Monday, April 22
New York City-based Mykki Blanco, the female alter-ego of performance artist and poet Michael Quattlebaum Jr., comes to town in advance of the forthcoming EP, "Betty Rubble: The Initiation," which is due in May. Take a look at the video for "Feeling Special," The EP's lead single, here. Opening are Banjee Report and Chicago-based vocalist-producer The GTW. Empty Bottle. 9:30 p.m.
Local psychedelic quartet Dead Native celebrate the release of their debut album, "Keep it Strange," tonight at The Whistler. Tunes such as "Shapes of Stars," "River Rise," and "How it Goes," are heavy, blissed out and full of melody. Pennsylvania-based atmospheric four-piece You You Dark Forest open. Listen to their recently released epic single, "Arms of the Earth," here. The Whistler. 9:30 p.m.
Also tonight: Dave Mason co-founded classic rock staple Traffic, worked with Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones and had a huge hit in 1977 with the song, "We Just Disagree." The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer comes to Evanston to play an unplugged show tonight at SPACE. 7:30
Tuesday, April 23
Janet Bean's April residency at The Hideout continues tonight and will feature her work with the exemplary quartet (playing tonight as a five-piece) Eleventh Dream Day, one of the best bands to ever come out of Chicago. On May 14, Comedy Minus One is set to release "New Moodio," a "lost" album the band recorded with Brad Wood in 1991, but ultimately shelved at the behest of Atlantic Records. In 1993, Atlantic released a re-recorded version of the album called "El Moodio," but the record didn't find the audience it deserved and it ended up being Eleventh Dream Day's last record for a major label. It's a shame, too, because jams like "Makin' Like a Rug," "After This Time is Gone," and "Figure it Out" are some of the best songs the band has ever released. "New Moodio" contains three songs that have never been released anywhere previously and a tune that only appeared on a 3-track single. The vinyl pressing of the record will be limited to 500, but you can also download the digital version, which contains three additional songs. And this is no nostalgia act as the group released the superb, "Riot Now!" in 2011 and will play some new songs tonight. Don't miss it. The Hideout. 9 p.m.
Tonight at the Empty Bottle, local singer-songwriter Ami Saraiya and her band, The Outcome, will play songs from last year's excellent "Soundproof Box" as well as some new songs. Saraiya has a unique voice and the circus-like arrangements make for a whimsical orchestral pop effort. Ami Saraiya and The Outcome recently shared their Daytrotter session in which they played a new song called "Help Me," and you can listen to that here. Jared Bartman is busy working on completing his second record, so hopefully he'll preview some new songs tonight. Local singer-songwriter Ty Maxon opens with songs from his masterful sophomore record, "Calling of the Crows." Empty Bottle. 9:30 p.m.
Also tonight: Join Jim DeRogatis, author, critic and co-host of the popular Sound Opinions radio show, for "Critics? We Don't Need No Critics!" at Mayne Stage. DeRogatis will host a discussion of criticism featuring some of the city's best critics and writers including Chicagoist Arts and Entertainment editor Jim "Tankboy" Kopeny, WBEZ Pop Culture writer Leah Pickett, Fake Shore Drive editor Andrew Barber, Time Out Chicago Theater Editor Kris Vire and more. Mayne Stage. 7 p.m.
And: Los Angeles-based soul-pop outfit Fitz and the Tantrums hit town in advance of their forthcoming record, "More Than Just a Dream." Listen to new song, "Spark," here. Los Angeles-based pop duo Hunter Hunted open in support of their self-titled debut EP. Double Door. 9 p.m.
Wednesday, April 24
Liverpool art rockers Clinic head to town in support of their recently released album, "Free Reign II." The group enlisted Daniel Lopatin, a.k.a Oneohtrix Point Never, to mix 2012's "Free Reign," but ended up using only a couple of his tracks for the official release. "Free Reign II" contains Lopatin's original mixes as well as new versions of the two Lopatin songs that appear on "Free Reign," and the tracks are sequenced in reverse order. Lopatin's exquisite electronic touches bring out the best in Clinic and "Free Reign II" ends up being the superior record. With Montreal-based shoegaze outfit No Joy, who released their terrific new record, "Wait to Pleasure," this week. Lincoln Hall. 9 p.m.
