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As the dead-of-winter dearth of tours hits its home stretch, we're discovering some things to get excited about -- spring already promises a few sweet tours that, perhaps surprisingly, are hitting Pittsburgh:

- Mr. Small's hosts garagey weirdos The Black Lips, touring with drumbuddy . . . err . . . buddies Quintron and Miss Pussycat, March 7th; Br'er Fox (formerly The Resistors) opens.

- The Slits, legendary '70s British punk band, pull through the Warhol on March 21 with Shellshag. We all know how that place books show that should be at bigger venues, and therefore sell out quickly, so get your tickets while they last.

- The very next night, March 22, another bunch of UK punks/post-punks -- New Model Army -- appear at the 31st Street Pub. They had to cancel their late 2007 tour due to visa problems.

- April 12 brings The New Pornographers (word is that Neko Case will be present on this tour; Bejar likely will not) with Okkervill River in the indie rock double bill of the (early part of the) year. That's at the Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead, and will set you back $30 (or $27 if you want balcony seats).

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