curated by

 Nolan Gawron

Richard Ashcroft at the House of Blues

March 29

Best known as the voice behind the Verve, Richard Ashcroft has been somewhat hard at work since the band called it quits three different times since 1999. Releasing five records since 2000, Ashcroft is in town to support last year’s great offering, “These People.”

John Oates at the Sinclair

March 29

One half of Hall and Oates, the great John Oates is on a brief book tour and making a special stop at the Sinclair. According to previous reports, the biography talks about how he was not warned by management that his life was more lavish than his bank account, as well as his regrets like shaving his moustache and marrying a model. Riveting stuff. The price of admission includes a copy of his memoir with an opportunity for a personal autograph. There’s no definitive word on whether or not he’ll be playing any songs, but he better be. It’s a rock club for Christ sakes.

Zombies at The Wilbur

March 28

There’s no denying the legacy of the Zombies—but whether or not they put on a good show 50 years later is another question. Back on the road, the Zombies are touring to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Odessey and Oracle, their finest album ever. A few interesting sidenotes, the title of the album was accidently misspelled and never corrected. The record contains classics and deep cuts like “Time of the Season” and “This Will be Our Year,” and while the record would go on to be their magnum opus, it was also their swansong. In fact, the band broke up in 1967, before the record was even released. See them now since you couldn’t catch them in their prime.

Lambchop and Animal Hospital at Brighton Music Hall

March 28

An alt-country/post-country expanding and contracting band that’s been known to have more than 15 members, Lambchop has been at it for over three decades, Their odd vocal stylings are similar to that of a Lee Hazelwood, and even stranger, their most recent release, FLOTUS, presents folk rock ballads with the strange addition of Auto-Tune. It’s worth a listen. It probably wasn’t made to be funny, but some might find it so. But if Kanye’s doing it, why can’t Kurt Wagner. The man is a modest genius. Opening the show is the great one-man band and sometimes 50 guitar collective known as Animal Hospital. Led by Kevin Micka, an occasion member of Neptune, builder/fixer of instruments and Yo La Tengo guitar tech, Animal Hospital is made up of looped electronics, guitars and drums that culminate into a intricate layers of iinstrumental crescendos.

Spirit Family Reunion

March 26

The Space, in conjunction with modig!media, presents an intimate and rollicking Sunday afternoon acoustic performance by Newport Folk Festival favorites Spirit Family Reunion! Honest Music For Dishonest Times. with Special Guests: Dan Blakeslee and Los Goutos Raw, high-energy and a whole lotta heart, it's gonna be a hand-clappin', knee-slappin', foot-stompin' hoot!

Minus the Bear/Beach Slang at Royale

March 26

Minus the Bear have been sculpting creative and experimental indie rock grooves since 2001. Tonight they join Philly punk band Beach Slang whose two recent EPs “Here, I Made This For You” are digital mixtapes of cover songs by everyone from Ride, Modern Lovers and Jesus and Mary Chain to bands you’ve probably never heard of like Adverts, The Candyskins, Dramarama and The Senseless Things. Former Allstonian and Mean Creak member Aurora Ounjian has recently taken over as bassist and we couldn’t be happier for her.

Pants Yell! and Bent Shapes at Atwoods (daytime show)

March 26

Boston’s finest and kindest twee pop band, Pants Yell! returns after years of hiatus for this one-off charity show for the Boston Children’s Hospital. Joining them in this momentous reunion show is the great Bent Shapes, the newest local band, now on Pants Yell!’s former label, Slumberland.

Foxygen at the Paradise

March 25

Maybe you didn’t know, but Foxygen actually began when founder members Jonathan Rado and Sam France were 15-years old and still in high school. Bands like that typically don’t last, but here we are 12 years later and they are signed to the great Jagjaguwar. Their new record, Hang, was released in January and features Steven Drozd of the Flaming Lips, Brian and Michael D’Addario of the newly hyped Lemon Twigs—oh, and a 40-piece orchestra. You’re damn right this is a coming of age record. Let’s see how it plays out live.

At the Drive In at the House of Blues

March 25

After a nasty break up in 2001, the key members of post-hardcore band At The Drive In would go onto form the experimental prog-rock band Mars Volta soon after. With high profile reunion shows in 2012 and the eventual dissolution of Mars Volta, At the Drive In has reformed again. Expect a new record in May and a new beginning to the turbulent, yet triumphant past of one of the first great bands of the 21st century.

Allah-Las at Brighton Music Hall

March 25

The surfy psychedelic and retro sound of the Allah-Las perpetuates that age-old California sound and its sunny pop sensibilities. In a world of copycat garage rock, this band breaks out of those popular sonic restrictions and give us a little more depth to their throwback sound.

Nouvelle Vague at Brighton Music Hall

March 24

A French cover band featuring a multitude of female guest vocalists, Nouvelle Vague have released some seriously good albums featuring some of the 80’s greatest songs done in a laidback lounge style. Nouvelle Vague means “new wave” in French, and those are just the songs you can expect the band to take on.

Fishbone at the Sinclair

March 22

Back in the heyday of ska, most of the popular bands were white and boring. When Fishbone came onto the scene, they changed the game. Adding a punk, funk and Afro element to the scene, they came to define a the genre’s decade with raucous shows and a welcomed chaos that preached a party environment and a non-racist atmosphere. While the band comes through town every now and then, this tour marks the first time the original band has performed in 25 years.

Boston Stands with the ACLU featuring Nada Surf, Juliana Hatfield, Belly, Evan Dando, The Gravel Pit, Bill Janovitz at the Paradise

March 18

This stacked bill is made up of some of Boston’s most important 90’s rock legends-- along with NYC’s Nada Surf. Juliana Hatfield and Evan Dando have quite a history, so be sure to expect some collaboration. He guested on her Blake Babies records and she was an honorary member of the Lemonheads. They played 2 dates together at Great Scott a few years back and the show was devastatingly beautiful. You can also expect Buffalo Tom’s Bill Janovitz and Belly to bring back Boston’s glory days in a special way.

House of Pain at Royale

March 17

It’s never too late to catch House of Pain. I mean, I hope that’s true. Who knows? It’s St. Patrick’s Day, so expect plenty of Shamrocks and Shenanigans.

Colin Hay at the Wilbur

March 17

Men at Work were one of the best bands of the 80’s and certainly one of the best ever from Australia. Lead singer Colin Hay keeps bouncing around the US, keeping up foreign relations and keeping the band’s music alive. I guess the one caveat is that you have to know Colin Hay’s name because he doesn’t throw that (of Men at Work) addendum to his promotional campaign.

Sunn O))) at the Coolidge Corner Theater

March 16

There should be more shows at the Coolidge. There have been a few epic sets there over the years and this one is sure to join them in infamy. I hope there aren’t any movies scheduled around the same time as Sunn O)))’s set, because it will be a rude awakening for anyone snoozing during that slow-moving indie film. Seatlle’s Sunn O))) is heavy as fuck combining drone, sludge and doom metal stylings. Bring some earplugs. They’ll be wearing theirs.

Deafheaven and This Will Destroy You at The Paradise

March 16

Everybody has been creaming their pants to Deafheaven ever since Pitchfork built them a throne and hoisted them onto it with their sophomore record, Sunbather, back in 2013. It allowed non-metal nerds the credentials to wade the waters of heavy fucking music. But they are that good-- and they’re as unifying as they are divisive. Rock kids call them metal and metal purists call them fakes. But that’s old news too. Check out tonight’s openers, This Will Destroy You. Though probably unknown to the common man, the Texas band has been producing great droney, psychedelic sludge for over a decade. After this tour, they’ll hopefully get their due respect from the listening public.

People of the North (featuring Jan St. Werner & Kid Millions) at the Goethe-Institut Boston

March 15

I got tipped off about this secret sonic gem by Kevin Micka of the previously mentioned Animal Hospital. He knows things. He’s in the loop for all sacred musical oddities. Apparently Jan St. Werner of the great German techno duo, Mouse on Mars, is a visiting lecturer at MIT, and has been playing a handful of tiny shows with various guests. Tonight he plays with People of the North featuring Kid Millions and Bobby Matador from Oneida. I can’t stress this enough—this is a special, intimate show with some of the best rock and electro noise artists of our time.