2012 saw the release of "Our House on the Hill," the great record by New York-based garage-pop quartet The Babies. Songs like the undeniably catchy opener "Alligator," the deliciously profane "Mess Me Around" and the scorcher "Moonlight Mile" are fun and upbeat with bright and sunny male-female vocals that will have you dying to roll the car windows down. With local fuzz-poppers The Bingers and pop quartet The Uglies. Schubas. 9 p.m.
Thursday, April 25
Detroit rapper Danny Brown comes to town ahead of his forthcoming record, "Old," which is due out this summer. The follow up to 2011's, "XXX," "Old" will contain collaborations with A$AP Rocky, Schoolboy Q, Purity Ring and others. Over the last month, Brown has released "#Express Yourself," "Kush Coma," and "#HottestMC," which have me eagerly anticipating the proper full-length. Opening the show is Florida-based rapper Kitty (formerly Kitty Pryde), who recently released "D.A.I.S.Y. Rage," and also contributes to Brown's "Old." Bottom Lounge. 9 p.m.
Legendary guitarist, founding member of The Smiths, former member of The The, The Pretenders, Modest Mouse and The Cribs, and sometimes "Portlandia" actor Johnny Marr plays Metro tonight behind his first solo record, "The Messenger." The album channels the finest '90s Brit-pop, and songs like "European Me," "The Right Thing Right" and "Upstarts" will have you wondering what year it is. With Alamar, the project of Massachusetts-based singer-songwriter Meredith Sheldon. Metro. 7 p.m.
Friday, April 26
"Love Sign," the latest record from Philadelphia-based glam-pop group Free Energy, was released in January, but the insanely catchy tunes scream summer. In fact, "Electric Fever," "Girls Want Rock" and "Hold You Close," are packed with enough chunky guitar licks, infectious grooves and sing-along choruses to fill many summers. Play it loud. Even though they call Chicago home these days, power-pop quartet The Kickback were recently mentioned as one of the 10 bands from South Dakota that you should listen to now. Yes, the band consists of members who lived in South Dakota until 2009, so I don't blame anybody for wanting to claim a young band this promising as their own. Tonight, The Kickback will be releasing two new songs, "Please Hurt" and "Warm Hands," and will be celebrating with 50 hand-numbered limited addition cassette singles. The band played live on WGN-TV a few weeks ago and you can watch that performance here. Lincoln Hall. 10 p.m.
Brother and sister team Rachel and Rob Kolar lead the glam-folk quintet He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, who come to town in support of their 2012 record, "Nobody Dances in this Town." The group expertly weaves elements of folk, blues and indie rock on songs such as, "Let's Go," "Tales That I Tell" and "Clackin' Heels." Opening the show is Detroit's Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas, who combine fiery soul and crisp pop on the recent single, "Caught Up." Schubas. 10 p.m.
"Twelve Reasons to Die," the new record from Wu-Tang-Clan MC Ghostface Killah, is an intriguing concept album that revolves around the story of Tony Starks (Ghostface Killah) in 1960s Italy. Los Angeles-based composer and producer Adrian Younge handles the production and brings a warm quality to the proceedings. Take a look at the video for "The Rise of the Ghostface Killah" here. Catch Ghostface Killah and Adrian Younge tonight at Abbey Pub. Listen to Younge's recent appearance on "Fresh Air" here. Abbey Pub. 9 p.m.
Post-punk legends Killing Joke take over the Empty Bottle for three shows this weekend starting tonight. The original lineup is back in full force and touring in support of "The Singles Collection: 1979-2012." The group released "MMXII" last year and hope to have another new record out by the end of 2013. Supporting Killing Joke for all three shows is local sludge-metal trio Czar. With DJ Bud Sweet. Empty Bottle. 9:30 p.m.
Also tonight: Progressive rock trio Tera Melos hit town in support of their new record, "X'ed Out." U.K. trio TTNG (formerly This Town Needs Guns) recently released "18.104.22.168.0," a wonderful, lush pop record. With local noise-rock outfit My Dad. Subterranean. 8 p.m.
