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The Horns of Happiness at AllWays Lounge 

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With the defunct Bloomington, Ind., bands Impossible Shapes and John Wilkes Booze, multi-instrumentalist Aaron Deer made unfettered psychedelic pop and silly-in-name-only soul rock, respectively. That his side project, The Horns of Happiness, outlived both parent groups reflects the timeless aspects of Deer's song craft, a Humpty Dumptied Faberge egg offered up in shards but alive with sounds that evoke the natural world. It's also somewhat misleading: The Horns today bear little resemblance to the group that produced the quietly startling A Sea as a Shore in 2004. That album is a wide-eyed wander through the musical wilderness, its fractured track list scattered among 15 alluring pieces: acoustic guitars rendered as sunshine filtering through a forest canopy, organs diffracted into spinning color-wheel spectrums and perfect melodies that veer off path midthought. The 2007 EP What Spills Like Thread is the opposite: two tracks closer to 10 minutes apiece, droning rockers hoisted up a flagpole by repeated bass and electric guitar mantras. Now a trio based in Oakland, Calif., the Horns reintroduced themselves in March 2010 with an eponymous digital single, free on the Secretly Canadian website. It's not underground-shaking stuff like their debut, but Deer and Shelley Harrison's slaloming chants give the rotating material downhill movement. Wee Giant opens. Tickets $5. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

March 24

The Horns of Happiness

9 p.m. Thursday

AllWays Lounge, 2240 St. Claude Ave., 218-5778; www.theallwayslounge.com

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