Trans Am at Black Cat Backstage Thursday, May 22

Twenty-four years on, Maryland-formed post-rock outfit Trans Am is a vocoder band in a post-Auto-Tune world, but they’re still a lithe and propulsive machine, churning through several generations’ visions of the future. On Volume X, dystopian funk melts into Kraftwerkian synth workouts; there’s a robotic mouth solo that would make Peter Frampton jealous. Emphasis on “dystopian,” though: “Stones and empty space are your friends,” bassist Nathan Means sings in opener “Anthropocene,” almost like he’s narrating a deep-cosmic epic; Philip Manley’s massive guitar riff is straight-up Blue Cheer; Sebastian Thompson drums like he’s got a fog machine at home. As always, the band is too smart and forceful for its deadpan genre-mashing to translate as just jokey—the thrash-metal theatrics of “Backlash” may make you smile, but you’ll be head-banging in your cubicle, too. Trans Am performs with Heavy Breathing at 8 p.m. at Black Cat Backstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $12. (202) 667-4490. blackcatdc.com.

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