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. Kelly Dearmore
The Party Friday, January 24, at It'll Do Club 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 Quilantan
Pleasant 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 more about Pleasant Grove's reunion here, and check out our interview with Crushed Stars from a couple days ago.Kiernan Maletsky
This 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. VQ
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
Sarah 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. KM
Ten 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. VQ