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Rihanna, Frightened Rabbit, Stars, Low and Martha Wainwright Play Chicago

By Pete Zimmerman | March 18, 2013 8:23am

Monday, March 18

U.K. pop star Kate Nash turns 26 in July and she's already put out three well-received full-length records, had a couple of hit singles (2007s "Foundations" and 2008s "Do-Wah-Doo") and has a small role in the film, "Greetings From Tim Buckley," a film on Tim and Jeff Buckley and starring "Gossip Girl" actor Penn Badgley. Nash's latest record, "Girl Talk," is full of infectious indie-pop including the snarling "Sister," which would make Joan Jett proud. Opening the show is New York City's Supercute!, a quirky indie-rock band that features 19-year-old Rachel Trachtenburg of The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players. Kate Nash produced the group's debut full-length record, "Don't PoP My Bubble," which is due in June. Check out the official video for "Don't PoP My Bubble" track "Love Love Leave Love," here. This club show is presented by "Plan USA/Because I'm a Girl," a global initiative focused on improving the lives of four million girls and their families in developing countries. Empty Bottle. 9:30 p.m.

"Miracle Temple" is the second record from North Carolina trio Mount Moriah, and their first for the North Carolina-based indie-powerhouse Merge Records. The record is a beautiful collection of haunting alt-country led by the striking vocals of Heather McEntire. McEntire's voice on songs  "Eureka Springs," "White Sands," and "Younger Days," recall country luminaries Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. One of the best records of early 2013. With Wisconsin-based folk duo Blessed Feathers and Matthew Hale Clark, one half of the local experimental drone duo White/Light. Schubas. 8 p.m.

Tuesday, March 19

"Cabinet of Curiosities" is the excellent new record from 24-year-old Dutch multi-instrumentalist Jacco Gardner. Gardner channels '60s icons such as The Zombies, The Kinks and Brian Wilson over the course of the album's 12 impressive tracks. Tunes like "Clear The Air," "The Riddle," and "Where Will You Go," all combine lush instrumentation with warm and accessible psychedelia. Don't miss him tonight at the Empty Bottle with New England-based psychedelic rockers Mmoss and Toronto shoegaze trio Beliefs. Empty Bottle. 9 p.m.

The insanely groovy dance-pop of Portland Oregon's STRFKR is evident on the bands' latest and third full-length record, "Miracle Mile." The album is tightly packed with catchy electronica and pulsating synth-laden tracks including, "While I'm Alive," "Sazed" and "Atlantis." And with any luck they'll play their awesome version of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun." San Francisco-based dreamy synth-pop band Blackbird Blackbird released "Boracay Planet" in 2012. Check out the video for the driving lead track, "It's a War," here. Metro. 9 p.m.

You have only two more chances to check out Bobby Conn and Monica BouBou at their Tuesday night residency series at The Hideout. The theme tonight is "ballads," and Bobby will be accompanied by Dan Browning on bass, Billie Howard on keyboards, Kent Lambert on synths and Michael Zerang will handle percussion duties. Expect to hear covers of songs by Laurie Anderson and Judy Henske as well as Conn's original material. The Hideout. 9 p.m.

Denmark chamber rock outfit Efterklang come to Lincoln Hall tonight in support of their ambitious 2012 record, "Piramida." A concept record inspired by a visit to Piramida, an abandoned mining town between the Norwegian mainland and the North Pole, the band collected over 1,000 field recordings in 2011 and began transforming the recordings into songs that would eventually become, "Piramida." The sound is less orchestral than previous releases, but it is still an engaging and exotic trip. Watch the trailer for "The Ghost of Piramida," a film by Danish director Andreas Koefoed that documents Efterklang's visit to the town where the record's inception began. With Nightlands, the spacey, reverb-heavy solo project of The War on Drugs bassist Dave Hartley. "Oak Island," Hartley's second record as Nightlands arrived earlier this year. Lincoln Hall. 8 p.m.

Also: Los Angeles-based synth pop band Fol Chen will play songs from their new album, "The False Alarms." Check out the official video for single, "200 Words," here. With the lively Winnipeg six-piece pop band Royal Canoe. Schubas. 8 p.m.