Jens Lekman at Brighton Music Hall

March 15

If you haven’t heard Jens Lekman yet, consider his voice akin to a Swedish Stephin Merritt (of the Magnetic Fields). His recent record bears the amazing title “Life Will See You Now” and was released last month on one of my favorite labels, Secretly Canadian. It’s been 5 years since his last album, but in 2015 he did release a free song every week on his website. That’s pretty damn cool and stylishly prolific.

Deafheaven and This Will Destroy You at The Paradise

March 15

Everybody has been creaming their pants to Deafheaven ever since Pitchfork built them a throne and hoisted them onto it with their sophomore record, Sunbather, back in 2013. It allowed non-metal nerds the credentials to wade the waters of heavy fucking music. But they are that good-- and they’re as unifying as they are divisive. Rock kids call them metal and metal purists call them fakes. But that’s old news too. Check out tonight’s openers, This Will Destroy You. Though probably unknown to the common man, the Texas band has been producing great droney, psychedelic sludge for over a decade. After this tour, they’ll hopefully get their due respect from the listening public.

And the Kids at The Sinclair

March 15

One of the new bands to watch in the welcomed rebirth of the Northampton music scene, And the Kids provide layers of powerful wild female vocals with spastic rhythm changes performed with nonchalance and a lyrical freedom that that harken back to the inception of indie rock. It’s too raucous and powerful to be considered cutesy and too all scattered and bizarre to be easily defined.

Devendra Banhart at Royale

March 12

You know Devendra…. You know, when freak folk was a thing. Now that the hype from a decade ago has died down, the pressure is off and he’s better than ever.

Los Campesinos at The Paradise

March 11

A wordy, witty and intriguing whiny indie post-rock band from Cardiff, Wales, Los Campesinos write intriguing, unraveling tell all tales delivered with a punk sensibility. It’s at times neurotic; it’s emo with a backbone and plenty of clever verbage.

Radio Dept at Brighton Music Hall

March 7

A dreamy pop band from Sweden, these shoegazing Lundians have received critical acclaim worldwide and have even been nominated for a handful of Swedish Grammis (yes, this is a thing and that’s how it is spelled). You may have also unknowingly heard them in Sofia Coppola’s film, Marie Antoinette, where they contributed three tracks.

Bad Boys Club and Rye Pines at Great Scott

March 7

Tonight marks the first ever show for the Bad Boys Club as they make their premiere at Great Scott. Featuring Even Kenney of Dirty Bangs and Ben Vosk, Rob Motes and Nick Mercado of These Wild Plain, Kenney describes the band as “a political hardcore punk band that writes songs that serve as loud shots of musical resistance to the rising tide of hate and fear in America.” That sounds like something the world needs to hear! Add to that the versatile indie pop of local darlings Rye Pines and you have an epic show. Support your local rock band before they get too big and leave.

Robyn Hitchcock at Once Ballroom

March 3

Robyn Hitchcock led the important Cambridge, England band, The Soft Boys from 1976-1981 before venturing into various solo avenues. His life is important enough to be the subject of a documentary by Jonathan Demme in 1998 and another one in 2007 by the Sundance Channel and BBC Channel Four. His bands have included members as diverse as Peter Buck of R.E.M and Bill Rieflin of Ministry. He’s work with John Paul Jones, Gillian Welch and Nick Lowe. In 2012, Hitchcock was asked by Jeff Mangum to perform at the All Tommorrow’s Parties curated by Neutral Milk Hotel. Show some respect.

Flaming Lips at House of Blues

March 3

Arguably one of the greatest live bands of all time, the Flaming Lips psychedelic sideshow is notoriously fun and increasingly freaky. Promoting their recent release, “Oczy Mlody” one should expect the overuse of confetti guns, an intense light show and a moving, life-changing experience that will overpopulate your senses. We’re not exaggerating.

Rikki Lee Jones and Madeleine Peyroux at The Wilbur

March 2

A legendary jazz hepcat and bluesy folk singer, Rikki Lee Jones is a musician’s musican. She dated Tom Waits. Dr. John, Emmylou Harris, Randy Newman and Michael McDonald have all worked with her. Her first album, way back in 1979 won her a Grammy, got her on SNL and put her on the cover of the Rolling Stone. Damn. Jones’ first professional show was actually in Boston. Welcome her back along with a great opener, the French-American jazz-blues chanteuse Madeleine Peyroux.

M. Doughty at Brighton Music Hall

March 2

The former lead singer of the once great and now defunct Soul Coughing, M. Doughty has gone on to a pretty respectable solo career. Soul Coughing was the shit back in the 90’s and early oughts, and their music still stands up. M.’s solo work is a bit kitschier and less edgy, but that’s what kicking heroin will do to a life’s work. It’s still great and his shows are definitely worth the go.


John Doe at Club Passim

February 27

Best known as the leader of decadent, sexy 70’s and 80’s California punk band X, John Doe’s career of solo work has touched on country, funk, punk and folk. Continuing his string of small club shows around town in the past few years, Doe brings his traveling show to Club Passim. His last few shows were at Atwoods and they were intimate and devastating.

Judah Friedlander at Great Scott

February 24-25

Yeah, it’s not music, but it’s gonna be good on the ears and probably very cathartic. Plus it’s at Great Scott. Are you kidding me? Man, they book such great shows in that quaint space! If Judah isn’t a household name for you, you’ll know him as that guy who wears man hats (literally) on 30Rock. He has also has a book of drawings and has new standup special coming soon provocatively titled America is the Greatest Country in the United States.

George Clinton at the House of Blues

February 25

The grandfather of funk, George Clinton was a part of Motown with the clean cut Parliaments before venturing into outer space with Parliament Funkadelic. Perhaps the most important and enduring funk band of all time, their music became source material for almost every important rap artist, provided a bridge between generations and a reference point for all urban music appreciators. Every year P-Funk’s founder, George Clinton, swings by the House of Blues Boston for a special area performance—and he always gives you your money’s worth. There is no one like him, and there never will be.

Run the Jewels at the House of Blues

February 24

Run the Jewels is a hip-hop super duo of sorts. Combining the skills of El-P and Killer Mike, Run the Jewels are that hip hip-hop consortium that carries with it an indie cred that has led them to do strange things like open for Jack White at Madison Square Garden and make a remix record comprised entirely of cat sounds called “Meow The Jewels,” with which all proceeds were donated to charity. In their short career, they’ve played just about every major music festival out there, and last month it was announced that they’ll be playing the next Boston Calling Festival in May.

Big D and the Kids Table at The Paradise

February 24

Big D are a Boston institution and perhaps the last remnants of the Boston ska heyday. While they’ve been quiet for a while with an occasion European run, they’ve got a few North American dates this month.

Ms. Lauren Hill at the Wang

February 23

There’s no denying Ms. Lauren Hill’s beautiful sharp, soulful, raspy voice and the songs that they have produced. But what’s up with the Ms. thing? I guess it differentiates her from other Lauren Hills. I had a crush on one in high school. But back then she would be Ms. Lauren Hill too. Hmm… Anyways, The MLH Caravan: A Diaspora Calling Tour is headed to Boston. According to MLH, “The MLH Caravan allows me to continue the theme of unity and celebration of the many facets of cultural and artistic beauty throughout the African diaspora…. In these days of tension, tumult and transition, an exchange of this kind can yield direction, expression, understanding and empowerment as well as connection, self Love and appreciation that hopefully overflows into our respective communities.” There’s a special guest at every show and this one is still TBA. And don’t worry about that old myth of MLH hating white people. It’s been dispelled over the years. Plus, if she didn’t like white people why would she come to Boston… or Phoenix… or Austin…?

David Duchovny at The Wilbur

February 22

I never cared too much about the X-Files growing up, but after watching all of Californication (twice), I may go back and see what all the fuss was about. Actually, I’m going to start paying more attention everything Duchovny does. I’m going to read his book, and I may even go see him play music tonight at The Wilbur… well, maybe.

