In May, Atmosphere — the 17-year Minneapolis rap duo made up of producer Ant and MC Slug — released its latest full-length, Southsiders. Unlike most recent issues from Atmosphere, a run that has placed a heavy emphasis on live instrumentation, Southsiders offers a return to basics, centering on Ant's steady, smart production and Slug's emotive, honest lyrics. It comes off like an old-fashioned album from the Rhymesayers group that first boosted the Minneapolis hip-hop world to national recognition. There's nothing particularly newfangled or challenging to be found in Southsiders' tracks, but maybe that's not the point.
Wednesday, August 27, the Granada (1020 Massachusetts,
Reverend Horton Heat
Reverend Horton Heat seems never to leave the road. Good for fans. Even better for local fans: The Dallas trio — headed up by Jim Heath, the eponymous Rev — favors our little part of the country. For more than two decades, the band has been dishing out heaping helpings of the rambunctious rock that some like to call psychobilly. (Heath doesn't, for what it's worth, but everything needs a box, I suppose.) The Rev's shows are powerful to behold: You can absolve yourself of last night's revelry and then re-tox, all in the same couple of hours.
Thursday, August 21, the Bottleneck (737 New Hampshire, Lawrence, 785-841-5483
The Cactus Blossoms
Hark, ye true believers of country music: Your prayers are answered. On Friday, Minneapolis' the Cactus Blossoms roll through town, stopping at Davey's Uptown. If you're the type to spend lonely nights wallowing with a bottle of bourbon and your favorite Hank Williams record, well, this is the show for you. Brothers Page Burkum and Jack Torrey harmonize like they learned how in the womb, and they round out their sound with the slow burn of Randy Broughten's steel guitar and dobro, and Jed Germond's weeping fiddle. It's an act worthy of the Grand Ole Opry, and you'll get it for a bargain price and a fraction of the drive.
Friday, August 22, Davey's Uptown Ramblers Club (3402 Main, 816-753-1909)
Katy Guillen and the Girls, Schwervon, Not a Planet
The 2014 Pitch Music Awards may be over, but that's no reason to stop celebrating. Friday night at RecordBar, three of our recent nominees — one a PMA winner — take the stage. Katy Guillen and the Girls, who won this year in the Emerging Act category, rarely rein in their blistering blues, with Guillen's guitar burning like salt on a wound. Schwervon is a drums-and-guitar duo in line with Vampire Weekend's brand of dance rock. And Not a Planet's lead singer, Nathan Corsi, commands the stage with swoonworthy charm. This one has something for nearly everybody.
Friday, August 22, RecordBar (1020 Westport Rd., 816-753-5207)
Like any responsible music listener, I'm often skeptical of new pop-rock outfits, particularly young ones prone to trendy buzzword lyrics and synthed-up tracks. Still, there's something about New York's MisterWives that defies you not to just go with it. A big part of that something is lead singer Mandy Lee, a 21-year-old with robust lungs and a way with ballads (especially "Lullaby," the group's lead single). Other tracks from the MisterWives' debut EP, Reflections, skew toward overproduced, radio-hopeful pop candy. But if the band's biggest mistake is dreaming big, we can forgive. Friday's show is free, and fellow New York act Bleachers opens.
Friday, August 22, KC Live Block, Power & Light District (14th Street and Grand, powerandlightdistrict.com)