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Shovels & Rope parades into Tipitina’s Feb. 11

The husband and wife duo returns to New Orleans



Choose any "opposites attract" analogy and it suits Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent like vinegar suits oil. (Hearst, whose sharp, tart leads are the best thing about the band, is most definitely the balsamic.) The wife-and-husband duo doesn't so much harmonize as operate like a pair of spinning magnets on Shovels & Rope's barnstorming 2016 LP Little Seeds (New West), alternately pulling and repelling one another. Trent is a fine singer, but he mostly serves as an understated foil to the puckering Hearst. His most valuable contributions come from the control room, where he works wonders committing an exhilarating live show to record. From the scraping guitar that opens "I Know" to the handclaps and trellised vocals on closing diptych "Eric's Birthday" and "This Ride," everything is mixed uncannily forward and sounds eerily present. The swaggering rock follows the sinister lead of "Evil," off 2014's Swimmin' Time (Dualtone), and there's extra sneer in their lyrics to match ("I know exactly where you got that sound / See you in a year on your way back down"). But the tour-diary storytelling that defines the band is there in spades: "St. Anne's Parade" details a trip from New York to New Orleans, where they end up "stoned on the porch, smoking all Niki's cigarettes." Here they come again, Niki — time to make a run. (Bonus tracks: December's Busted Jukebox Volume 2 features covers from The Clash to Sigur Ros with friends such as Brandi Carlile and Rhett Miller.) Tickets $27. 11 p.m. Sunday. Tipitina's, 501 Napoleon Ave., (504) 895-8477;

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