GZA at Once Lounge

February 22

This Somerville Restaurant is full of surprises. Led by JJ Gonson, an in-the-scene 90’s photographer who captured the most famous clicks of Nirvana and Elliott Smith is elevating her farm-to-table restaurant venue and booking some amazing live shows. From indie darlings to punk veterans, they’ve been able to book just about everything. But the GZA?! Watch in awe as this prolific member of the Wu Tang Clan hits the suburbs in Somerville.

Keep Standing: A Benefit for the Sacred Stone Defense Fund at State Park

February 22

It’s another installment of great shows to benefit Standing Rock. Tonight Creaturos, our favorite local psychedelic fuzz rockers, will joined by Central Mass’s indie folksters, Town Meeting, Lynn’s swamprocking punk bellowers TigermanWhoa!, and what seems to have become State Park’s house band, These Wild Plains. Get an earload for a good cause.

No Joy at Great Scott

February 21

A shoegazing band from Montreal spearheaded by two female axe-wielding badasses? Yes please! Maybe you’ve heard their three great records on the young and venerable Mexican Summer or maybe you’ve caught them opening for your favorite band one of their many noteworthy tours. Tonight they’re the main attraction as they headline Great Scott.

Dita Von Teese at the House of Blues

February 21

Dancer, actress, model and fashion designer, Dita Von Teese is best known for helping revive the American burlesque scene—well, that and being briefly married to Marilyn Manson. She’s been a staple on “America’s Next Top Model,” has appeared in music videos for Marilyn Manson, Die Antwood, Green Day and Thirty Seconds to Mars-- oh, and strangely enough, despite her 16.5” corseted waistline, has appeared on “Top Chef: Masters,” “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Cupcake Wars.” Tonight Dita stops by on of her “Art of the Teese” Tour in which she performs with a handpicked group of all-star burlesque performers.

Japandroids and Craig Finn at Royale

February 20

Noisy boys with loud toys, Japandroids’ are back to promote a new record -- and it’s big enough to fill the Royale. We’re psyched about this one, but we’re even more stoked to welcome back former Bostonian Craig Finn (he’s lead singer of the Hold Steady if you’ve been out of the loop). Tonight he opens the show as Craig Finn and the Uptown Controllers. Be sure to listen for some sneak previews from his upcoming record We All Want the Same Things due out March 24th. It’s sure to be another great, provocative record of sentimental reverie and commanding transmissions from the crooked path.

Rick Astley at House of Blues

February 18

The following is a strange but story. A true tale of how the internet shapes the life of an artist. Rick Astley was known for his 1987 hit single “Never Gonna Give You Up.” It reached #1 in 25 countries and made him a household name. After that he went the adult contemporary route with some success before “retiring” in 1993 at the ripe old age of 27. Then the unbelievable happened. Known as “rickrolling,” viral Internet memes prompted users to click on a link only to be bombarded with a surprise performance of “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Apparently it was such a popular trick that it’s been viewed hundreds of millions of times. The phenomenon became so popular that on 1 April 2008, YouTube pranked its users by making every single featured video on its front page a rickroll. The prank eventually acted as a tribute and provided the fuel for Astley to come out of retirement. In 2008, he as voted "Best Act Ever" by Internet users at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2008, and his 2016 album, “50” debuted in the UK at No. 1. It’s still unlikely that anyone in Boston knows any of his other songs, but this is a great story nonetheless.

Lemuria at the Sinclair

February 14

I was going to say this is the best thing to come out of Buffalo in awhile… but that wouldn’t be much of an accomplishment. Don’t worry, my family is from there. I can say that. Taking their name from a hypothetical lost land, Lemuria’s pop sensibilities defy their home surroundings. It’s not as dark and dire as their local landscape, but instead a more shimmering indie sound of overlayed boy/girl lyrics. Besides that, the band found a local connection after signing to the primarily punk Boston label, Bridge 9 back in 2011. Despite the fact that they aren’t punks, they’ve played alongside some of the best including Against Me, the Queers and Ted Leo. Tonight they come to town to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their debut album, Get Better.

Eugene Mirman at the Paradise Rock Club

February 11

It wasn’t long ago that Eugene Mirman periodically performed humbly at PA’s Lounge as part of the Union Square Roundtable. We were happy to still have him around, but we knew his stint on “Flight of the Conchords” was just the beginning and we would lose him soon enough. Then of course he landed up in NYC, became a voice on Bob’s Burgers and launched his career into hyperspace. Hopefully he’s stepped up his standup game, or at least come up with some new material. His last few local appearances have been hit or miss.

Upper Crust Great Scott

February 10

When it comes to catchy and kitschy, The Upper Crust takes the cake and eats it too. Local retro rock royalty, the group performs rocking powdered wigs and 18th century aristocratic garb. While the band may seem like Spinal Tap from another century, their wit, attitude and gimmick creates a unique brand of super-retro glam “roque.’ You can’t call a snooty attitude “punk” if you’re wearing a powdered wig. So let’s just classify this as good ole “roque”n roll.

Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson at Thunder Road

February 10

Chicago Blues Legend by way of Mississippi, the 77-year-old Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson now lives in New Hampshire. He played with Magic Sam back in the 60’s, backed Muddy Waters in his touring band throughout the 70’s and won himself a Grammy in the 80’s. You’ve seen him in the Blues Brothers movie playing alongside John Lee Hooker, and tonight you can see him in Somerville at Thunder Road. I’ve been looking for a reason to go there. Tonight is the night!

Lady Lamb at the Sinclair

February 10

I still remember years ago when local legend Billy Ruane jumped on stage mid-set to hype Maine-iac Aly Spaltro at a quiet Sunday show at TT the Bears. That was back when there was a TT the Bears, when Billy was still alive and when Spaltro still went by Lady Lamb and the Bee Keeper. Lady Lamb was one of the favorite new acts of the local scenester and musical philanthropist and her career took off quickly after. Originally from Brunswich, Maine, Spatro signed to Ba Da Bing back in 2013 and of course moved to Brooklyn to cultivate her career.

Dhafer Youssef at Berklee Performance Center

February 9

The oud is a pear-shaped stringed instrument with 11 or 13 strings and Dhafer Youssef is known as one of the most inventive oud musicians in the world. Combining traditional Sufi music with world and jazz and Arabic lyricism, Youssef performs alongside piano, bass, and drums to create epic musical journeys. Tonight marks his Boston debut as he tours the world in support of his new record, Diwan of Beauty and Odd.

Suuns at the Middle East

February 9

Dark, undulating, pulsating synths set against frail, distant and disenchanted vocals?! Yes please. I love you Montreal music scene.

Drive-By Truckers at Royale

February 9

The Drive-By Truckers have always been a Southern band playing Southern Rock, but they’ve managed to do so without all of those southern stereotypes. With a new album advocating for gun control and touching on race relations, it’s a far cry from the NRA, KKK and Rebel Flag rousers that come out to Skynyrd shows. Embrace that southern fried sound and the progressive ideals that come along with it.

Red Hot Chili Peppers at The Garden

February 7 and 8

I don’t care who you are. At some point you liked the Red Hot Chili Peppers. At some point they played a significant role in your listening history. Yeah they faked their Super Bowl set and have had a pretty poor run of recent albums, but the RHCP were once great… and probably still are. Whether you were on board early with their funked up Freaky Styley and The Uplift Mofo Party Plan or you got hip to Mother’s Milk and the great Blood Sugar Sex Magic, the Peppers had something for everything. Plus, they were smart enough and gracious enough to tap Trombone Shorty to open their tour. Apparently they’re still hip to the sounds of the underground.

Allison Crutchfield at Great Scott

February 7

There’s some real music making DNA running through the Crutchfield bloodline. Allison’s twin sister, Katie, heads the fantastic Waxahatchee, while Allison just stepped out on her own with her recent debut, Tourist in This Town. Released on the always great Merge records, Allison, with the help of Jeff Zeigler and his arsenal of analog synths, seems to have found her own voice in the family battle of the bands.

Delicate Steve at the Middle East

February 4

What began a bedroom recording project for multi-instrumentalist Steve Marion quickly turned into a hyped indie darling backed by a fake lengthy legend penned by famous jerk essayist and fake journalist Chuck Klosterman. Still, many of us weren’t paying attention to the silly stunt and still love Delicate Steve for his autonomous releases and his otherwise humble demeanor (see his aforementioned stagename). His recent release This is Steve was released in January on Anti- records. That means he’s important people. He’s on a label with Nick Cave and Tom Waits! Jeezus.