And: Brilliant guitarist William Tyler plays The Hideout tonight behind his new record, "Impossible Truth." Brokeback, the project of Tortoise's Douglas McCombs, will play selections from their gorgeous new record, "Brokeback and the Black Rock." Rebecca Gates, member of the beloved '90s indie-pop band The Spinanes plays solo tonight behind her astonishing 2012 record, "The Float." The Hideout. 8 p.m.
Saturday, April 27
Los Angeles-based garage rock band Bleached is the project of sisters Jessie and Jennifer Clavin. The duo just released their debut record, "Ride Your Heart," and will headline a great bill tonight at Subterranean. "Ride Your Heart" is a full of bright and fuzzy tunes that could fit right next to your Best Coast records. Tunes like "Next Stop" and "Looking for a Fight" have a punk-rock energy, while "Outta My Mind" and "Dead in Your Head" recall '60s girl group pop. Watch Bleached on the Gorburger Show here. "True Hallucinations," the first full-length from Brooklyn indie-poppers Ex Cops, features jangly guitars and soaring melodies. With New York-based indie-rockers Hunters and the blistering local garage rock trio Vamos. Subterranean. 9:30 p.m.
Brilliant singer-songwriter Josh Ritter comes to The Vic tonight behind his seventh full-length record, "The Beast In Its Tracks." Recorded soon after his divorce from singer-songwriter Dawn Landes, "The Beast in Its Tracks" is an introspective record and the sparse arrangements fit the tone exceptionally. Check out a tour video of "In Your Arms Again," a song that premiered on "Grey's Anatomy," here. Singer-songwriter Sea Wolf opens with a solo acoustic set. The Vic. 8 p.m.
Local four-piece Ragged Claws play tunes from their latest record, "Imagined Kings," tonight at Cafe Mustache. The record moves easily through many influences including indie-rock and heartfelt Americana with some bouncy tropical rhythms thrown in for good measure. Very nice. Cafe Mustache. 9 p.m.
In 2012, singer Bettye LaVette celebrated 50 years in the music industry with and autobiography called "A Woman Like Me" and an exceptional record called "Thankful N' Thoughtful," in which she tackles songs by a divergent range of artists including Sly & The Family Stone ("Thankful N' Thoughtful"), Gnarls Barkley ("Crazy"), The Black Keys ("I'm Not The One") and Tom Waits ("Yesterday is Here"). LaVette is showing no signs of slowing down as she moves gracefully into year 51. Catch her tonight at The Old Town School of Folk Music's Gary and Laura Maurer Concert Hall. 8 p.m.
In the classic "The Simpsons" episode, "Lisa's Rival," Lisa Simpson imagines herself in a band of "second-bests" featuring Jim Messina, Art Garfunkel and John Oates, playing their song "Born to Runner-Up." Tonight, at SPACE, let John Oates prove that he is no second banana to Daryl Hall. Oates' new project, "Good Road to Follow," is a collection of songs that will be released once a month in a series of digital singles. Listen to one of those songs, "Stand Strong," here. Singer-songwriter Marc Scibilia opens. SPACE. 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 28
Austin-based musician Scott H. Biram delivers a fierce melange of outlaw country, honky-tonk and blues in a raucous package as heard on his 2011 record, "Bad Ingredients." See him tonight with excellent local musician Lawrence Peters, who will kick things off with a set from his The Lawrence Peters Outfit. The Hideout. 8 p.m.
Formed in the late '80s by the dreamy Evan Dando, The Lemonheads were all over the radio in the early '90s with alt-rock classics such as "It's a Shame About Ray," "Into Your Arms" and their cover of the Simon & Garfunkel classic, "Mrs. Robinson." See what Dando has in store tonight when he brings his band to Lincoln Hall. 8 p.m.
Also tonight: Funkmaster George Clinton just revived his The C Kunspyruhzy record label and last week released "The Naz," the first Funkadelic track in more than 20 years, and it features Sly Stone on vocals. The B-side is called "Nuclear Dog" and is a new version of Clinton's 1983 jam, "Atomic Dog." Don't miss George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic tonight at The Shrine. 8 p.m.