Tonight: Josh Ritter, Stars, Abstract Rude, Hot Hot Heat, Ashes Divide, Lucy Woodward
When the New York Times recently referred to Josh Ritter as a staple of "what might be called the soft-rock establishment: NPR, Starbucks and noncommercial radio stations," it wasn't pejorative.
Ritter has long been a hero to fans seeking literate songwriting and engaging storytelling, and his sixth album, So Runs the World Away (released in May), furthers his canon.
No collection of sappy ballads this: The 33-year-old singer-songwriter lays out tales of murder, scenarios of apocalyptic love, historical vignettes and even a reverie about a romance between an archaeologist and her mummy, inhabiting all his characters with workmanlike precision.
Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band headline the Music Box tonight, with old-timey string act Carolina Chocoloate Drops opening. (At the end of this post, check out the video by Royal City Band drummer Liam Hurley, also a puppeteer, for Ritter's song "The Curse.")
Elsewhere: Canadian indie-poppers Stars do their second night at the Troubadour ... Abstract rapper Abstract Rude heads up the lineup at Low End Theory at the Airliner ... And born-again indie-rockers Hot Hot Heat continue their residency at the Bootleg Theater, with Eulogies and Links supporting.
Also: Abandoned Pools with Ashes Divide at the Viper Room; Lucy Woodward at the Hotel Cafe; Olin and the Moon at the Silverlake Lounge; Matmos at the Echo; Hawnay Troof at Echo Curio; Ovideo at La Fonda; Boyce Avenue at the Roxy; and Robert Randolph's free in-store at Amoeba (6 p.m.)
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.