And: He may or may not be a member of Stone Temple Pilots, but Scott Weiland will perform classic STP albums “Core" and "Purple" tonight at House of Blues. The wildly successful albums from the early '90s featured some of STP's most well-known tunes including "Plush," "Creep," "Vasoline," and "Interstate Love Song." Just don't heckle, okay? House of Blues. 8 p.m.

Wednesday, March 20

It will be a gorgeous setting for three of the greatest artists of our time when Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell and Richard Thompson take the stage at Symphony Center. "Old Yellow Moon" is the new record from singer-songwriters Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell. Crowell was in Harris' Hot Band for a few years in the '70s and "Old Yellow Moon" is the first time the two have officially collaborated since Crowell left the Hot Band in 1977. It's a concise set of traditional country-rock consisting of 12 duets written by Crowell, Kris Kristofferson and others. It includes a great version of "Spanish Dancer," from Patti Scialfa's 1993 debut record, "Rumble Doll." Legendary folk artist and sterling guitarist Richard Thompson's latest record, "Electric," was recorded with country artist Buddy Miller in Nashville and is another winning effort in Thompson's already brilliant canon. Symphony Center. 8 p.m.

Valeska Steiner and Sonja Glass, the Swiss-German pop duo known as BOY kick off a two-night stand tonight at Schubas. The duo's debut record, "Mutual Friends," which was just released in North America, consists of upbeat indie-pop that would appeal to fans of Feist. Check out the single, "This is the Beginning," here. Chicago singer-songwriter Hanna Ashbrook opens the show. Schubas. 9 p.m.

London-based singer/songwriter Marcus Foster comes to town in support of his 2012 EP, "The Last House." Foster at times brings to mind Van Morrison or even singer Ray Lamontagne. Sean Rowe's 2012 record, "The Salesman and The Shark," has the incredible deep-voiced singer sounding similar to Leonard Cohen or Tom Waits on soulful tunes that overflow with emotion like "Old Shoes," Long Way," and "Signs." Rowe recently stopped by "Jimmy Kimmel Live" to perform "Old Shoes" and you can watch that here. With Nashville-based singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly. Lincoln Hall. 8 p.m.

Chris Cohen is a former contributing member of Deerhoof as well as being a touring player with Danielson, Cass McCombs and others. Last year, Cohen released his debut solo record, "Overgrown Path." Songs like "Caller No. 99" and "Rollercoaster Rider," are reminiscent of the pleasing pop of Ariel Pink, with whom Cohen has also worked. Check out the video for the lead track, "Monad," here. Idiot Glee is the reverb-drenched pop project of Kentucky's James Friley, who will be playing songs from his new EP, "Life Without Jazz." Opening the show will be local experimental pop outfit Thin Hymns, who will be celebrating the release of their new EP, "Black Water." Empty Bottle. 9:30 p.m.

New York City's Ryan Leslie is a philanthropist, a successful record producer, and has a Grammy nomination for his 2009 record, "Transition." The multi-talented hip-hop and R&B singer comes to town in support of his 2012 record, "Les is More," but you might get a preview of material from a forthcoming record, "Black Mozart," which is due out sometime this year. Reggie's Rock Club. 8 p.m.

Also tonight: Manchester alternative rock band The 1975 come to town in support of their new EP, "Music For Cars." With local bands Republic of Lights and The Break. Subterranean. 8 p.m.

And: Delightful local indie-rock band Project Film at The Whistler. Project Film recently played a secret show for Sofar Sounds, and you can watch them perform an acoustic version of "Different Rooms," a song from their forthcoming record, here. With Midwest. 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 21

In 2012, Montreal-based singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco released two records. "Rock and Roll Night Club" was released in the spring and contains some Bowie-esque glam ("Baby's Wearing Blue Jeans") combined with lo-fi pop ("European Vegas"). The follow up "2," was released in the fall and is a wonderful set of laid-back jangly guitar-pop. One of the more buzzed about artists in recent memory, catch DeMarco tonight at Empty Bottle before he goes on tour as the opening act for Phoenix. With Pacific Northwest rockers Naomi Punk and the excellent lo-fi garage pop of Calvin Love. Empty Bottle. 9:30 p.m.

