Midwestern Audio CD-Release Party
Midwest Music Foundation, the local-music-scene-supporting nonprofit, has recently put together Midwestern Audio Volume 1, a double-CD compilation that includes songs from more than 40 local acts. This show celebrates the release with sets from five of the bands featured on it. The lineup is nice and diverse: ambient emo from Everyday/Everynight, cheeky indie-pop from Antennas Up, hip-hop from Reach, spaced-out psych grooves from Gemini Revolution, and jumpin' blues from Grand Marquis.
Sunday, September 23, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
Sex Slaves, with Pizza Party Massacre
Here is what I know about Sex Slaves. The band is from New York and sounds like a shitty version of Mötley Crüe. One of the guys in the group is named Del Cheetah. Another guy is named J Bomb. The third is named eric13. They sing about getting excessively wasted and having lots of sex and other cliché rock-and-roll things. And I am not sure whether any of their raunchiness is serious or tongue-in-cheek. In other words, I hate basically everything about this band, but I am still recommending this show for two reasons: (1) Because it might be so terrible and disgusting that it actually ends up being entertaining, and (2) because I like opener Pizza Party Massacre, which just won a Pitch Music Award for Best Punk Act.
Saturday, September 22, at Davey's Uptown Ramblers Club (3402 Main, 816-753-1909)
Moon Duo, with Umberto
Wooden Shjips, a heavy stoner-rock act out of San Francisco, released one of my favorite records of 2011, West. The band marries powerful, repetitive classic-rock riffs with spaced-out ambience, connecting the dots between Ozzy Osbourne and the Velvet Underground. Moon Duo, a side project of guitarist and singer Erik "Ripley" Johnson, embraces the same aesthetic: lots of dense, two-chord burners; wild guitar solos; and big, fat layers of fuzz. I'm sure Johnson views Moon Duo as distinctly different from Wooden Shjips, but I can hardly tell the difference. Which is great: If you count Moon Duo's Mazes, Wooden Shjips put out two excellent records in 2011. (Circles, Moon Duo's latest, is out in October.) Opening: horror-soundtrack electronica from the local Umberto.
Wednesday, September 26, at the Replay Lounge (946 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-749-7676)
Empty Spaces, with Shy Boys
This Friday-night Brick show provides an opportunity to get to know two new-ish, solid local pop bands, both trios. The Empty Spaces, as I wrote in a review of their EP last week, play a charming, spunky kind of surf-rock. Shy Boys, made up of former members of the Abracadabras and current members of the ACBs, favor quiet, pretty harmonies, like the Zombies with a little more modern rock in them.
Friday, September 21, at the Brick (1727 McGee, 816-421-1634)
Marco Benevento, with Mike Dillon
There are something like 20 guests on Marco Benevento's latest album, TigerFace. Among them are members of Phish, Ween, Tortoise and Antibalas. That tells you a little about Benevento, whose colorful, improvisational, piano-based compositions stretch so wide and cover so much sonic ground that the idea of genre seems quaint. Very quietly, whether with the Benevento/Russo Duo or his various solo projects, Benevento has been evolving into one of the most vital figures in jazz or rock or post-jazz or post-rock or, if you ask me, all of music.
Tuesday, September 25, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
Pearl and the Beard
Pearl and the Beard's calling card is a mix of stomping bluegrass and Tin Pan Alley tunes performed with such instruments as accordions and cellos and glockenspiels. This is not an especially remarkable aesthetic in 2012, and between its sound and its appearance (the members wear thick glasses and fashionable old-timey clothes), the group violates my zero-tolerance policy regarding grotesque quirkiness. But the New York trio's playful, engaging performances are undeniable. It's been awhile since I've seen an audience feasting so voraciously out of a band's palms as the crowd at Pearl and the Beard's closing-night performance at this year's True/False Film Fest.
Thursday, September 20, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)