Even if you don't count Chuck Prophet's work as a guitarist in the 1980s and early '90s with the progressive psych-rock band Green on Red, the Californian has put together a prolific career. His 12th solo album, 2012's Temple Beautiful, has been compared with Velvet Underground–era Lou Reed, and the influence is obvious. Prophet's arrangements are so masterfully layered that guitar, bass and piano often merge to form a crystal-clear electric point — a fine pedestal for Prophet's rebellious pop-punk voice. The album is an ode to Prophet's beloved San Francisco, but the songs are as universal as the guitar riffs on "Play That Song Again." Prophet's shows are the high-energy, old-fashioned rock-and-roll type, and his stop Friday at Davey's is one you shouldn't miss.
Friday, June 6, Davey's Uptown Ramblers Club (3402 Main, 816-753-1909)
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin still gives off a band-least-likely vibe, despite being together for nearly 15 years. Left to their own devices, SSLYBY's four members would probably keep recording in Will Knauer's parents' attic in Springfield, Missouri, where the band made its last album, Fly by Wire. The low-key recording approach makes for accessible and precious pop songs, and "Young Presidents" and "Nightwater Girlfriend" are featherweight and golden-hued. They're the perfect soundtrack for sticky summer nights — like Saturday's homecoming show at the Riot Room. Better yet, you don't have to be well-versed in Russian history to appreciate SSLYBY.
Saturday, June 7, the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)
John Butler Trio
John Butler Trio's Flesh & Blood has a sort of silent strength to it. At first listen, the gentle hooks on "Only One" and "Spring to Come" cozily roll through speakers. They're ideal tracks for a living-room social overflowing with wine. But as tender as this Australian group can be, it also possesses a fierce blues streak. Frontman Butler's voice is a cool breeze as he shreds away on "Blame It on Me." His busking background and proclivity for slide guitar give Flesh & Blood an exciting array of textures: rootsy guitar and bass chords shrouded in reverb, stretched and looped. Whether you like Butler's sensitive side or his gut-churning arrangements, his trio's live show should offer something for everyone.
Saturday, June 7, Crossroads KC at Grinders (417 East 18th Street, 785-749-3434)
Black Joe Lewis
Black Joe Lewis was last in the KC area in February for what was most likely a wall-shaking show at Knuckleheads Saloon. If you didn't get to experience Lewis and his band's skin-crawling, unholy blues then, you best get yourself to the Bottleneck Sunday. Lewis mercilessly rips through the songs on his latest album, Electric Slave, like a bloodthirsty pirate. His beastly voice fronts a ferocious assembly of electric guitar and swinging drumbeats. If it weren't for the occasional horn interspersed, the album would probably scare children. All the same, maybe leave the kids at home.
Sunday, June 8, the Bottleneck (737 New Hampshire, Lawrence, 785-841-5483)
The Bird and the Bear
Nashville's the Bird and the Bear is the latest husband-and-wife folk darling. Shortly after they met, in 2011, Mirthe Bolhuis, a native of the Netherlands, and Garry Wood, from Wyoming, found that their romantic relationship was also an effective creative partnership. Bolhuis' voice — spiderweb-delicate and about as haunting — tempers Wood's roaring melodies. The duo recalls the Civil Wars, without the annoying drama. Maybe it's the scrappy, clear-eyed 2012 EP. Maybe it's the low-budget YouTube videos. Whatever — you just want to root for these two. And Wednesday night at the Brick, you can.
Wednesday, June 11, the Brick (1727 McGee, 816-421-1634)