One spin through last year's double album The Clearing/The Final Epoch, by Chicago drone duo Locrian, puts you in a dark place. It's full of proper apocalyptic noise driven by doom and disaster — breathtaking black-metal-influenced tunes with the power to raise evil spirits and drop testicles. This bill, which also includes metal locals Boreas and Jason Zeh, is the first UFO Show, a new series at Davey's curated by local experimental music sage Pat Hopewell. "Booking shows that other venues are too chickenshit to attempt" is the promise that Hopewell shot us when he announced the series, and it looks like he's on his way to making good on it.
Monday, March 11, at Davey's Uptown Ramblers Club (3402 Main, 816-753-1909)
Freedy Johnston is a 1990s one-hit wonder ("Bad Reputation") who deserves far better than he has received from the music industry. The Kinsley, Kansas, native and University of Kansas dropout is a singer-songwriter with a terrific ear for pop melody, and all his albums are damn solid. Rain on the City, from 2010, is his most recent — an unassuming, finely tuned mix of alt-country, folk-pop and rock songs.
Tuesday, March 12, at Czar (1531 Grand, 816-421-0300)
Sound Tribe Sector 9
Sound Tribe Sector 9 has been fucking around with computers and dance music since Skrillex was getting wedgies out on the playground. The Santa Cruz, California, quintet started out on the periphery of the jam-band scene, but as the popularity of electronic music in the United States has skyrocketed, so has that of STS9. The group integrates live instrumentation into its space-funk EDM, and in doing so has earned itself the kind of loyal following that can pack a place like Liberty Hall two nights in a row.
Tuesday, March 12, and Wednesday, March 13, at Liberty Hall (644 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-749-1972)
Like Real Estate or the War on Drugs, Caveman advances a calm, reverby rock agenda that brings to mind an overcast day at the beach. The Brooklyn band adds synths and kinky percussion to the equation, too, so it basically hits for the current-trends-in-indie-rock cycle. That sounds like a backhanded compliment, but I don't really mean it that way. "Old Friend," from Coco Beware, was one of my favorite songs of last year. Caveman's new, self-titled album, is out on Fat Possum in April. With Computer Magic and Vehicles.
Thursday, March 7, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
All the words you'd use to describe Psychic Ills — trippy, hazy, spacey, droning, hypnotic — have vague drug connotations. (Come to think of it, so does its name.) The New York group has been doing its no-rules freak-rock for more than a decade and is now releasing its albums via violently hip label Sacred Bones Records, which is also home to opener Follakzoid. With Blues Control.
Friday, March 8, at the Jackpot (943 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-832-1085)
Garage-soul quartet Alabama Shakes was one of the most buzzed-about bands of 2012, and 2013 is looking like the year it conquers America. The Athens, Alabama, group slides seamlessly among country, roots and rock, and is led by Brittany Howard, who channels Janis Joplin's bluesy howl — but don't tell her that. "I've grown tired of the Janis Joplin comparisons," Howard tells The Pitch. "I don't really know her music very well. This is the only way I know how to sound, really." Opener Michael Kiwanuka also looks to be on his way up, and his Bill Withers–by–way–of–Bon Iver songs are pretty hard not to like.
Sunday, March 10, at the Uptown Theater (3700 Broadway, 816-753-8665)