No Hope/No Harm at O’Brien’s Pub

February 3

Back in the day there was a Morrissey-obsessed band known as the Good North led by the super Morrissey-obsessed Luke O’Neil. Luke would eventually go on to become a famous writer and journalist, putting a temporary hold on his musical output. Now he’s back with a new project No Hope/No Harm. Together with the great Aaron Perrino (The Sheila Divine/Dear Leader), O’Neil and Co. have released two singles and are set to play their first live show tomorrow night at O’Brien’s. Oh yeah, and the name is another Morrissey reference. It’s gonna be good folks.


Tim Presley at the Middle East

January 31

He once led the bands Darker My Love and White Fence and has even collaborated with (generational buzz word) Ty Segall. And while none of those bands were from Boston, Tim Presley has always been an honorary member of the scene. He even lended his artwork to the great Lot Six’s swansong LP Get Baked on Youth Culture. Tonight he’s upstairs at the Middle East with Jesse Gallagher (Apollo Sunshine) and his super, semi-famous deejay friend Edan.

Cloud Nothings at The Paradise

January 31

From the lo-fi beginnings of their self-titled debut and to the Steve Albini treatment for Attack on Memory and their poppish-punkish Here and Nowhere Else, Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings keep moving ahead while their catchy pop hooks continue to link their catalogue together. On Life Without Sound, released last month, Dylan Baldi and company are at their most introspective and contemplative. And their shows are always worth the trip.

The Last Waltz at the Orpheum Theater

January 28

Last year a supergroup of musicians converged at the New Orleans Jazz Fest to honor and celebrate the 40th anniversary of “The Last Waltz,” the star-studded, well-documented final show for The Band. After its astounding success and positive reviews, the Last Waltz resurrection crew is taking their show on the road for a handful of US dates. Led by Warren Haynes and featuring Michael McDonald, John Medeski, Jamey Johnson, George Porter, Jr., Dave Malone, Don Was (Was Not Was), Ivan and Cyril Neville (Neville Brothers), Lukas Nelson (POTR), Mark Mullins (Bonerama, Harry Connick Jr), Bobby Campo (LeRoux), and Bob Margolin who actually played with Muddy Waters in the original Last Waltz, the list of musicians is pretty good, albeit not as great as the original 1976 concert which featured Bob Dylan, Paul Butterfield, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Ringo Starr, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, Ronnie Wood, Neil Diamond, Bobby Charles, The Staple Singers, Eric Clapton, and, oh yeah, The Band.

The World is a Beautiful Place and I’m No Longer Afraid to Die at the Middle East Upstairs

January 27

I’ll always buy a record with a good cover and I’ll always give a chance to a band with a good name. That’s how I’ve discovered some of my favorite bands. So, obviously when I saw this listed, I had to listen up. Straight outta Willimantic, CT, the band combines a punkish folk with some decent story telling. If you like affecting lyricists like Deer Tick or Delta Spirit, you’ll probably dig this.

Mogwai at Berklee Performance Center

January 27

So, you wanna get stoned, eh? Mogwai were the soundtrack to smoking in the late 90’s and early ought’s. Soft, slow, ambient, experimental, shoegaze, post-rock, emotional psychedelic from Glasgow, Mogwai’s dynamic decibel range and arsenal of guitars paint their moody masterpieces and lengthy cinematic compositions with some amazing textures. Tonight the band performs selections from their soundtrack to “Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise.” Premiering last year on BBC Four the film is made up entirely of archive film to explore the horrors of our nuclear times. Oh, nevermind. Maybe it’s not the best Mogwai show to be stoned for.

Joan of Arc at Great Scott

January 27

Joan of Arc were the coolest thing going back in 1999. They had the hottest girls at their shows. They all had died black hair and looked like they knew how to party. It was intimidating; it was beautiful. But they weren’t there to see me; they were there to see Joan of Arc. Experimental, sometimes funny, literary and very proficient in their jazzy-indie compositions, the band was the pride of Jade Tree records and centered itself around the musings of songwriter Tim Kinsella. Featuring a rotating cast of likeminded musicians and Chicago scenesters, basically everyone who came in and out of the band already had their own band… or would go on to start one.

Tokyo Police Club at The Sinclair

January 25

Tokyo Police Club are that next step after realizing the Strokes are no longer good. Without that NYC privilege, these Ontario blokes still have that hint of apathy and snotty delivery of common place lyrics, but it’s all wrapped up in catchy, driving, almost dance-y, guitar/keys forward rhythms. Oh it should be noted, their recent EP is entitled “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Radness.” Yup. I know.

Adam Ant at the Wilbur

January 24

Adam Ant once had 8 singles in the Top 40 in the same week. He was voted Sexiest Man Alive by MTV. But that was in the 1980’s heading his band Adam and the Ants. Quickly starting up a solo career and spending a few stints in the looney bin following a few violent outbursts like throwing a carburetor through a pub window while wielding a WWII-era pistol. Taking some time off Ant released an auto-biography, began playing small underground shows and events as big as last year’s Isle of Wright Festival with the Who and Iggy Pop. This year marks the 35th anniversary of his seminal “Kings of the Wild Frontier” which will see a proper reissue and a tour to the US. Look at all the recent photos of Adam and he looks like Johnny Depp dressed in his pirate gear. We’re into it.

Downbeat Mondays at The Sinclair

January 23

Coming off of a successful long-lasting residency at the Plough and Stars, Downbeat Mondays has found a new home at the Sinclair. Organized by guitarist Matthew Stubbs, occasional guitarist for Charlie Musselwhite, Stubbs heads and performs with his instrumental band, The Antiguas. Showcasing his atmospheric fuzz, blues, garage guitar stylings, Stubbs summons the heyday of instrumental music beckoning the ghosts of Link Wray and Duane Eddy.

Lyle Lovett at The Wilbur

January 22

A great country singer/songwriter, Lyle Lovett is one of the last of the old guard unfortunately overshadowed by a genre headed by a horrendous new breed of country vocalists characterized by poor lyric choices sung by anyone with a twang. In his spare time, Lovett moonlights as an actor—or a musician who appears in films. Yeah, we know, he’s a strange looking dude-- but if Julia Roberts was married to him, then it speaks volumes for his music.

Bash and Pop at Great Scott

January 21

Ex-Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson formed Bash and Pop immediately after their breakup. They performed from 1992-94 until Stinson scrapped the project and went on to join Perfect and eventually Guns n Roses. When the Replacements reunited a few years back, Tommy was there. Now that they’re defunct again, Bash and Pop is back in business. History repeats itself. Their second album, “Anything Could Happen” comes out this week. It’s their second, and their first in 25 years.

Lemon Twigs at Great Scott

January 20

A duo of brothers from Long Island, The Lemon Twigs have created quite a buzz about them. The melodic jangly pop found on their debut “Do Hollywood” was released on the great 4AD and garnered more than a few positive words from critics. Hell, it even jarred Sir Elton John enough to call them his favorite new band. I’m definitely not going that far, but you have to admit, there must be something there if it summoned the great Elton from his crotchety rocker. Most of their big city shows are already sold out, so prepare for this small suburban show in advance. You know the kids are all about the buzz bands.

Public Access TV at Great Scott

January 19

Public Access is another one of those NYC bands that makes it big in London, gets coddled by NME, thereby sending their career down a prosperous path with the rest of the world quickly catching on. For some reason the British press always discover American bands before we do. Weird, don’t you think? Anyhow, Public Access TV had already done Governor’s Ball and Bonnaroo before their debit record even hit stores. Weird, don’t you think? While the band spent the end of last year touring the country that gave them their start, they’re headed back to the States to show their native people what they were so slow to appreciate. Call it New Wave… many have. Call it post punk… many have. Call it whatever you want. It’s pretty damn catchy. Thanks London.

