Where to begin? We have a jarring amount of noteworthy shows on this week's calendar. Starting tonight with Neko Case at the Granada Theater, and ending on Wednesday when Parade of Flesh and Red Bull Sound Select bring Fucked Up to Dada- this is the first big show week of the year. This is the sweet spot, before the festivals kick into high gear. Dive in, y'all. Support your local venues.Neko Case 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.
The 2013 Dallas Observer Music Award Best Blog winner, CentralTrack.com, is bringing back their Pop That! monthly at It'll Do with a bang. After a month long hiatus for the holidays, they're reuniting Dallas club music triumvirate, The Party. DJ's Sober, Select, and Nature will pick up their wildly popular mid-2000s open format dance party right where it left off, for one night only. It's not easy to fill a room as big as It'll Do, but this just might do the trick.Vanessa QuilantanPleasant Grove and Crushed Stars Friday, January 24, at The Kessler Theater
The most exciting local lineup of the still-young year is without question a reunited Pleasant Grove alongside nationally-acclaimed Crushed Stars, who just released a stellar new album. Read moreabout Pleasant Grove's reunion
here, and check out our interview withCrushed Stars from a couple days ago
.Kiernan MaletskyThis Will Destroy You Friday, January 24, at Lola's Saloon
San Marcos natives This Will Destroy You are sure to bring a healthy amount of fans out to Lola's this Friday. Support from Datahowler and Nathan Brown make this bill a pretty good reason to make the drive out to Fort Worth.VQRock 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 StewardSarah Jaffe, Zhora, Sam Lao Saturday, January 25, at Granada Theater
Sarah Jaffe may be the most judicious area artists -- her shows as rare as they are remarkable. Still evolving with each new song, Jaffe headlines a bill at the Granada that features a couple ladies who might someday take her crown as champion of North Texas in Zhora and Sam Lao.KMTen Hands Saturday, January 25, at The Kessler Theater
The 80's-born Denton psych-rock band, Ten Hands, reunites this weekend at our Best of Dallas 2013 pick for best live music venue- The Kessler Theater. Check out the early project from your favorite KXT 91.7 radio host, Paul Slavens.VQSealion Saturday, January 25, at Three Links
Dallas punk quartet Sealion have really tapped into something good lately. While they've long proven themselves as a solid band and a high energy live show- something in the band's chemistry shifted just the right way last year when they added new bassist Samantha Villavert. The shows have gotten even more fun, and the fan base seems to be expanding with each one. A headliner billing at Three Links is testament enough to that.VQReggie and the Full Effect Saturday, January 25, at Dada
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, RatFE 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.VQTurquoise Jeep Sunday, January 26, at Dada
This campy and over the top rap/r&b group puts quite a live show. The ladies can barely contain themselves when Whatchyamacallit, Flynt Flossy, and Yung Humma literally grind the stage down with seductive choreography. Their catchy New Jack Swing inspired hooks laced with cheesy pickup lines have drawn a major cult following in recent years, so expect fans donned in turquoise bandannas and t-shirts. Seriously.VQPhil Anselmo and The Illegals Tuesday, January 28, at Trees
Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo has a solo album and a new band to play it with him. Go watch him yell a lot and make weird faces when the tour stops by Trees early next week.KMLucius and You Won't Tuesday, January 28, at Dada
Angel-voiced and adorably coiffed dual female vocalists give this indie pop five piece's sweet lulling ballads a very dream-like feel. Their sweet little siren song hits Dada this Tuesday with You Won't.VQLa Luz and Pure Bathing Culture Tuesday, January 28, at Three Links
After watching that music video for La Luz's single "Brainwash", you'll see that we shouldn't have to say anything to justify recommending this show. Look at how babely they are! That drummer smiles when she plays! How can they be so adorable, but also look like they could kick your ass? Find out on Tuesday at Three Links. Go for the babes, stay for their fuzzy surf pop tunes.VQ
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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