Tennis, with Vacationer
Hoo boy, it was easy to hate that Tennis debut before hearing so much as a note of it. The Denver duo's buzz-generating backstory — cute couple buy a sailboat; travel up and down the Eastern Seaboard; write songs together; get married; then release an album called, oh my God, Cape Dory — makes me want to move to Montana and start writing my manifesto. But I listened. It's my job. And the band's sunny indie pop (lots of plinking pianos and trendy fuzz) was not as grotesquely precious as I'd suspected. Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney produced Tennis' recently released sophomore album, Young and Old, and he has introduced some vigor and gravity to the twee. The simple, soulful single "Petition" is one of the most likable pop songs I've heard in 2012.
Saturday, May 12, at RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 753-5207)
High Diving Ponies, with Enemy Airship
Suspended in Liquid, the latest release from locals High Diving Ponies, is out this week. It's a fuzzy blast of noise-rock that ought to please the cassette crowd. Joining them is Enemy Airship, a relatively new indie-rock act out of Columbia that draws equal influence from Broken Social Scene and the dark British melodies of the 1980s underground.
Friday, May 11, at the Replay Lounge (946 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-749-7676)
Explore Tattoos Launch Party
Do you ever drive around and wonder how so many tattoo studios can exist — and survive — in this city? Apparently, business is good. This Friday, a loose coalition of tattoo artists — from shops like Irezumi, Hearts Anchor, Grimms, Headless Hands, and Rose — gather at the Beaumont Club to celebrate the launch of exploretattoos.com, an online network aimed at connecting ink enthusiasts with information and photos from local skin artists. A smattering of local bands is slated to perform: Now Now Sleepyhead, Hidden Pictures, Maps for Travelers, the Atlantic, and O Giant Man.
Friday, May 11, at the Beaumont Club (4050 Pennsylvania, 816-561-2560)
Spring Into Summer
School's out! Celebrate with a marathon party at the Replay with some Lawrence favorites (and a few KC acts as well). Outside on 10th Street between Massachusetts and New Hampshire, from 4:30 to 10 p.m., see the Recessionists, the Hips, Approach, Fourth of July and Hearts of Darkness. Head inside after to close out the night with JabberJosh, Dry Bonnet, Nature Boys, Mouthbreathers and Up the Academy.
Saturday, May 12, at the Replay Lounge (946 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-749-7676)
Since frontman John McCauley formed Deer Tick back in 2004, the Rhode Island act has made its hay serving up alt-country tunes adorned with a charming, drunken swagger. On last year's Divine Providence, the band made the leap to full-on boozehound bar band: faster, sweatier, and even more overtly inspired by bourbon and Lucky Strikes. There are traces of Exile-era Rolling Stones but also nods to a more modern kind of rock rowdiness, perhaps most apparent in the title of Deer Tick's just-released EP, Tim — a wink and a nod to the Replacements.
Tuesday, May 15, at the Granada (1020 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-842-1390)
A la fellow comedian Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari — the hilarious guy in Parks and Recreation, Scrubs, Human Giant, Funny People and a bunch of other things — is selling his most recent stand-up special, Dangerously Delicious, straight to fans online for $5. He has already moved on to new material, though, which he performs here as part of his "Buried Alive" tour.
Thursday, May 10, at the Midland (1228 Main, 816-283-9921)
Taj Mahal Trio, with Anders Osborne
Worldly bluesman Taj Mahal turns 70 years old May 17. Mere hours before (and, if we're lucky, perhaps well into his birthday), he'll be playing a set at Knuckleheads with his Taj Mahal Trio. Opening is Anders Osborne, a Swedish-born, New Orleans-based darling of the roots-blues scene.
Wednesday, May 16, at Knuckleheads Saloon (2715 Rochester, 816-483-1456)