Plaid at The Sinclair

January 19

When IDM mattered most, Plaid was there on the forefront of the scene. The British duo signed to Warp Record joining a like-minded artists like Autechre, Boards of Canada and Squarepusher and would land up remixing artists like Bjork, Goldfrapp and Red Snapper. Their syncopated rhythms and various time signatures ranged from soothing downtempo electro to dark, Detroit-inspired techno. Their eighth record, “The Digging Remedy” was released last year. Hope for some dancing, but expect some light swooning and headnodding—it is Boston.

Dean Ween Group at the Sinclair

January 17

From their early amateur lo-fi oddities to their eventual expert psychedelic mastery, Ween’s career spans over three decades. With humor, whimsy and skill, the band emulated just about every genre known to man and created their own strange esoteric world of cult followers and appreciators (chalk me down as one of them). Fake brothers related only by their stage names, Gene was the vocal manipulator and back up guitarist while Dean provided their guitar prowess while lending some backup vocals. After 9 very different albums and a legacy of legendary live shows, the band would eventually call it quits prompting both Dean Ween and Gene Ween to start their own separate side projects. While they reunited for some epic and super-fun shows this past year, the band is back on indefinite downtime. In the meantime, the Dean Ween Group is back on the road, touring in support of his (not-so-humbly named) solo album, “The Deaner Record.” Also known by his given name, Mickey Melchiondo, the man in question has also performed with Queens of the Stone Age, Mark Lanegan, The Moistboyz and Yoko Ono. Expect a decadent show culling from both his solo project and the Ween catalogue.

godheadSilo at Brighton Music Hall

January 14

Your favorite two-piece from Fargo, North Dakota, godheadSilo joined the bourgeoning indie scene in Olympia, Washington and released records on the venerable Kill Rock Stars label and eventually with the even bigger Sub Pop. Their stoner, noise rock and sludge metal came to a questionable end in 1998 when Dan Haugh had an accident which resulted in doctors telling him he’d never drum again. He proved them wrong playing his first reunion show in 2015. Now, the band has decided to do ten shows this month. Who knows if there’ll be another chance to witness them live. Get at it.

Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven at the Middle East

January 14

Very few bands break up, form a new band and then get the old band back together and tour together under the same bill. But that’s just what David Lowery did with Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven for the past decade plus. If your memory is shot, Camper Van Beethoven were the DIY pop, ska, punk, alt-country band that brought you witty tracks like “Take the Skinheads Bowling.” When they broke up in 1990, Cracker took over releasing hit songs like “Low” (remember that video with Sandra Bernhardt?) and “Euro-Trash Girl. Both bands return to their venue of choice, Middle East, tonight.

The Amazing Jonathan at the Wilbur Theater

January 13

John Edward Szeles, better known by his stage name, The Amazing Jonathan is a magician and comic. If that doesn’t scare you from the start, Szeles also proclaims himself as the “Freddy Krueger of Comedy”. But wait, it gets weirder. Szeles who has appeared on Comedy Central and in the 2005 documentary, “The Aristocrats” was also big in Vegas until a serious heart condition caused him to step down from residency. A few years ago he sadly told the world he didn’t have much more time to live. Thankfully he’s still at it. Get it while you can.

Emo Night with Luke O’Neil at The Sinclair

January 12

Hosted by Esquire’s Writer at Large, Luke O’Neil, Emo Night is a chance for people to wear their hearts on their sleeve while shaking out their feelings on the dance floor… and occasionally taking in a live set from a handpicked band with likeminded leanings. The twice-a-month shindig won “Best Music Night” at the Boston Music Awards and always packs a crowd. Party like it’s 1999-- when you locked yourself in your room with your records.

Guster at the Paradise

January 12-15

Tufts University dorm room rock gone good, Guster is celebrating 25 years as a band with a four-day blowout at the Dise. If you know them, you may love them. If you don’t know them, it’s probably too late. Opening the shows are acts as diverse as Steven Page (of the Barenaked Ladies… yeah, I know… right) to the great Northampton band, And the Kids, to the intruiging folk singer and author Wesley Stace (aka John Wesley Harding).

Steve Gunn & Lee Ranaldo at Somerville Armory

January 10

The Armory is a beautiful place to watch a show, but often their events go under the radar. Let’s not let that happen tonight. With Steve Gunn and Lee Ranaldo co-headlining a stellar bill, the former backing guitarist for Kurt Vile joins the indie/punk/poet stalwart of Sonic Youth for an intimate night featuring two of the most important experimental guitarists of the status quo. While Steve Gunn has been known to summon the magical ghosts of John Fahey, Lee Ranaldo has paved his own road backing Sonic Youth with alternative tunings, melodic noise and poetic lyrics—not to mention his own solo records after SY’s demise. If you miss this, you’re dumb.

Heroes with DJ Chris Ewen at Machine

January 7

Chris Ewen is no stranger to the Boston music scene. Together with Stephen Merritt and Claudia Gonson of the Magnetic Fields, Ewen records for Merge Records under the moniker Future Bible Heroes. More often though, he runs a Goth deejay night called “Heroes.” First popular at the long gone Man Ray nightclub, then at the recently defunct TT the Bears, Ewen’s venues keep disappearing, but he continues to find a home for his loyal following. Check him out as he kicks out the jams at the goth/fetish friendly Machine.

Squirrel Nut Zippers at the Sinclair

January 6

Named after the candy once made in Cambridge, the Squirrel Nut Zippers got their start in Carrboro, North Carolina and were an integral part of the swing scene of the mid-late 1990’s. But the Nut Zippers were more than that, playing Klezmer, Delta Blues, and gypsy jazz, they were always guilty after a passing fad association. After taking some time off in the early 2000’s, the core of the band regrouped and continues to spice things up for retro revelers all around.

Entombed at Once Ballroom

January 6

The Swedish death metal band, once known as Nihilist, would eventually alter their sound and change their name to Entombed. After taking on a “death ‘n’ roll” sound (whatever the fuck that is) and a “groove metal” detour (again, what the fuck is that?), Entombed estranged many of their death metal faithful, of course making them all the more popular. At it since 1987, Entombed still slay… unless you’re from the Netherlands where your nuanced sound gets you disenfranchised from death metal purists.

Big Thief at Brighton Music Hall

January 6

From airy to urgent, Adrianne Lenker’s vocals pop when they should and provoke when they need to. One of the newest signings by the reverent Saddle Creek, this is often more rocking than the label’s founder (Bright Eyes), but sometimes just as fragile. Plus, what a bold choice for a debut album title… “Masterpiece”

january CHEATERS

Boston Pops do “Back to the Future” at Symphony Hall

December 30-31

Travel back in time with the Stephen Spielberg classic “Back to the Future,” as the Boston Pops celebrate the cult classic’s 30 anniversary. Enjoy the film in HD while Constantine Kitsopoulos conducts the Pops as they perform the live soundtrack to the film and include 20 minutes of additional music specially written for the event.

Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ Hometown Throwdown at House of Blues

December 28-30

One of the hottest tickets of the year for the past 18, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones Hometown Throwdown brings the local punk/ska stalwart heroes back home for a multi-night stint between the holidays. Never forget where you came from. They never did. People come from all around the world for these shows. You don’t have to travel so far. Show your respect.

Kurt Vile Royale

December 30

EVERYBODY’s hip to Kurt Vile’s game at this point. Roll into a restaurant, his music is playing. Go to your buddy’s house… it’s on. It could be the most universally accepted sound in indie rock in the past decade. It’s pretty good, I guess.

Dub Apocalypse at the Sinclair

December 29

The areas best live dub act, Dub Apocalypse holds down a weekly home at Bull McCabes’ in Somerville. You’ll know they’re playing when the weed smoke billows down Somerville Ave toward Union Square. Tonight the band does a one-off at the Sinclair, sharing the stage with Roots of Creation and The Void Union.

The Roots at House of Blues

December 26

At this point, what’s left to say? The Roots are, and always have been, the coolest hip-hop group in the game. Despite having day jobs on the Jimmy Fallon show, they somehow still find the time to take their show on the road. And what a show it is. Hip-hop shows are traditionally terrible. The Roots, however, never disappoint.

