Scout Niblett, the English singer-songwriter who once lived in Oakland, follows the M.O. that it's more titillating to leave certain things to the imagination. Her new record, The Calcination of Scout Niblett, opens with a chunk of distorted guitar that sounds like Kurt Cobain riffing between Bleach takes, so it's no surprise that she lists grunge heavyweights as her initial inspirations. But as much as Niblett and engineer Steve Albini squeeze out bluesy, sultry angst from these stripped-down creations, Calcination's reservations make the experience more frustrating than rewarding. Restraint has its place, but rock songs usually sound better when they get butt-naked and fuck.
Attempting to unite the worlds of jam, prog, psych-rock, indie rock, old-school metal, and the Nation of Ulysses' fan club in a single bound, San Francisco's Citay makes soundscapes massive enough to accommodate all of those genres. As usual, the BOSS MT-2 Metal Zone pedal is in full effect on Dream Get Together, the band's third album, though the role played by rock-friendly acoustics can't be overstated. Leading this guitar explosion is Ezra Feinberg, surrounded by the Fucking Champs' Tim Green, Tune-Yards' Merrill Garbus, and various others who know that going big isn't just about turning it up to 11.
Scout Niblett and Citay headline a Noise Pop showcase tonight at Cafe du Nord (8 p.m., $12)