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Friday, December 19, 2014

For your ears

Okkervil River, Hundred Visions
Launchpad
Wed. April 9 at 9:30 p.m.
$15
21

While a number of folk acts have risen quickly to fame in the past few years, Okkervil River gained their audience at a steady rate since 1999. This act continues to plug along with new songs that have added a healthy twinge of Bruce Springsteen to their usual folk flair.

For Your Ears: “Stay Young” is a light pop-rock tune, with guitar lines that pop and a bright chorus meant to shout along to on late summer nights.

Neutral Milk Hotel
Kiva Auditorium
Thurs. April 17 at 7:30 p.m.
$31
All ages

For those who have never listened to Neutral Milk Hotel’s 1998 magnum opus “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,” prepare less for an audible treat and more for a musical five-course meal. Neutral Milk Hotel plays catchy yet challenging indie folk tunes, with melodies that hug tightly around your earbuds.

For Your Ears: Lyrically, “Two-Headed Boy Pt. 2” is a surrealist depiction of a caretaker and a young boy; musically, the song is a wonderful showcase of frontman Jeff Magnum, helming the stage alone with his voice and an acoustic guitar.

Waxahatchee, Dogbreth,
The Room Outside
Sister Bar
Mon. April 21 at 9 p.m.
$5
21

Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield was last year’s indie darling for many end-of-2013 album lists, and for good reason — Crutchfield’s approach to ‘90s alternative rock is fun and engaging. Although Waxahatchee’s second album saw a departure from her lo-fi acoustic instrumentation, Crutchfield’s fuzzy guitars feel right at home with the brooding singer.

For Your Ears: Cruchfield’s voice slightly shakes throughout the two-minute track “Be Good,” a tiny ode to teenage angst, concerning sexual tension in the summertime and lazy afternoons.

Cage the Elephant, J Roddy Walston & The Business, Bear Hands
Sunshine Theater
Tues. April 22 at 8 p.m.
$20
13

For a moment in 2009, Cage the Elephant’s “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” was everywhere. From the radio and YouTube clips to beer and video game commercials, the song went from fun and endearing to overplayed and nauseating. Luckily, this act has risen just enough above the line of average rock music to be deemed palatable.

For Your Ears: “Take It or Leave It” is a tame yet enjoyable song with enough interesting flourishes of funk to keep the simple tune afloat.

The Dillinger Escape Plan, Tera Melos, Vattnet Viskar
Launchpad
Mon. April 28 at 7 p.m.
$18
13

The Dillinger Escape Plan is an exceptionally loud progressive heavy metal band, and one that comfortably walks the line between performing melody and noise. This New Jersey group is a challenging listen, often writing songs with a mix of jazz, hardcore, heavy metal, and ambient music.

For Your Ears: The lead dual guitars in “Farewell, Mona Lisa” seem to be in a breakneck race with one another, zig-zagging frequently as frontman Greg Puciato shouts and shrieks from a close distance.

Danny Brown, The Underachievers, ZelooperZ, Denzel Curry, Dillon Cooper
Sunshine Theater
Wed. April 30 at 7 p.m.
$20
All ages

Danny Brown and Kendrick Lamar have both recently rode the waves of underground hip-hop success. The main difference between the two is that Brown looks like he’s having a good time. This Detroit rapper isn’t afraid to make mistakes, often taking risks with trippy beats and elevating his already nasally voice to unhealthy degrees.

For Your Ears: “Grown Up” finds new life in the rags-to-riches hip-hop trope, with Brown bragging of his upbringing of Captain Crunch to the same degree that he speaks of rocking Tommy Hilfiger polos.