Let's Do This

Fall Out Boy

Thursday, September 26, at Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie

Pop-punk never fared particularly well among people who enjoy spending lots of time talking about things like "authenticity" and "soundscapes." It is a kind of music expressly built to make an antisocial expression (punk) as widely palatable as possible. But lost in the pearl-clutching of purists was the distinct pleasure of this stuff — Fall Out Boy at their best push a lot of the same buttons as Bruce Springsteen, at least from a notes-and-rhythms standpoint. Because of the youthfulness of this stuff (you can't get screaming sad about your girlfriend not texting you back once you hit 30), many of pop-punk's truer artists sought the pastures of solo singer-songwriting. Patrick Stump of FOB did that for a while, but he was a little too flamboyant and his excellent album sort of disappeared. So now the boys are back together and leaning as far in the pop direction as possible. It's so much better than you thought it would be. Kiernan Maletsky

Jeff Whittington

Thursday, September 26, at the Patio Sessions at Sammons Park

The phrases "NPR host" and "rock band member" are not often found in the same sentence, but that's one of the things that make Jeff Whittington unique. The host of KERA's long-running show Anything You Ever Wanted to Know and executive producer of Think got his start in media as a singer and a songwriter with several bands before joining the lucrative world of public broadcasting. Thankfully, he hasn't completely put his past behind him — a new self-titled album with songs like "Literature Hell" and "Death's Gaping Maw" find fun, catchy ways to express the frustration of keeping up with a world that's constantly changing. Danny Gallagher


Saturday, September 28, at Dada

The grunge craze may have been reduced to a dull murmur, but that doesn't seem to have affected the members of Mudhoney. Last April, these reliable grunge rockers celebrated their 25th anniversary with Sub Pop Records, and they recently released their ninth album, Vanishing Point. These milestones have given them an interesting perspective: They're survivors of the fickle gantlet of the recording industry. That's helped hone their dark, edgy perspective on work, life and love. Danny Gallagher


Saturday, September 28, at Trees

Trading oral sex for drink tickets at a bat mitzvah, picking fights at lesbian bars and self-gratification in art museum bathrooms are all in just one WHY? song. No topic is off-limits for the band's frontman, Yoni Wolf. A self-proclaimed "master of the cheap pun," Wolf is an indie hip-hop wordsmith. His non-narrative lyrical knots bring to mind the imagery of Bob Dylan except infinitely more crippled by self-deprecation and neuroticism. Over the last several years, WHY? have made a reputation for themselves as a genre-bending, near-unclassifiable band. The unpredictability of the group's recorded material extends to their concerts as well. Having previously seen the group perform in DFW, I can tell you that Yoni's enigmatic wordplay and deadpan delivery are every bit as satisfying in a live setting. And this area has particular significance to the band — their most recent album, Mumps, etc., was fleshed out right here in North Texas. Calling on the aid of a UNT professor, WHY? used student instrumentalists to enrich the sound of their new tracks, recording much of the material at Denton-based studio The Echo Lab. Jonathan Patrick

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Observer Staff Writers