ARTS Pick: John Lindaman

ARTS Pick: John Lindaman

John Lindaman hasn’t lived in Charlottesville for years, but he’s fondly remembered by many for his seminal late-’90s band True Love Always,  a regular on the old Tokyo Rose stage (more recent Charlottesville transplants may recognize Lindaman for his central role in The Parking Lot Movie).

Over the course of three albums (and one singles collection) for the legendary indie pop label TeenBeat, True Love Always was remarkably consistent, playing thoughtful, energetic, minimalist love songs. The sensitive subject matter, delivered in Lindaman’s high, delicate voice, might have led some to label them as an “emo” band, but his writing was too wry and clever, and the delivery too clear and confident, to make the tag properly stick.

Songs that might have been delicate and introspective in other hands became assured and charming thanks to the trio’s taught uptempo delivery, matching the snappy precision of the Minutemen with the breezy charm of The Sea and Cake and the pop sensibility of NRBQ. Since his departure, Lindaman has played with various New York-based acts.  He returns to Charlottesville on Friday, reportedly for a solo set of experimental instrumental guitar pieces.

Cathy Monnes might be the best-kept secret in Charlottesville music, often appearing as a collaborator or backing musician – playing everything from ukulele and cello to a gamelan made from used car parts – but rarely stepping into the spotlight on her own. Her willingness to experiment can take performances in unexpected, rewarding directions, and she’s got the chops and enough experience playing straight to pull off even the wildest or most unconventional arrangements. She last collaborated with esteemed New York jazz musician Bill Cole as a duo when he appeared in town two years ago.  On Friday they’ll reunite, leading a quartet entitled We’re Here for 40, to support Lindaman while in town.

Rounding out the line-up is Grand Banks, the leading light for local improvisation. Guitarist Davis Salisbury and pianist/spoken-word performer Tyler Magill have been collaborating in various avant garde combinations for decades, and each Grand Banks performance finds them exploring new territory live onstage. They’re always different, and always worthwhile.

Friday 3/28, $7, 8:30pm. Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar, 414 E Main St. 293-9947