Music Forecast July 19-25: Big Freedia, Simon Joyner, James Taylor, Josh Ritter, and more 

Hidden Pictures, with Fullbloods and Shy Boys
Rainbow Records, the third LP from local indie-pop five-piece Hidden Pictures, has just been released to the world, and this Brick show celebrates that excellent fact. Be cool and arrive early for the openers: Fullbloods (surf-influenced retro rock) and Shy Boys (harmony-driven pop).
Friday, July 20, at the Brick (1727 McGee, 816-421-1634)

Big Freedia
"Shake your ass," people will say, by which they usually mean, Dance a little, why don't you? The bass-heavy, rapid-fire, New Orleans-born hip-hop subgenre known as bounce takes the concept of shaking one's ass to a much more literal and provocative place. It's best to just YouTube the videos, but the clearest way I can describe this kind of dancing is like the participants are pretending to get penetrated from behind at a thousand miles an hour. Big Freedia, a tall, imposing, transgendered performer, is a beloved pioneer of bounce — live, she's part emcee, part aerobics instructor, part messiah.
Sunday, July 22, at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)

Josh Ritter
Based on his depressingly generic name — given to him, as I understand it, by the Sensitive Singer-Songwriter Name-O-Matic — I spent years vaguely avoiding Josh Ritter's music. Recently, I learned that he deserves better: He ain't no Groban, and he ain't no Jack Johnson. Ritter's more of a rootsy, Americana guy — a little vanilla at times, but he's got a gift for lyrics (he's published a novel) and enough songwriting chops to keep things interesting.
Thursday, July 19, at Crossroads KC at Grinders (417 East 18th Street, 816-472-5454)

James Taylor
Bald icon and lullaby writer James Taylor is still out touring. He doesn't have much new material — he's in the Christmas-albums and cover-albums stage of his career — but odds are, he'll continue to pack venues like Starlight until the children of baby boomers begin sticking their parents in homes.
Saturday, July 21, at Starlight Theatre (4600 Starlight Road, 816-363-7827)

Simon Joyner
Simon Joyner has spent the last 20 years making nervy, lo-fi folk-rock not unlike the kind with which fellow Omahan Conor Oberst broke through to the mainstream in Bright Eyes. (Oberst is a fan and friend, and has released a Joyner record through his vanity label, Team Love Records.) He's got a new double LP, Ghosts, and in honor of it he's doing some touring — a relatively rare activity for Joyner, so lucky us.
Thursday, July 19, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)

Robbie Fulks
Waylon, Willie and the rest of the old-school outlaw crowd defied the country-music establishment by making country music that was rougher and tougher than the Nashville status quo. Robbie Fulks, an alt-country descendant of the outlaws, throws stones the Generation X way: by making fun of things. He's got the right tools for it — a sharp eye for the absurd and the fire and fury bred in unrecognized talents. Fulks' best known song is an ode to Nashville called "Fuck This Town" (This ain't country-western/It's just soft-rock feminist crap); his most recent anti-hit is "Fountains of Wayne Hotline," a postmodern story-skit in which he lampoons the formulaic structures of modern rock.
Saturday, July 21, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)

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