Summer is upon us! The pools are open, the temperatures are high, and my stomach is still recovering from the barrage of barbecue it was assaulted with over the three-day weekend. Another sign of the season is the increasing number of great shows coming to town; summer tours and outdoor festivals abound in the coming months. Below are our picks for this week, including surf-rockers Best Coast on Wednesday (perfect for the season), eighties-style dance pop group Penguin Prison on Thursday (perfect name for dreaming of cooler temperatures) and the funk-driven Orgone on Tuesday (perfect for anytime, really). The rest of our picks follow.
Orgone Tue., 9:00 p.m. May 29 @ Old Rock House - $10-$12 By Christian Schaeffer Call it the Sharon Jones effect: Funk bands are no longer able to make waves based solely on instrumental prowess and stone-cold groovesmanship ― they must have a vocal powerhouse to take center stage. California's Orgone knows this; the ten-person band labored as an instrumental unit for years before taking on Fanny Franklin as its lead vocalist. Franklin tempers her soulful delivery with a little modern R&B flavor, so don't expect slavish recreations of funk's formative years. Do expect, however, loving nods to the Stax, Fania and Josie record labels with enough modern flair and muscle to keep things current. Speaking of Sharon Jones: Orgone received the blessing from Jones and her Dap-Kings when Orgone served as an opening band on the 2010 tour, including a show at the Pageant.
Best Coast Wed., 8:00 p.m. May 30 @ The Firebird - $15 By Roy Kasten If you're asking just how long Best Coast can ride songs of fun, sun, love and the comedowns that follow such sugar highs you're asking the wrong question. The right question is: Why can't all twee bands sound this good? The answer lies in Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno's ideological commitment to pop. The Only Place, their follow-up to 2010's Crazy For You begins with a never-ending beach party and ends with a never-ending dark night of the soul scored according to Phil Spector. In between, Cosentino's lead and harmonies get tighter, the mood gets more paranoid ― as girl group pop will ― and the fuzz feels a little less fuzzy. And the surf is still up. Don't Miss: Rising sibling duo of JEFF the Brotherhood opens; early arrival for pysch fans is required.
Penguin Prison Thurs., 9:00 p.m. May 31 @ The Firebird - $13-$15 By Annie Zaleski From this 2011 Slideshow: Last night, Penguin Prison opened for Girl Talk at the Pageant. As far as I can tell, the group was polarizing; RFT music photographer Jason Stoff tweeted, "Penguin Prison is the Eightiesest Eighties band that's Eightieses since the 80's," while another @rftmusic follower told me she wasn't sure about 'em. What did you think? Take a look at a few pics from Todd Owyoung while you're composing your thoughts.
Margot And The Nuclear So And So's Fri., 7:30 p.m. June 1 @ The Firebird - $13-$15 By Roy Kasten Don't blame Epic Records for thinking it had found the next Arcade Fire in Indianapolis band Margot and the Nuclear So and So's. Singer and songwriter Richard Edwards had a beautiful and poisonous way with lyrics and phrasing and his motley ensemble had chamber pop power to burn. That all fell apart with a truly epic sophomore album debacle (the band rejected the label's version and pushed its own release), and since then it has been one fitful cycle of retrenchment after another. But this year's Rot Gut, Domestic pulls out of the death spiral with a daredevil barrage of cold-blooded grunge and feverish pop choruses. Why You Should Go: Having cancelled its March date in St. Louis, Margot is now touring behind its loudest album and sounding like it still has something to prove.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.