They Might Be Giants
They Might Be Giants has been perfecting its bite-size nerd rock over the past 30 years, carving out along the way as distinct an identity as any band working today. An album titled Nanobots (released in March), including 25 songs in 45 minutes, with titles such as "Circular Karate Chop" and "Insect Hospital"? That could only be the handiwork of the two Johns — Flansburgh and Linnell — who were geeks in Brooklyn wayyy before it was fashionable.
Thursday, June 6, at Crossroads KC at Grinders (417 East 18th Street, 785-749-3434)
English punks in the 1970s, new wave icons in the 1980s, splitsville in the 1990s, spotty reunions in the 2000s. What has this new decade brought the Psychedelic Furs so far? A tour paying tribute to the group's classic 1981 album, Talk Talk Talk, in 2011, and, this summer, another victory lap. Expect all the classics; there's been no new Furs material on record in 20 years.
Sunday, June 9, at the Midland (1228 Main, 816-283-9921)
Glaswegian trio Chvrches drives in the same lane as acts like Purity Ring and the Knife — woman-fronted electro-pop groups — but isn't quite so icy. Its 1980s-tinged synth hooks are approachable, if still a little menacing, and all signs point to this being a breakout year for the band: a buzzy SXSW, a tour with Depeche Mode and a debut due in the fall.
Friday, June 7, at the Granada (1020 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-842-1390)
Waiting for Signal
Mayday, the new album from locals Waiting for Signal, is the most recent addition to the catalog of albums practicing a genre that's sometimes referred to around here as the Kansas City Sound. It's dark, sometimes epic rock, with varying degrees of angsty emo and grunge tones. On Mayday, you can hear echoes of 1990s local legend Shiner, plus some of the muscle of acts like Muse and Audioslave. Sample it at this release show, at which Sons of Great Dane, Heroes and Villains, and Roman Ships are set to assist in the celebration.
Friday, June 7, at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)
Crossroads Summer Block Party
Despite miserable heat, the first Crossroads Summer Block Party, last July, was a success. It returns this year to 19th Street (between Wyandotte and Baltimore) in the traditionally cooler month of June. Local label Golden Sound Records has again organized the party, and the lineup includes members of its roster, including Fullbloods, Hidden Pictures, and Millions of Boys. Also performing: Cowboy Indian Bear, Akkilles, Shy Boys, Oils and Opossum Trot. It's always nice when a show offers exposure to a lot of local talent in one fell swoop, and this is one of those shows. Bonus: It's free. The festivities get under way at 6 p.m., and the afterparty (at Snow & Co.) starts at midnight. See crossroadsblockparty.com for the schedule.
Friday, June 7, at 19th Street and Wyandotte
As Lord Huron, Michiganer-turned-Angeleno Ben Schneider writes pretty, pastoral folk-rock. Its commonalities with the music of Fleet Foxes are well-noted, but on his most recent, Lonesome Dreams, I hear just as much of the, um, dreamy qualities I associate with Pacific Northwest group, the Helio Sequence. As a sound, it's nothing terribly novel given today's folk-drenched indie climate, but this guy's executing it better than a lot of the others.
Monday, June 10, at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)