The Whigs

Brandishing robust anthems at every turn, the superb Athens trio the Whigs scored a record deal in 2006 on the strength of their self-recorded debut,

Give 'Em All a Big Fat Lip

. They followed it with

Mission Control

, again soaked in timeless, artifice-free rock worthy of the Replacements. A third album,

In the Dark

, is due in March, and the band is offering a free download of the title track and "Hundred/Million." The new tunes are more radio-friendly, but there's a wiry tautness at the center. The Whigs are previewing

In the Dark

on tour, flanked by welcome openers in Nashville's Spoon-ish the Features and Boston's boy-girl folkies Mean Creek.

- Doug Wallen

Tim Berne's Big Satan and Collide Saxophone Quartet

Saxophonist-composer Tim Berne has become devastatingly original since he made his presence known with 1979's

The Five Year Plan

. Taking cues from saxophonist Julius Hemphill, Berne, 55, marched the spirit of R&B through the paces of the avant-garde without losing its heft, melodic sway, or adventurousness. With a slate of mesmerizing solo albums since then, and with self-made band projects (Blood Count, Collide Saxophone Quartet, Caos Totale, Big Satan) and labels (Empire, Screwgun), Berne has proved that his contributions to modern music are rivaled only by John Zorn, another New York-based saxophone colossus. Ars Nova Workshop's celebration of Berne, then, is long overdue. Although it started in November with locals paying tribute, Berne crashes his own party by joining in on the swing of Collide Saxophone Quartet and the bop of Big Satan.

- A.D. Amorosi

Lissy Trullie

Actors want to sing and singers want to act. And what about models? They want to sing (and write), too. Or at least Lissy Trullie does. The tomboyish guitarist, DJ, and former Parsons School of Design student is a downtown Manhattan denizen who, appropriately enough, is signed to Downtown Records, the home of such Philadelphia-connected future popsters as Santigold and Amanda Blank. Trullie's debut EP,

Self-Taught Learner

, which came out this year and was reissued with extra tracks in October, is a smartly-put-together snapshot, with sharp, pointed originals that nod to the early '00s New York rock of the Strokes, spiced with a propulsive cover of Brit dance band Hot Chip's "Ready for the Floor." (The cover duet of Biz Markie's "Just a Friend," sung with Adam Green, however, is mere filler.) Trullie's first full-length album, produced by Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, is due early next year, and she's at Kung Fu Necktie on Thursday.

- Dan DeLuca