Lucero, with Langhorne Slim
Once a country-punk bar band, Lucero has embraced its Memphis roots on recent albums — its songs now include richer elements: horns, pedal steel and gospel vocals. It's a great look. Any band that's as likely to cover Jawbreaker as Bill Withers is the kind of band I can get behind. I want to take you out to a show/I want to kiss you while the band's playin' rock and roll, frontman Ben Nichols sings on 2009's "Sounds of the City." That seems kind of basic written here on the page, but with the ballpark keyboards and horn section swirling around Nichols' raspy voice, it's something like a revelation. Opener Langhorne Slim is a foot-stomping showman with a songbook full of lovesick, old-timey folk tunes.
Tuesday, April 23, at the Granada (1020 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-842-1390)
Black Mountain's stoner rock is huge enough to encompass a variety of 1970s influences: Rush-like prog, Black Sabbath metal and Deep Purple's psych rock. The group recently did the soundtrack to Year Zero, a surf film set in post-apocalyptic times, which sounds exactly like the kind of movie you'd associate with a band like Black Mountain.
Tuesday, April 23, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
Allah-Las, with the Black Angels
Allah-Las' self-titled debut is the result of four crate-digging record-store clerks (at Amoeba, in Los Angeles, to be specific) attempting to make as authentic a '60s garage-pop album as could be made in the year 2012. The group favors vintage analog gear, crisp surf-rock tones and Stones-y jangles. It's revivalism, but it's about as close to the real thing as I've heard. Austin's the Black Angels share some garage fundamentals with Allah-Las but also stretch out into acid-drenched psych jams.
Monday, April 22, at the Granada (1020 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-842-1390)
I still think T.I. is one of the greatest rappers alive, although he hasn't done a ton lately to support that belief. Still, he's got hits for days, so a T.I. show should be worth the coin. He's touring in support of his most recent album, Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head, and he's bringing along some younger rap names to back him up. Among them: on-the-rise Future, from Atlanta; Tyga, of "Rack City" fame; and Top 40–friendly rapper B.O.B.
Saturday, April 20, at the Sprint Center (1407 Grand, 816-949-7000)
Jukebox the Ghost
Jukebox the Ghost is based in Brooklyn but sounds more like an earnest indie-pop group from somewhere in the Midwest. It favors busy arrangements; bouncing pianos; and dense, theatrical, front-and-center vocals — somewhere between Ben Folds and the Long Winters. The group has toured relentlessly over the past half-decade, and it has the enthusiastic young fans to show for it.
Thursday, April 18, at the Jackpot (943 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-832-1085)
The last time country singer Tate Stevens performed in Kansas City, he was auditioning for the second season of The X Factor at the Sprint Center. The Belton native went on to win, earning him the kind of popularity that gets you two headlining nights at the Midland. (Sunday night sold out in about 30 minutes, so a Monday date was added.) Tickets to the show include a copy of Stevens' debut album, which is out Tuesday via RCA Records Nashville.
Sunday, April 21, and Monday, April 22, at the Midland (1228 Main, 816-283-9921)