In the Whale
In January 2012, the two-person clamor called In the Whale released an EP titled Cake, whose four songs deliver face-splitting, reckless punk that's surprisingly harmonious. The Denver scene swallowed all of it like a dangerous drug. In the Whale — guitarist and lead singer Nate Valdez and drummer Eric Riley — have followed Cake with two more EPs, including the latest: April's Nate, a blistering, basement-produced collection as angry as a misfit teenager. You're gonna burn, sucker, burn, Valdez taunts on "Robert Johnson," a fiery warning intensified by propulsive drums. The occasional clapping chorus and hidden melody sometimes offer balance, but don't expect to stay upright at Czar when In the Whale wants you to get down and dirty.
Friday, April 18, Czar (1531 Grand, 816-421-0300)
You've got to admire Ben Kweller — for his dedication, if not always for his songs. The style of music he offers, a Warheads-like brand of off-kilter power pop, peaked around the time that bands like Ben Folds Five and Weezer were really, really cool. Yet here Kweller is, years later, still doing his thing: a nostalgic breed of alt rock. Go Fly a Kite was full of that a couple of years ago, with a bunch of songs fueled by a smug sensitivity out of the Tom Petty playbook. But hey, that's fine. The early aughts were full of ups and downs, and if Kweller reminds you of the better parts of that decade, good for him and good for you.
Friday, April 18, the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)
The Invisible World
After nearly a decade playing together, the four members of Kansas City's the Invisible World are ready to unveil a reincarnated sound. The band, once known as A Dead Giveaway, is back with a brand-new EP titled Welcome to the Invisible World, and it's a smooth, assured effort from a group that finally seems to have it figured out. Lead singer Jesse Collins has a rich, gold-hued voice that rolls over the gentle guitar of "Bad Company Corrupts Good Behavior" and soars through the upbeat folk pop of "Juliet." It's a record ready to usher in the calendar's first unbroken run of sunny days, and you can feel the warmth as the Invisible World celebrates the EP's release Saturday.
Saturday, April 19, Czar (1531 Grand, 816-421-0300)
You might have guessed that Swedish metal band Ghost — or Ghost B.C., as it is now known in this country — didn't get popular by handing out lollipops and kissing babies. The six-piece is led by pope-parodying Papa Emeritus II, who prefers gothic garb and skeletal makeup to a white sheet. The Papa leads an order of five Nameless Ghouls, all similarly costumed in creepy-looking, religious-cult robes. It's a delightfully ominous cast, even without the sinister soundtrack of Ghost B.C.'s latest record, Infestissumam, a vintage-sounding collection of black metal with some anti-Catholic spoofs and a few spoonfuls of goofy satanic rituals. Something for everyone, then.
Tuesday, April 22, the Granada (1020 Massachusetts, 785-842-1390)
In the video for Schoolboy Q's "Man of the Year," the Los Angeles rapper — dressed in his usual campy bucket hat and some cargo capris, and flanked by a handful of scantily clad Kim Kardashian-looking beauties — wanders around what appears to be the island where Lost was filmed. The lyrics are crude and don't make much sense, but Q makes a solid point as he professes his title. After all, "Man of the Year" is a track off his February-released full-length, Oxymoron, a smart record full of thematic elements that stay true to the title — and has positioned Q for a breakthrough.
Wednesday, April 23, Liberty Hall (644 Massachusetts, 785-749-1972)