THURSDAY, MAY 8
(Click to enlarge)
Tapes n Tapes, blissfully unaware of the oncoming train
(Click to enlarge)
Every day is the Renaissance Faire with the Parson Red Heads.
(Click to enlarge)
Northern State defy their photographers plea to look into the camera.
Chana at Temple Bar
Who says music has to be full of doom and gloom all the time? The local singer Chana’s new debut EP, Manos Arriba, is an ebullient assortment of dance tracks that are enlivened by a variety of inescapably catchy beats and clever production touches from co-songwriter and Volumen Cero producer Marthin Chan. “La Duda” and “A Veces” sound a little like Julieta Venegas’ airy pop as Chana coos engagingly sunny melodies, but the songs are pumped up with a harder, funkier and more readily danceable ska backing. She calls her music “trop-electro-hip-pop,” and you can hear traces of the New York/Miami native’s dance and art-school background in the way she refuses to dumb down her electrically eclectic dance music. (Chana recently used her terpsichorean skills to choreograph a video for folk-pop singer Mia Doi Todd.) She’s similarly charming when she trades lyrics with guest rapper Malverde amid the bouncing dub echoes of the intoxicating song “The Whistler.” (Falling James)
Rolling Blackouts at Charlie O’s Lounge
Rolling Blackouts have finally got the Led out of their system and seem to have settled on a sound that’s closer to that of their Hawthorne brothers the Beach Boys. And while their new music isn’t exactly “Good Vibrations” or “California Girls,” there are definitely traces of a warm, summertime sound — veering off into ’70s Camaro-rock territory. After nearly six years together, the Rolling Blackouts still thrill with their soaring harmonies and solid musicianship, peppered with just the right amount of hand claps and tambourines, making each show an air-guitar/sing-along party. Even though stardom of epic proportions still (shockingly) eludes them, they’re always plugging away and keeping it fuzzy and wild. An EP is in the works, but until then check out one of their upcoming shows at Charlie O’s, where you can catch a hook and cozy up to an endless supply of riffs. Also May 22 and June 5. 501 S. Spring St., dwntwn. (Kat Jetson)
The Deadbirds at the Bordello
Since he moved into the now-gentrified Villa Elaine a decade ago, Brandon McCulloch’s world on Vine Street has become something of a legend. The entrepreneurial busker first founded Substance Records and released a haunting compilation called California from the arty derelicts who hung about/squatted there (Remy Zero, Spacetwins, Aaron Embry, et al.), before releasing his ex-band Silver’s elegiac Red City in 2002 — an album that solidified him further as an artist’s artist rather than a household name. Even still, McCulloch helped make the Hotel Café a recognizable venue with his early residencies there, and whenever he straps on the acoustic at the Three Clubs, he’s received like Lou Reed. After taking some time off to help produce tracks for the likes of Nancy Sinatra and Rachael Yamagata, McCulloch returns with a gentler power yearn in his new band, he Deadbirds, who replace Silver’s coked-up keys-and-guitar arrangements with violins and sedatives. (Chuck Mindenhall) Also playing Thursday:
RUSH at Nokia Theatre; YEAR LONG DISASTER at Alex’s Bar; HAWNAY TROOF at the Smell.
FRIDAY, MAY 9
Elbow at Avalon
Elbow are perfectly demonstrative of what a Britpop band should be. Remember when Oasis devolved into a parody of itself, and Blur stumbled into unexciting American collaborations? That wasn’t the intended eventuality for ’90s British rock exports. Radiohead are great, but they don’t have anything to do with the kind of soggy anorak wailers that rock audiences the world over require. A rock band from the U.K. should be everything that Elbow is: great on guitar, thematically dour, Martin Amis–level clever, and indulgent of a little grandiosity, psychedelia and weirdness when it’s called for. They’ve endured lots of years in the business for not a lot of (commercial) acknowledgment without falling face-first into helicopter vanity. Maintaining their unpretentious, early-Beatles thing over four studio albums and various extra pursuits like a Destiny’s Child cover and a landmark tour in Cuba, Elbow fulfill whatever the British version of manifest destiny is. (Kate Carraway)
The Parson Red Heads at Spaceland