Red Bull's Sound Select series continues with Toronto's Springsteen-ian noisemakers Fucked Up. It is another in a truly impressive string of shows for the series, and tickets are once again $3. Neko Case is not from Canada, but she did get her break singing with Canadian supergroup New Pornographers. So the northern theme continues. More picks below.
Thursday, January 23, at Granada Theater
Thankfully (unless you're one of the few crotchety types who prefers artists to sound the same way for their entire careers), songstress Neko Case has grown well beyond the boundaries of her loosely defined alt-country recording infancy. Her sonically enigmatic nature, more than the actual songs, perhaps, makes her as intriguing and beguiling as they come. With her first album in four years, the enchanting, impossible-to-categorize The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, the More I love You, is epic in its title, its 15-track length and in the way her majestic vocal strength is employed. The raw, strummy "I'm From Nowhere" recalls the rootsy nature of her earlier albums, but things get wonderfully weird, and often so, in other parts of the record. "The Man" is an urgent rocker reminiscent of the stronger tunes from her 2009 Middle Cyclone LP, while "Where Did I Leave that Fire" is an ambient, spaced-out bit of electro-folk. Two songs sounding more differently on one album will be hard to find, but they indeed fit well, thanks to Case's undeniable charisma and that sublime voice of hers. She can tie any oddball collection of tunes together, no matter what one tries to label them. Kelly Dearmore
Rock and Worship
Friday, January 24, at American Airlines Center
There's this episode of King of the Hill where Bobby gets his ear pierced after hanging out with a youth group centered around skateboarding and Christian rock. Of course, this leads to Bobby exhibiting an attitude Hank can't handle, and when he shows up to Messiahfest to extricate Bobby from the earnest, soul-saving clutches of soul-patch sporting, SG-shredding Pastor K, he drops one of the most trenchant Hankisms about anything in the series' 13-season run. "This is how we testify!" says Pastor K, ripping some hotlixxx and screaming, "PRAISE HIM!" Hank shudders and goes, "Can't you see you're not making Christianity better? You're just making rock 'n' roll worse!" And yet, despite the sage observation of a humble, fictitious propane salesman, Christian rock persists, continuing to feed the multitudes with festivals like the Rock and Worship Road show, which brings its positive, Christ-affirming message to the AAC on Friday. While festival founder MercyMe is not on the bill this year, Skillet, Third Day and a heavenly host of other hugely popular Christian acts will rock out with their crosses out. Steve Steward
Reggie and the Full Effect
Saturday, January 25, at Dada
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James Dewees is one of the weirder inhabitants of the mid-2000s emo/pop-punk bubble. Around the late 1990s, he was playing keyboards for The Get Up Kids when he decided to record a few solo tracks on a whim. They were louder, campier and synthier than what the band was doing, so Dewees gave the EP away on cassettes at shows as a goof. The project evolved into Reggie and the Full Effect, and the oddball shenanigans continued. Other Dewees alter egos began to pop up on Reggie and The Full Effect albums, like the German doom metal band Common Denominator and British electropop lethario Fluxuation. Under The Tray, RatFE's third album on Vagrant Records, perplexed fans when they opened the CD packaging to find no disc on the spool — it was literally under the tray. After a long-shelved fifth album and a 2008 farewell tour, RatF took a long hiatus while Dewees focused on addiction recovery. Last year, a sudden resurgence and subsequent Kickstarter campaign led to studio album No. 6, No Country For Old Musicians. This week, Dewees brings his theatrical, high-octane stage show to Dallas for the first time in years. Vanessa Quilantan
Wednesday, January 29, at Dada
If there is one man capable of more compelling frontman-ship than Fucked Up's Damian Abraham, it is B L A C K I E's Michael LaCour. Both have a propensity for shirtlessness and deadly seriousness on stage. But while Abraham can carry a large room in his off-stage social gravity, LaCour is surprisingly reserved. It makes his transformation behind a mic, with a dangerous amperage worth of Marshalls behind him, all the more jarring. The Houston musician is probably too abrasive to achieve the level of success enjoyed by the Canadian band he opens for here, but together they'll make as cathartic a noise as you'll hear all year in Dallas. Kiernan Maletsky