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Monday, July 21
Since she first burst onto the scene and into the hearts and minds of her little monsters, Lady Gaga has become a genre unto herself. Beyond her hit-laden catalog, featuring many of the biggest songs of the past half-decade, Gaga is known for her over-the-top onstage antics, making her one of the biggest live draws in music. Despite the lukewarm reception to November’s ARTPOP, the pint-sized singer remains a pop superstar and continues to take bold risks with both her music — eschewing Top 40 pop for a more electronic sound — and her ever-changing image. Love her or hate her, Gaga continues to buck trends by remaining one of the unique singers of her time. Also Tuesday, July 22. —Daniel Kohn
Vieux Farka Touré
Vieux Farka Touré really is a master of his magical ax. When plugged in, the Malian guitarist stirs up swirling Saharan dust storms of sound, flecked with shiny, metallic ribbons of raw sunlight. When he’s unplugged, as he is for much of his new album, Mon Pays (My Country), Touré summons forth a delicate and soft fluttering of dove wings on lovely chamber-music instrumentals such as “Peace,” where his deft strumming alternately evokes a harpsichord and a harp. Touré’s ability to segue from intensely blurry incantations to languid idylls led to some interesting collaborations with Israeli pianist Idan Raichel, but tonight this son of the late, great Ali Farka Touré focuses on Mon Pays, a plea for an end to the civil war that’s currently tearing apart Mali. —Falling James
Tuesday, July 22
Man or Astro-man?, Sallie Ford
Man or Astro-man? supposedly come from Alabama, but the quartet’s soaring instrumentals sound as if they emerge from somewhere in deep space. There are strong riptides of Earthly surf music pulling new tracks such as “Electric Arc” and “Antimatter Man” far out to sea, but the tempos are pushed along with ravaging punk-rock intensity throughout much of MOA’s latest album, Defcon 5...4...3...2...1. These space-suited maniacs have occasionally sent clones (of both genders) of themselves on tour in the past, but reportedly they will show up in fleshly form tonight. Portland chanteuse Sallie Ford recently traded in her rootsy boy band, The Sound Outside, for a new all-gal backup combo, but her intelligently romantic lyrics and fiery vocals still torch hazy indie-pop tunes such as “Hey Girl.” —Falling James
Wednesday, July 23
Nightmare and the Cat
Brothers Django and Sam Stewart, the centerpieces for L.A. quintet Nightmare and the Cat, are more inspired by each other than by their notable pedigree. The 20-something-year-old sons of Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart and Bananarama’s Siobhan Fahey have been making their mark on the late-night talk show circuit, as well as touring with Neon Trees, Bastille and Fitz and the Tantrums. Following their impressive Simple EP last fall, Nightmare and the Cat’s stellar LP of the same name is one third songs from the EP and three thirds gorgeous, glamorous pop. The title track’s urgent orchestrals crash into the pretty pattering of “Undercover.” The shuddery vocals of “Alvarado” recall T. Rex’s Marc Bolan, while “Traditions” is pure theatrical storytelling. Simple is distinctly accomplished and grand without being grandiose. —Lily Moayeri
Thursday, July 24
Maybe you thought Live in San Francisco was the White Fence album you’d been waiting for, and maybe that was because you were one of the many awestruck people who end up flattened against the back wall when Fence mainman Tim Presley and pals seize the stage. But now Presley and longtime Fence supporter Ty Segall have delivered For the Recently Found Innocent, the first actual studio production of White Fence — and here is the clarity, purity and psychedelicity you were truly craving, with echoes of Syd Barrett, “Helter Skelter,” T. Rex, The Soft Boys, The Pretty Things and more, across roaring songs including “Arrow Man,” “The Light” and “Wolf Gets Red Faced.” Heads, head to the record store now. Also Friday, July 25. —Chris Ziegler
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As leader of San Antonio trio Girl in a Coma, Nina Diaz possesses one of the more stirringly powerful voices in punk rock. Of course, GIAC are more than a punk band, as Diaz’s singing frequently crosses over from thunderous, hard-rock workouts to melodically beguiling pop ballads, but she’s taking a break from the group to record new material. At past solo shows, idly strumming an acoustic guitar, Diaz has surprised fans with spare, homey versions of Beatles songs like “Something” and, especially, “In My Life,” which she transformed into an achingly moving confessional. But tonight she’ll be backed by a five-piece electric band and reveal yet another side of herself. Also at Levitt Pavilion MacArthur Park, Friday, July 25. —Falling James
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