When Fool's Gold surfaced in 2009, the L.A. act included a dozen rotating members and delivered its lyrics primarily in Hebrew. On its sophomore album, 2011's Leave No Trace, the ranks have been reduced to a core of five members, and English is now the preferred language. The band has retained the Afrobeat influences of its debut, but the songwriters (of which Foreign Born guitarist Lewis Pesacov is one) also seem to be on a bit of a Smiths kick. Recommended listening, if you like: "The Boy in the Bubble," Dirty Projectors or The Queen Is Dead. And if you don't like those things, what kind of person are you?
Wednesday, May 23, at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)
The Caves, with the Roseline and Thom Hoskins
One of the better local songs I've heard this spring is "Liars," a Caves track that appeared on the Record Store Day vinyl comp by Record Machine-Golden Sound. One of the better local albums I've heard this spring is Vast As Sky, from recently resurrected Lawrence alt-country act the Roseline. And one of my favorite local venues to hear my favorite local bands is the Brick, so I'm pretty well set for this show.
Friday, May 18, at the Brick (1727 McGee, 816-421-1634)
A background character in early '00s Southern rap (he was in 504 Boyz), Curren$y bounced from the No Limit crew to Cash Money before deciding to self-release his material. His subsequent mixtapes, on which he fixated his smooth-jazz drawl on little other than marijuana-related topics, won him some blog love and new momentum, which brought him back to a major label. Warner Bros. has given him his own imprint, which he calls Jet Life, but the drama continues: He is currently suing Damon Dash for selling his last album, The Muscle Car Chronicles, without permission. All in the game, all in the game.
Sunday, May 20, at the Granada (1020 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-842-1390)
Beth Bombara, with David Burchfield and Margo May
This mellow Friday night on the prairie is headlined by St. Louis' Beth Bombara, whose charming version of Americana calls to mind another Beth: Orton. David Burchfield, a local who writes tender alt-country songs garnished with steel guitars and fiddles, ought to nicely complement Bombara's pastoral vibe. More modern and urban is opener Margo May, a singer-songwriter whose electric-tinged songs have as much to do with saccharine indie rock as they do folk music.
Friday, May 18, at Czar (1531 Grand, 816-421-0300)
Mariachi El Bronx, with Two Gallants and Making Movies
These days, audiences are far less likely to have heard of angry L.A. punk act the Bronx than its alter ego, Mariachi El Bronx. What started as a borderline novelty diversion into Mexican mariachi music — the band dresses in charro suits and performs with acoustic guitars and a robust horn section — evolved into critical praise and a slot opening for the Foo Fighters. What's the secret? Smart arrangements, high energy and a lack of irony. Two Gallants, a Saddle Creek duo, also operate at a vague intersection between traditional folk and punk.
Friday, May 18, at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)
Van Halen, with Kool & the Gang
Anybody else seeing Murphy Brown-era Candice Bergen when they look at David Lee Roth's face these days? OK, OK, never mind, that was a cheap shot. Diamond Dave, of course, has been on the brain lately on account of the recent release of A Different Kind of Truth, the first Van Halen record to feature DLR's pipes since 1984's, uh, 1984. To support the album (which includes five reworked songs originally written in 1976, plus eight new ones) and their respective retirement plans, Van Halen is touring steadily through August. Eighties party-funk act Kool & the Gang opens.
Tuesday, May 22, at Sprint Center (1407 Grand, 816-949-7000)