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Monday, February 23
For lo these 30 or so years, Lake Charles, Louisiana, singer-songwriter-guitarist Lucinda Williams has forged an idiosyncratic path through American roots music, melting down Delta-infused country soul, funky folk and rock strains into her gritty, Southern Gothic sound. Her smartly sassy worldview drenched her self-titled album in ’88, which along with the Grammy-winning Car Wheels on a Gravel Road launched and defined the Americana movement of the ’90s. Highly literate songwriting, nice singing and great playing abounds on Williams’ new double-disc set, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, a ridiculously good-feeling thing released on her own Highway 20 label and graced by guests such as Tony Joe White and Ian MacLagan. Also Wednesday, Feb. 25. — John Payne
Tuesday, February 24
Wet & Reckless
HARVARD & STONE
“No one is expecting me at home/No one’s calling hospitals or waiting by the phone,” Emily Wilder sings on “Suicide Mission,” one of eight tartly delivered garage-pop gems on Wet & Reckless’ debut full-length album, out this month on Lolipop Records. Singer-guitarist Wilder, bassist Jessica Gelt and drummer Jalise Woodward probably draw a lot of comparisons to Best Coast for their hazy, jangly sound, but they’re closer in spirit to veteran L.A. guitar-pop outfits Irving and The Little Ones. Wilder wraps her loneliness and vulnerability in sardonic humor and layers of reverb, especially on the drunken confessional “Walk Me Home” and the deceptively rousing “Machinery.” With Lolipop mastermind Wyatt Blair opening, this final night of Wet & Reckless’ month-long residency at Harvard & Stone should be loaded with whip-smart songwriting and earworm choruses. — Andy Hermann
Wednesday, February 25
The Black Ryder
On their upcoming album, The Door Behind the Door, the Australian duo of vocalist Aimee Nash and guitarist Scott Von Ryper continue to craft bewitching songs that are as strange and expansively mysterious as the Outback. In the past, they’ve kicked up a dusty, roots/blues sound, but their new song “Seventh Moon” unwinds with a Mazzy Star dream-pop haziness, as Nash whispers delicately over Von Ryper’s slow passages of echoing guitar and keyboards. The Sydney natives are now based in L.A., and they often broaden their sound by collaborating with members of Brian Jonestown Massacre, Pink Mountaintops and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. But ultimately, the heart of The Black Ryder’s sound lies in the intimate ways Nash and Von Ryper exchange breathy confidences and shape-shifting shadows. — Falling James
Thursday, February 26
I See Hawks in L.A.
Hank’s Bar is suddenly gone and Cole’s isn’t quite the same, but I See Hawks in L.A. endures. Like the hawk in their name and the coyote, too, they bring a little bit of country into the city, even as the kind of Rockford Files–style wood-paneled bars they were practically born in are going extinct. Their recent album Mystery Drug adds a few more keepers (“Rock ’n’ Roll Cymbal From the ’70s”) and weepers (“We Could All Be in Laughlin Tonight”) to a discography as long as one of those desert freight trains. Live, they channel the same kind of righteous storytelling as Guy Clark, John Prine or Terry Allen. (Or Kurt Vonnegut and Charles Portis, for that matter.) One day, someone oughta name a drink after these guys. — Chris Ziegler