Andrea Bocelli at TD Garden

December 17

When I started writing this I thought I was going to comment on class and how cultured folks appreciate opera. Then I heard that Andrea Bocelli is scheduled to sing at Trump’s inauguration. I mean, is he blind to the lies?! Oh, right. Oops. Discovered by Pavarotti, who received a demo tape from him for a specific project, the two became quick collaborators. Blinded at age 12, Bocelli got his start in the early 1990’s, and since has received worldwide acclaim. I mean he’s playing the Garden?! Fresh on the heels of his recent released “Cinema” and “Turandot,” expect Bocelli to pull out his old Christmas classics as well. The Garden may be the downright worst venue as far as acoustics go, but the powerful operatic Italian tenor is sure to reach you in the nosebleed section. But then again, fuck him. Check out the #BoycottBocelli feeds on twitter. Pretty great.

Paul Oakenfold at Royale

December 16

Well, yeah. This is happening too. Get your glow sticks.

Hallelujah the Hills at Great Scott

December 16

Local indie heroes HTH have been making some of the best local music for over a decade. Holy crap those last ten years went by quick. In that time they’ve collaborated with the Silver Jews, Titus Andronicus and even Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Led by the bookish, literary vocals and catchy hooks of Ryan Walsh and backed by an arsenal of instrumentation, HTH only get better with age.

Street Dogs do Wreck the Halls at the Brighton Music Hall

December 15-18

Led by former Dropkick Murphy’s singer Mike McColgan, the Street Dogs have always been a local mouthpiece for working class punk rockers. Over the next four days, the Dogs will be hosting their 11th annual “Wreck The Halls” concerts along with the New Darkbuster. Taking song requests, promising special guests and donating all of the proceeds to the Where Angels Play Foundation, these goodhearted tough guys are bringing their punk anthem sing-alongs to the Brighton Music Hall for all their hometown fans and friends.

Holiday Pops at Symphony Hall

December 15 through December 31

You live in a city that is home to one of the greatest symphony orchestras in the world. Get some culture! And get in the Christmas spirit while you’re at it! A holiday tradition dating back to 1973, the Boston Pops are celebrating the season with a month of shows including matinees for the children, visits from Santa and symphonic holiday favorites. Led by Keith Lockhart, celebrating his 21st year as conductor of the Pops, the orchestra brings holiday cheer to the masses once again.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Third Thursday Series: "Cozy Up" with DJ Brian Keigher (DJ Warp!)

December 15

Go COZY UP with music, a drink and some friends at the amazing indoor garden and courtyards at the historic, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's Third Thursday series on December 15, starting at 5:30pm until 9:30 pm. Chicago music transplant DJ Warp (aka Brian Keigher), along with special guest viola player, Dominic Johnson will pair up for a special night of lush music in the garden featuring downtempo, ambient and fluttering abstract beats fused with classical and Indian music and live viola.

Barrington Levy and Mighty Mystic at the Paradise

December 15

One of Jamaica’s biggest reggae stars, Barrington Levy has been at it since 1976. In the 1990’s he acquired a newfound popularity by working with Snoop Dogg, Bounty Killer, The Long Beach All Stars and Prince Paul, but its his early hits like “Mary Long Tongue", "In the Dark", "Too Poor", "I Have a Problem", "Even Tide Fire a Disaster", "I'm Not in Love", "You Have It", "Love of Jah", "Under Mi Sensi", "Tomorrow Is Another Day", "Robberman", "Black Roses", "My Woman" and "Money Move" that will come to define his legacy. Opening the show tonight is Mighty Mystic. I hadn’t heard of him until I witnessed his multiple sets at Anguilla’s Moonsplash Festival a few years back. He stole the show-- and after meeting him on the beach the next day, I was surprised to find out he’s actually from Somerville!

Thievery Corporation at House of Blues

December 13

One of the most important and long-lasting downtempo duos in the history of electronic music, the Thievery Corporation have been at it for more than 20 years. Founded by Rob Garza and Eric Hilton in Washington, DC, the two fuse dub, bossa nova, acid jazz, reggae, Indian and Middle Eastern music to come up with their desired musical textures. The band alternates between DJ sets and a live band. There is no word yet on what will happen tonight, but it’s gonna be good!

Psychic TV at Brighton Music Hall

December 10

One of the strangest rock n roll stories out there, Psychic TV was born out of former members of the bands Throbbing Gristle and Alterative TV. As visual and performance artists, Genesis P-Orridge and Peter Christopherson have been called the pioneers of early industrial music. But no one could have guessed what came after. Over their career they took on just about every facet of music. From pop whims, folk, psych and Eastern musics, all the way to acid house and being commissioned to create music for ballet, Psychic TV was an ongoing, evolving multimedia experiment that culled from the occult. P-Orridge even linked up with Timothy Leary and accompanied him to lectures in the early 1990’s. Stranger still, after P-Orridge fell in love with Lady Jaye Breyer, the two began their Pandrogeny project undergoing cosmetic surgeries to look like one another. At this point P-Orridge would go by s/he and even received breast implants. While Lady After Lady Jaye passed away, P-Orridge decided to retire from music and focus on art, but returned to recording and performing as Psychic TV this year. You want this Cliff’s Notes? Don’t miss this show!

Mike Gordon at the Sinclair

December 9-11

Let’s see… do we mention Mike Gordon? Will it kill our credibility? I mean most people saw Phish at some point. Now we have to pretend like we never did? Or if it we did, that it was by some freak accident? Well in my case it was because of a girl. Should we be embarrassed by being recovering hippies with nostalgic longing? Oh, wait… it’s sold out. Every single night. Nevermind. We won’t mention it. Problem solved. I bet no matter what you think about Mike Gordon or Phish, the nearest parking lot would be a great place to seek out avenues of mind expansion.

Major Stars at O’Brien’s

December 9

The psychedelic majesty of Major Stars has been an integral part of the Massachusetts music community for 20 years. While the guitar-wielding pair of Kate Biggar and Wayne Rogers closed their influential underground record store/label Twisted Village, they still shred on stage and on record. With the bombastic drumming of Casey Keenan, Tom Leonard on bass and new member Noelle Dorsey delivering ethereal vocals that melt seamlessly into the heavy handed psych rock, Major Stars will be presenting their latest release, “Motion Set.” Check them out tonight and buy their stellar new record, out now on the venerable Drag City Records.

Matt Pond PA at Great Scott

December 8

After spending years in Philly recording and performing under the Matt Pond PA monike, Matt moved to Brooklyn, left much of his band behind and dropped the PA from his name. But the music and his musings never stopped. Somber songs sung with soaring vocals are set to uptempo rhythms and lush backdrops. Wanna know why Pitchfork sucks? Read their reviews of his records. They hate him. They have a personal vendetta with him. He must have stolen their girlfriends. Despite some lowbrow “industry” hatred, Matt Pond has persevered, and even recently added the PA at the end of his name. No word on if this means he’s gotten the old band back together.

Downtown Boys at the Middle East

December 8

Self-described as a “bi bilingual political dance sax punk party from Providence,” the Downtown Boys aren’t a boy band at all. In fact, it’s the fierce vocals of Victoria Ruiz that highlight the bands dedication to leftist, sometimes radical calls for social and political change. Come hear the doctrine in person.

Boston Music Awards at House of Blues

December 8

Bands are always on the fence about the BMA’s—and they’re especially cynical when they don’t get nominated. Regardless, we need to honor our local luminaries before they ship off to somewhere else. And maybe this notoriety and appreciation is all they need to stick around. After bouncing around from venue to venue, this year’s local awards soiree has found a new home at the House of Blues. Besides announcing the winners of all 32 categories, the ceremony will feature performances by Air Traffic Controller, The Ballroom Thieves, Bearstronaut, Contact, The Hotelier, Julie Rhodes, Kyle Bent, Lady Pills, Michael Christmas, Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz, Shun Ng and the Shunettes, Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys, DJ Knife and Leah V.

Twin Peaks and Together Pangea at The Sinclair

December 7

From janky, jangly garage rock, slacker balladry and poppy punk (in a good way), Chicago’s Twin Peaks pull it off by putting it all together in a one nice diverse package. This year’s release “Down in Heaven” is one of the year’s best surprises and something everyone should give a listen to. Also on the bill is Califonia’s Together Pangea. Purveyors of energetic rock with a punk sensibility, the band once known simply as Pangea, create quite a racket when they’re on stage. They once played the Burger Records party at SXSW unannounced and stole the show and won my heart as the best set of the fest. I’m sure they’ve only gotten better.

