to any particular era. For years, the band has been making lumbering and dour ballads that grapple with violence, anguish, and the dregs of society. In that way, the newest album from the Seattle outfit, The White Ghost Has Blood on Its Hands Again — which plays Great American Music Hall (859 O’Farrell St., San Francisco) this week — is not only similar to its classic late-1990s output, but it taps into a grander tradition of vice and gloom in American singsong. It’s also really heavy, from the spiteful and unhinged opener “I Don’t Wanna Work for Scum Anymore” through the unnerving emotional weight of “Hey Playboy.” This is a comeback album — that most frightening endeavor — and The Murder City Devils’ snare drum still cracks loud, and its riffs still cut deep. The total result is still a deranged thrill.

Sam Lefebvre

Price: $25

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