Wednesday, April 22
PLAN A: Young Fathers, Mas Ysa, Taurus Authority @ The Casbah. If you haven't had a chance yet, read my feature in the April 15 issue on U.K. eclectic pop group Young Fathers. They won the Mercury Prize last year for their album, Dead. Its follow-up, White Men Are Black Men Too, is an even more accessible blend of catchy, if off-kilter hip-hop and electronic sounds. Highly recommended. PLAN B: Driveby Truckers @ Belly Up Tavern. Athens, Georgia's Drive by Truckers have a long history of great songwriting, emotional narratives and even rocking out at times, and their back catalog is all the proof you need. There's no opener for this show, so show up early and soak in all the great songs. BACKUP PLAN: Lady Lamb, Rathborne, The Gift Machine @ Soda Bar.
Thursday, April 23
PLAN A: Pete Yorn (acoustic show) @ Belly Up Tavern. I'll freely admit that I haven't really kept up with Pete Yorn's career over the last decade or so, but I'm still a big fan of his debut, Musicforthemorningafter. He's written some great tunes, and it'll be even more interesting to hear him perform them in a stripped-down acoustic set. PLAN B: Lindi Ortega, The Casey Hensley Band @ The Casbah. Lindi Ortega is one of my favorite alt-country discoveries in recent years, with a voice that's somewhere between Emmylou Harris and Stevie Nicks, and a noir sound that's comparable to Neko Cases. Listen to 2013's Tin Star and be instantly won over.
Friday, April 24
PLAN A: Nikki Lane, Low Volts, Jake Loban and the Benders @ Soda Bar. Singer/songwriter Nikki Lane has a great balance of sadness, humor, sass and grit. She's a little bit country and a little bit punk rock, but more than anything, she's got a knack for great tunes. PLAN B: Matt Pond PA, Young Buffalo, Shawn Alpay @ The Casbah. Matt Pond PA is embarking on a 10th anniversary tour of their 2005 album Several Arrows Later, and while it's not my personal favorite of the band's, it's still an excellent set of lushly arranged chamber-pop tunes with strong melodies. Plus you're likely to hear a few more classics.
Saturday, April 25
PLAN A: Sir Richard Bishop, Robert Mills, Dominick Gambini @ Whistle Stop. Guitarist Sir Richard Bishop spent two and a half decades performing with psychedelic outfit Sun City Girls, but his solo output is not to be overlooked. His guitar playing style is a trippy spin on John Fahey's "American primitivism," and it's a stunning sound to behold. Also, this is an early show, so there's more time for music later in the evening! PLAN B: Rufus Wainwright @ Belly Up Tavern. I'm always a little hesitant to recommend a show that's more than $40 a ticket, but Rufus Wainwright is an outstanding songwriter, and seeing as how this is the "Best of Rufus Wainwright" show, he'll almost certainly be playing your favorite songs. Maybe a splurge is in order.
Sunday, April 26
PLAN A: Waxahatchee, Girlpool @ The Casbah. Read my cover story this week on Philadelphia singer/songwriter Katie Crutchfield, better known as Waxahatchee. She just released her third album, Ivy Tripp, and it's her best yet, juxtaposing narrative songwriting with bigger, denser arrangements. This is a can't-miss show. PLAN B: Reptar, Sandy's, Paper Days @ Soda Bar. Georgia's Reptar do electronic dance rock that's a little bit trippy, a little bit nerdy, and a whole lot of fun. Feel the grooves with all the other weirdos tonight.
Monday, April 27
PLAN A: Juice Box, HM3, Aquarium @ Soda Bar. Local funk/soul group Juice Box was dubbed 'Extraspecialgood' in our Great Demo Review this year, and they most certainly earned it. The group does instrumental R&B that ranges from upbeat to smooth and laid-back, but it's all good. Come down, and get down. BACKUP PLAN: Saint Shameless @ Tower Bar.
Tuesday, April 28
PLAN A: Buck 65, Astronautalis @ The Casbah. Last year, rapper Astronautalis made a regrettable error by appearing on Justin Vernon's Jason Feathers album, which sounded a lot like trolling to these ears. That being said, it makes me appreciate his solo work even more, which comprises consistently strong abstract hip-hop.