Richard Buckner at Atwood’s Tavern

December 7

Richard Buckner has the perfect well-worn, dusty voice of a lo-fi country-folk troubadour. And while he primarily performs and records solo, his music is fleshed out with technology and looped guitars. His show at Atwoods will be his most intimate gathering in town in a very long time and shouldn’t be missed. The tiny bar is booked by a pro and the dim lights, small stage and wooden backdrop make for a perfect setting.

Puddles Pity Party at Sinclair

December 6

I was intrigued by the name. Now I’m frightened. Decked out in clown regalia, Puddles has become known as the “Sad Clown with the Golden Voice.” Covering modern day classics with a striking operatic reach. He’s famous on the internet and his Pity Parties have been performed all over the world. See what all the tears are about tonight at the Sinclair.


Michael Kiwanuka at Royale Nightclub

November 29

He may only have two records to his name, but Michael Kiwanuka’s sound seems like he’s been around the block a few times. A wonderful surprise coming out of the UK, MK’s sound takes us back to yesteryear with a refreshing throwback soul as pure as Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and Bill Withers. Come and bear witness to the man at the forefront of the next generation of soul music.

Fruit Bats at the Middle East Downstairs
November 28
After 16 years and five records as Fruit Bats, Eric D. Johnson decided to retire the name in 2013. Continuing to make music, the multi-instrumentalist, and former member of Califone and the Shins, stayed busy scoring films and released a solo album under his initials EDJ in 2014. But it wasn’t long before Johnson realized how much weight remained in the name of his previous project. Now, back with an amazing new record, “Absolute Loser,” Johnson has returned as Fruit Bats and has won over the hearts of fans and critics… again.

Andrew WK at The Paradise
November 28
Party til You Puke.

STRFKR at Royale
November 27
In other all caps, abbreviated band name show news, the group formerly known as Starfucker (and a whole bunch of other names) is back with their catchy pop, dance anthems. Named as a joke, the band was hard to overlook with such a boisterous moniker (people just love the word “fuck”) and garnered a following and a reputation big enough to put them in several TV shows and commercials.

Arturo Sandoval at Scullers
November 26
Cuban jazz trumpeter, pianist and composer, Arturo Sandoval has released nearly 50 albums since 1975. He was known to play impromptu shows in the Caribbean with Stan Getz, and was beloved by the late Dizzy Gillespie. HBO made a film about his life. Obama awarded him the Medal of Freedom. Must we go on? What a great chance to stop by Scullers, the extremely intimate jazz venue located in the DoubleTree hotel.

Alejandro Escovedo with Jesse Malin at Brighton Music Hall
November 25
Mexican-American singer/songwriter Alejandro Escovedo is a musician’s musician. Even if you don’t know who he is, it doesn’t matter because anyone who’s anyone among the country folk greats is an admirer. The venerable magazine, No Depression even went as far as naming him “Artist of the Decade” in the 1990s. Catch him tonight as D Generation’s Jesse Malin performs songs from his great, great solo career that has seen some solid releases over the past 15 years.

PWR BTTM at Once Ballroom
November 23
If the name seems a little gay, that’s because it’s supposed to be. The queercore duo from Brooklyn via Bard College are crafty songwriters singing about relationships and poignant takes on day-to-day life. Don’t be fooled, the commanding capital letters are a bit tongue-in-cheek as most of their songs are frail, bare bones and stripped down. Performing in drag, PWR BTTM are said to put on quite a show. See them now, so you can say brag to all your friends that you knew them before they were famous.

King Khan at Brighton Music Hall
November 23
King Khan has already amassed a royal following. Whether performing as a the psychedelic soul 9-piece band, The Shines, by himself as King Khan & The BBQ, working with the GZA, or with members of Black Lips as the Almighty Defenders, King Khan seems like he’s on an eternal tour. Berlin by way of Montreal, Arish Ahmad Khan is known for his outrageous and sometime obscene stage antics (reference point: sticking his bare bottom in Lindsey Lohan’s face during a show in the south of France) and his elaborate costumes (or lack their of). One of the best and most intriguing garage bands out there, there’s more to this guy than the distorted jingle-jangle.

Jonathan Richman at the Middle East Upstairs
November 23-26
Jonathan Richman is the unofficial ambassador to Massachusetts. Even though he left long ago, his legacy only grows. There was even a movement to make his 1972 classic “Roadrunner” the state song. The enigmatic songwriter put a halt to the initiative, however, making him all the more intriguing. From his slack, poppy punk roots with the Modern Lovers to his continually evolving (or devolving) solo career which has seen country records and records en espanol to his strange interlude narration in “Something About Mary,” you couldn’t pin Richman’s sound down if you tried. It’s almost like he’s playing a joke on the world-- and we’re all attentively listening along. Assumedly the Natick native will be back in town for Thanksgiving as he plays his yearly multi-day stint at the intimate Middle East Upstairs.

Nobunny at the Middle East Upstairs
November 20
Purveying chewy, jangly, bubblegum-garage pop, Tucson’s Nobunny has been an underground sensation recording with the best of the best indie labels. With records on the venerable Goner Records, the always wonderful Burger Records and Jack White’s Third Man Records, Nobunny ranks well with good company and his performances involve dressing and undressing in a variety of strange gear—including bunny masks… obviously.

Letters to Cleo at the Paradise
November 19 & 20
The 1990’s were a time when bands from Boston could make it without moving to Brooklyn-- and Letters to Cleo were one of those bands. While they “made it” somewhere in the middle of their career in a time when radio rock still had the ability to be cool, LTC’s fame flame would eventually burn out in 2000. Leader Kay Hanley would go on to a solo career and record music for movies, cartoons-- even backing Miley Cyrus on tour in her early days as Hannah Montana. In one of the most unique comeback sagas, Hanley appeared on the last season of “Parks and Recreation” playing a concert in the fictional town Pawnee. Adam Scott played a superfan, wore a Letters to Cleo Tshirt-- and in time sparked a united call for a reunion. See, TV can do good things.

Caspian with Appleseed Cast at Royale
November 18
The undisputed greatest post-rock band to hail from Beverly, and probably also the best in the whole state, Caspian has championed on after the shocking death of their bass player Chris Friedrich a few years back. Their latest record “Dust and Disquiet” was released last year commemorating their ten-year anniversary as a band. Tonight they join emo-pioneers, the Appleseed Cast, in a big hometown show at the Royale.

Pile at Great Scott
November 17
Thank you Pile for being yet another great Boston band to garner any sort of popularity and immediately move to Brooklyn. Good luck. Is this not a fucking cliché by now? Surely Brooklyn must be filled with all ex-Massholes by know. Well, anyways, we wish you well. We love you. We always have. And we can’t wait for your homecoming tonight at our favorite locals-move-to-Brooklyn safehouse, Great Scott.

Hoots and Hellmouth at Atwoods
November 17
Hoots and Hellmouth began as a Philly bluegrass band often in-tow with Dr. Dog when they started seeing the beginnings of indie stardom. Today, H&H still deliver the same energetic punk/folk/roots, but have continued to evolve in sound adding a slower soulful balladry to their repertoire.

Holy Wave at the Mideast Upstairs
November 17
Dreamy, psych, shoegaze, surf rock from Austin, Texas, Holy Wave brought us a divine offering this past March via the The Reverberation Appreciation Society label. The softest and most delicate of garage rock, Holy Wave also bring with them some amazing song titles. Listen live for tracks like “California Took My Bobby Away” and “Sir Isaac Nukem.”

Atmosphere at House of Blues
November 17
Formed in Minneapolis way back in 1989, Atmosphere is a collaboration between rapper Slug and DJ/producer Ant. With 11 albums of storytelling rap focusing on the dark sides of female and family relationships and general depression, Atmosphere’s 11 records are far from your everyday MC rants about indulgence and money—and that’s what makes them so refreshing. They’ve collaborated with Blackmoon, KRS-ONE, CunninLynguists, Aesop Rock, DoseOne, , X-Ecutioners, DJ Vadim, El-P and dozens of others. After a career of intriguing and provocative album names, their recent release is entitled “Fishing Blues,” which, in it’s simplicity, may be the most intriguing title yet.

