You may be wondering if the world truly needs another folk-rock band. Perhaps the notion keeps you awake at night. You blink drearily at the ceiling, asking yourself if there will ever be another artist able to seamlessly blend heartfelt acoustic playing and robust rock elements in a way that touches your soul and makes you believe that music has a future beyond computers and synthesizers. Enter Nashville band Apache Relay: earnest lyrics, uplifting melodies, Arcade Fire–like energy. Even if you really want to dislike them, they make it pretty hard. As a bonus, this is a free show.
Thursday, September 26, at the Granada (1020 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-842-1390)
There's something delightfully imperfect about the DIY nature of the Washington, D.C., foursome that is Paperhaus. This past May, the band self-released a hazy four-song EP, Lo Hi Lo, and in it you can hear the individual influences of four very disparate songwriters coming together to make some surprisingly genuine indie-pop music. Here, Paperhaus is joined by local electro-pop artist Scammers (the stage name of Phil Diamond) and Lazy.
Wednesday, October 2, at FOKL (556 Central, Kansas City, Kansas, 816-665-3748, foklcenter.com)
Before Coldplay, there was Travis. And Travis was better. The Scottish foursome has been around for nearly 25 years, and its sound has only improved with age. The band's seventh album, the recently released Where You Stand, is a smooth, mature collection of songs that prove Britpop lives on. If nothing else, you should go for the accents.
Sunday, September 29, at VooDoo Lounge (Harrah's Casino, 1 Riverboat Drive, 816-889-4237)
Scar the Martyr
It seems slightly odd that Slipknot percussionist Joey Jordison would need to find another creative outlet to unleash more angst and rage, but some people have a lot of that, I guess. Scar the Martyr, formed earlier this year, is due to release its debut album September 30. I wonder if the ever-endearing "maggot" tag is going to carry over.
Friday, September 27, at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)
Trevor Powers — better known by his stage name, Youth Lagoon — is a fresh 23 years old, and he's making music for other 23-year-olds who are into experimental computer music and weird, noisy synth-pop. His sophomore album, Wondrous Bughouse, is a densely layered mess of electronic carnival sounds. Powers' music would sound entirely appropriate blasting from camouflaged speakers in a house of mirrors, which would actually be a really cool way to see him perform — and it would match the strange anxiety of his lyrics really well. But until he can pack that kind of setup into his tour van, RecordBar works just fine. Austin's Pure X opens; its ambient, lo-fi electronica should match the frenzy of Youth Lagoon nicely.
Sunday, September 29, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
Shemekia Copeland has a voice that can blast through brick walls. The two-time Grammy nominee is a well-known force of nature in the blues world, channeling the indomitable energies of such blues legends as Etta James and B.B. King. If you like singers who can rip out your heart in a single note change, Copeland is the woman for you. And the show is free.
Sunday, September 29, KC Live in the Power & Light District (14th Street and Grand)
Richard Buckner is one of those underappreciated artists who makes categorization difficult for music journalists. In the span of his 20-plus-year career, Buckner has managed to release nearly a dozen full-length albums that slither between acoustic alt-country and folktronica. His new Surrounded is no exception, with its expansive, contemplative songs that blossom like sad, doomed flowers along the side of a dirt road. Buckner's live performances are typically stoic sets that focus purely on the music, and there's certainly nothing wrong with that.
Monday, September 30, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)