"Hummingbird," the latest record from Los Angeles-based indie rock band Local Natives, and the follow-up to 2009s, "Gorilla Manor," is another gratifying effort full of gorgeous harmonies and hook-laden anthems. The band was assisted on many songs by Aaron Dessner of The National, who also helped produce the album with great results. The band performed at the Pitchfork Music Festival back in 2010 and when the harmonies were tight, the experience was magical. Opening the show is the upbeat electro-pop of Los Angeles-based trio Superhumanoids. The band will release their debut full-length record, "Exhibitionists," in June, but listen to the first single, "Geri," hereThe Vic. 8 p.m.

Columbia College Story Week 2013 presents Literary Rock and Roll: Girl Trouble at Metro. The event features readings from authors Gillian Flynn ("Gone Girl"), Joe Meno ("Hairstyles of the Damned") and Jane Hamilton ("The Book of Ruth").  After the readings, stay for some music provided by lively local soul eight-piece The Right Now, featuring the powerful vocals of Stefanie Berecz. Metro. 6 p.m.

After the event at Metro, walk down the street to The Gingerman Tavern to celebrate Poi Dog Pondering's new CD-DVD set, "Live at Metro Chicago." The band will screen clips from the DVD and also perform a short acoustic set. 9:30 p.m.

Local indie-rockers Wally Dogger will perform jams from their new EP, "Choose Your Own Adventure," tonight at Beat Kitchen. With Austin power-pop five-piece Quiet Company and local pop-rockers The Webstirs. 8:30 p.m.

Also tonight: Two shows with blues artist Keb' Mo' tonight at the Old Town School of Folk Music's Maurer Hall. 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

And: Night two with BOY and Hanna Ashbrook at Schubas. 9 p.m.

Friday, March 22

"The Invisible Way," is the just released 10th full-length album from Low, the Duluth, Minn., trio led by the husband-and-wife team of guitarist and vocalist Alan Sparhawk and drummer and vocalist Mimi Parker. Produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, the record glides through 11 songs with refined ease. Parker sings lead on five of the tracks including album highlights "Just Make it Stop" and "So Blue." Earlier in the month the band previewed songs from the record at saki, the terrific Logan Square record store, and you can watch a beautiful rendition of "Holy Ghost," here. With excellent local singer-songwriter-guitarist Geoff Farina at Metro. 9 p.m.

Dance-pop superstar Rihanna brings her Diamonds World Tour to the United Center. The opener, Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky, finally released his eagerly anticipated debut record for RCA earlier this year. "Long.Live.A$AP," features high profile guests including Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Santigold, Skrillex and Danny Brown and proves that the MC deserves the buzz. 7:30 p.m.

I know it's only March, but there is a high probability that "Northern Automatic Music," the latest record from local shoegaze band Panda Riot, will be near the top of my year-end "Best Local Records of 2013" list. The album is replete with gorgeous vocals, dreamy and atmospheric instrumentation, and it's also so catchy that it will immediately put you in a better mood. Panda Riot headline a great bill tonight at Township with Texas synth-driven trio Blackstone Rangers, local noise pop band Videotape, who will celebrate the cassette release of their 2012 record, "This is Disconnect," and Dallas-based indie-rockers hormones. Township. 9 p.m.

Also: Harley Streten, the Australian producer-beat master known as Flume, brings the warm electronica from his 2012 debut full-length record to The MID tonight. With TOKiMONSTA, Giraffage and Zebo. 10 p.m.

And: One of the most influential MCs in hip-hop, the legendary Big Daddy Kane brings his complex lyrics and smooth flow to The Shrine. With Ruby Yo! 9 p.m.

Saturday, March 23

"Remember When," the 2012 debut record from Elmhurst's The Orwells combines explosive garage rock with punk rock energy. Raw and catchy, the young band seems to have the confidence to conquer the world. They just might. The band recently recorded a session for Consequence of Sound's Rock it Out! blog where they said they hope to record a new album and have it out this year. Another young local band with great potential is the five piece garage-pop outfit Twin Peaks. Take a listen to the fiery, "Stand in the Sand," here. Opening the fun night of local music is the fuzzy garage rock of the appropriately named, The Funs. Beat Kitchen. 8 p.m.