Jim James at Royale
November 16
Now that Trump has been proclaimed the next president, Jim James is in quite a predicament—well, we all are. After releasing his politically charged record and doing all he can to persuade people to vote for peace and love, the man best known for his work in My Morning Jacket won’t be making a victory lap. Surely, the message remains the same and his humanistic vision will heal some of the hurt we all feel.

Dillinger Escape Plan: Paradise Rock Club
November 16
One of the hottest, most sought after tickets of the month, DEP sold out in a matter of minutes. The mathcore (wow! Genre descriptors have really gone too far) band from Jersey released their swansong, “Dissociation” in October and announced this would not only be their last release, but also their final tour. Get in if you can. Their live shows are notoriously outrageous, and surely they’ve saved their most outlandish antics for this last go round.

Stevie Nicks with The Pretenders at TD Garden
November 15
Stevie Nicks and Chrissie Hynde are two of the most badass women in rock history and they’ve never taken a break. Tonight they perform on the same stage in one of the greatest retro bills in recent years. If all goes well, tonight should sound like an epic highlight reel of retro radio rock.

Jim James at Royale
November 15
One of the best songwriters, guitarist and voices in modern times, Jim James may be best known as the lead singer of My Morning Jacket, but his roster of collaborations and list of projects grows bigger by the day. Fresh off a My Morning Jacket tour (including a night at Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit), Jim James begins his national solo tour with a two-night stint in Boston. Supporting a new record set for a November 4th release, James is bringing an album of hope and humanism just in time for the election. Let’s hope all goes well so this tour will be more of victory lap than a consolation prize. The great Twin Limb opens, and then performs again as Jim’s backing band.

Black Dahia Murder & Napalm Death at Brighton Music Hall
November 14
Oh so you want metal, do you? Well tonight there’s a great bill uptown in Allston that may just be the complete opposite on the sound spectrum and decibel level as the Ani show. With a heavy-handed all-star bill that groups UK grindcore band Napalm Death with Michigan’s melodic death metal stalwarts Black Dahlia Murder, you may just be brought to your knees begging for mercy by the end of the night.

Ani DiFranco at Berklee Performance Center
November 14
From busking on the streets of Buffalo and playing coffeeshops to great acclaim, Ani DiFranco has built her folk career from the bottom up. One of the first independent artists to start her own label, Righteous Babe, DiFranco became a model for artistic freedom in a time of label constraints. An outspoken activist, Ani has collaborated and recorded with musicians of many genres, from Prince to Greg Dulli. Ani’s 21st studio recording is due out next year. Stop by BPC tonight and you may get a sneak peak.

Sheila Divine with Dirty Bangs at Great Scott
November 12
The Sheila Divine have been breaking up and reuniting for now for longer than they were a band the first time around. Still we love our hometown heroes, and whenever they choose to play we’ll be there singing along. New local faves, heartthrobs and Boston Music Award winners, Dirty Bangs open with their firey rock anthems.

The Felice Brothers at Sinclair
November 12
Embraced and coveted in the folk community and partly responsible for it’s epic resurgence, The Felice Brothers have been at it for a decade now. Ramshackle and relevant, retro and timeless, this barnburning quintet started off playing in NYC subways before getting top billing at big festivals all over the world.

Death From Above 1979 and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the House Of Blues
November 12
The best band to be named after Marlon Brando’s cinematic bike gang, the BRMC rose to great prominence in the late 1990-early 2000’s with their drone-y psych rock. While the band hasn’t been heard from in quite some time, they will co-headline a bill with the Canadian hard rock duo, Death From Above 1979—who also have remained out of the spotlight for some time.

Shonen Knife at The Middle East
November 9
When Sonic Youth, Redd Kross and Nirvana were on the rise in the US, Shonen Knife were their Japanese contemporaries. Hailing from Osaka, the underground garage rock band combines punk with 60’s girl group sounds and they’ve been going strong since 1981.

Digable Planets at The Paradise
November 8
The coolest, hippest hip-hop group of the 1990’s, Digable Planets gave listeners a spoken-word, poetic, jazzy take on a genre that was still rapping about violence, sex and money. Ishmael Butler, better known as “Butterfly” would go on to see success in the band Shabazz Palaces, but tonight its all about the ‘rebirth of cool’ and the reunion of Digable Planets.

The Beach Boys at Agganis Arena
November 7
Say what you will about Brian Wilson being the only true artistic vision of the Beach Boys. The remaining members brought plenty to the table and those still alive continue to, as they carry on the Beach Boys moniker without Brian, but strangely, sometimes with John Stamos.

Toots and the Maytals at The Paradise
November 6
Toots’ roots go all the way back to the early 1960’s, and their 1968 hit “Do the Reggay” is said to have coined the term for the genre. In their career they’ve won Grammy’s, penned such hits as “Pressure Drop” and "54-46 (That's My Number)” and have continued to carry on the flame while many of their peers have long since stopped. All in all, there’s not much to say except seeing Toots and the Maytals is always a great time. C’mon get irie.

The Orwells at The Middle East
November 5
The energetic and catchy rock n roll purveyed by the Orwells only gets more outlandish when it’s played out live. Their performance on Letterman left Dave perplexed and left all the rock n roll believers out there wanting more. The band began in high school, but at this point they might be of age. If so, buy them a drink. If not, don’t. They be drinking anyway.

Damien Jurado at Sinclair
November 5
Rescheduled from his cancelled summer tour, Damien Jurado is back in town supporting this year’s amazing release Visions of Us on the Land. The third part of the “Maraqopa” triliogy, the album follows a cast of characters first envisioned in a dream. Spiritual, surreal and still devastating, Jurado is one the best songwriters of our time, and his somber ballads have been known to bring audiences to tears. This is heavy stuff.

HassleFest at Brighton Music Hall
November 4 & 5
They’ve come a long way since their epic esoteric underground house shows, but now the fine folks that bring you the Boston Compass (the city’s most important newspaper) and Black Market (the great occasional rock n roll flea market) are taking over the Brighton Music Hall for 2 nights. The annual HasselFest strikes again. With big names like guitar composer Rhys Chatham, 1960’s and 1990’s experimental electronic psych outfit Silver Apples, Detroit post-industrial noise band Wolf Eyes, and hometown movers and shakers like the (New England) Patriots and Guerrilla Toss, be ready for two night of mind-bending greatness. Better wake up early and stay up late and don’t forget the rest of the scheduled cast including The Craters, Gravel, Birthing Hips, Dent, Bang! Bros., Macula Dog, The Monsieurs, Ian Sweet, Girlpool, Willis Earl Beal, Sadha, Confusion Band, Idm Theftable, Surface to Air Missive, Ben Hersey, Mommy, Pink Wash, Jahillyya Fields, Sadist, Palberta, Bugs and Rats, Sad13, Doomsday Student, Mossenek and Pharmakon.

The White Buffalo at Sinclair
November 3
Dusty folk, stark and stripped, the White Buffalo is an acoustic endeavor showcasing Jake Smith’s voice and lyrics. Hear his provocative balladry tonight in person at the Sinclair.

Ryley Walker at Café 939
November 1
Happening simultaneously on the other side of town, Mitski’s Dead Oceans labelmate, Ryley Walker is playing an intimate gathering at Berklee’s Café 939. His recent work, “Golden Sings That Have Been Sungs” is a tribute to his hometown of Chicago and the much-lauded release ranges from acoustic psychedelic folk to soulful deconstructed blues ballads. Walker is back in town on his seemingly endless tour and, as his music continues to reach greater audiences, you may never be able to see him in such a small venue again. Oh, and it’s a dry venue. You have been warned.

Mitski at The Paradise
November 1
Mitski earned an underground buzz touring incessantly over the past couple years, but her recent release, Puberty 2 on Dead Oceans, has given her worldwide critical acclaim. Her fragile transmissions of displacement were culled from her life bouncing around between Japan, Malayasia, the Congo and her current home of NYC. Catch her if you can tonight at the Dise. If it’s not sold out yet, it surely will be by showtime.