In 2012, the Canadian electro-pop band Stars released "The North," their sixth full-length record. It's an upbeat and charming album featuring the dual vocals of Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell, who also spend time in the Canadian rock collective Broken Social Scene. Los Angeles-based folk-rock quintet Milo Greene created a huge buzz with their impressive 2012 debut, which contained wistful folk supplemented with rousing choruses. Vancouver-based indie-pop band Said The Whale open. And while you are at the show, pick up a copy of Stars' "You Guys Are Awesome," tour EP that contains a couple of Stars songs as well as exclusive tracks from both Milo Greene and Said The Whale. at Metro. 8:30 p.m.

A night of Scottish indie-rock headlined by Glasgow's Frightened Rabbit, who come to town in support of their mighty 2013 record, "Pedestrian Verse." Anthemic tunes such as "The Holy, "The Woodpile," and "Late March, Death March," should provide plenty of fist-raising moments. The Twilight Sad released their brooding, synth-heavy third full-length record, "No One Can Ever Know," last year. The Riviera. 7:30 p.m.

The Boston-based band Big Dipper were one of the best jangle-pop bands of the college-rock era with indelible songs such as "He is God," "All Going Out Together," and "She's Fetching." The band released two brilliant records ("Heavens" and "Craps") for Homestead Records in the late '80s and one pretty good record ("Slam") for Epic records in 1990 before breaking up. In 2008, the great Merge records released a three-CD set called, "Supercluster: The Big Dipper Anthology," and it should be owned by anyone who loves infectious power-pop. Now, the band comes to Bottom Lounge in support of a terrific new record, "Crashes on the Platinum Planet," and songs like "Lord Scrumptious" and "Robert Pollard" are excellent additions to the already packed Big Dipper canon. Don't miss it. With the garage pop of local band Sunken Ships and the synth-pop of local duo Post Honeymoon at Bottom Lounge. 8 p.m.

Soul and R&B legend Bobby Womack comes to Hammond, Indiana tonight behind, "The Bravest Man in the Universe," his first record of original material since 1994s "Resurection." The record was co-produced by Blur's Damon Albarn and Richard Russell of XL Recordings and was one of the best records of 2012. With Jeffrey Osborne at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino. 8 p.m.

Tim Kasher, frontman for Cursive and The Good Life, embarks on another solo tour in preparation for the follow-up to his well-recieved 2010 solo record, "The Game of Monogamy." Expect to get a preview of new songs along with tracks from "The Game of Monogamy." With local band Brighton MA, who will release their new record, "Oh Lost," in April. Schubas. 10 p.m.

Also: A night of moody, arty and danceable art-rock with Chandeliers, Shapers and Deep Sleep, three exceptional local bands. The Hideout. 9 p.m.

And: An acoustic evening with Alejandro Escovedo & the Sensitive Boys at Old Town School of Folk Music's Maurer Hall. Two shows at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Sunday, March 24

"Come Home To Mama," the third studio record from singer/songwriter Martha Wainwright is a winning batch of pop-rock that was produced by Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto and recorded at Sean Lennon's New York studio. "Can You Believe It?" is an upbeat pop gem, while the first single, "Proserpina," written by Wainwright's late mother, Kate McGarrigle, is sparse and haunting. Opening the show is Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Clarence Bucaro, who will release his new record, "Dreaming From The Heart of New York," in April. Give a listen to new song, "Curtis Mayfield," here. City Winery. 8 p.m.

Legendary ska revivalists, The English Beat, finish up a two-night stand tonight at SPACE. The current U.S. version of the band features original member David Wakeling, so don't be surpised to hear some General Public classics sprinkled between The English Beat classics like "Mirror in the Bathroom" and "Save it for Later." Last year, Shout! Factory released "The Complete Beat," which contains all three studio albums from The English Beat as well as non-album bonus tracks, dub versions, live songs and three previously unreleased John Peel Sessions. SPACE. 8 p.m.

Also: Expect plenty of awesome leg kicks and ferocious lead guitar when local rock band Black Cat Heart Attack headline a show tonight at Elbo Room. With B-Rock & The Clyde Project and Fielding. 8 p.m.