Music: the week ahead

(Scott Irvine)
September 17, 2009

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LIGHTNING DUST Amber Webber’s mercurial warble is certainly an acquired taste, but it’s hard not to fall in love with its contours and fragility on her band’s new album, “Infinite Light,’’ a moody and moving collection of rainy-day indie pop. 9 p.m. Sept. 17. $10. T.T. the Bear’s. 617-492-2327.

THE WALKMEN Sure to sell out the first if not both nights, the Walkmen - on a victory lap for last year’s terrific “You & Me’’ - headline the Middle East Downstairs with indie rock’s next “It’’ band, Here We Go Magic, which just can’t seem to shake off the comparisons to previous touring mates Grizzly Bear. The Dig is also on the bill. 9 p.m. Sept. 18-19. $15. Middle East Downstairs. 617-864-3278.

MIIKE SNOW Formed in Stockholm in 2007, this buzzed-about indie-rock trio led by singer Andrew Wyatt already has a pretty impressive track record on the charts. Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg, known as the production duo Bloodshy & Avant, have worked their magic with Madonna, Maroon 5, and Britney Spears (including current hit single “Radar’’). As Miike Snow, they’re now stepping into the spotlight with a new album and the single “Animal,’’ a delicious slice of electro-rock that, to these biased ears, sounds reminiscent of Boston’s Passion Pit. 9 p.m. Sept. 20. $11. T.T. the Bear’s. 617-492-2327.


A HAWK AND A HACKSAW It’s based in New Mexico, but this indie-rock collective - led by multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Barnes (formerly of Neutral Milk Hotel) and violinist Heather Trost - conjures a world of sounds, from Balkan brass bands to Hungarian folk music. (Barnes and Trost have also played in the band Beirut.) Local duo Damon & Naomi open. 8 p.m. Sept. 18. $15. Cambridge YMCA Theatre, 820 Massachusetts Ave. 617-876-4275.

BILLY RAY CYRUS Once upon a time, before his official title became Miley’s Dad, Cyrus had another nickname: Mr. Achy Breaky Heart. We giggle now, but Cyrus was one of the biggest country stars in the early ’90s, and his recent albums aren’t half bad. 8 p.m. Sept. 18. $35-$55. Showcase Live. 866-448-7849.

SON VOLT Modern-day Americana songs don’t get any more classic than the ones on Son Volt’s latest, the superb “American Central Dust.’’ With Jay Farrar at the helm, the band digs deep into vintage alt-country themes, from “Cocaine and Ashes’’ to “Strength and Doubt.’’ 8 p.m. Sept. 22. $25, $22.50 advance. Paradise Rock Club. 877-598-8689.

TOM BROSSEAU With his silken croon and lithe delivery, Brosseau could be mistaken for a sad-eyed singer from the Dust Bowl era. But his songs - delicate missives sent straight from the heart - are firmly rooted in the present. He’s touring behind a rock-tinged new album, “Posthumous Success,’’ but Brosseau is still bound to make you misty-eyed. 6:30 p.m. Sept. 23. $8. Lizard Lounge. 617-547-0759.


“SPIDER’’ JOHN KOERNER Still a vital performer, the idiosyncratic singer/guitarist was a key figure in the acoustic blues revival of the ’60s and a direct influence on Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, and others. 8 p.m. Sept. 17. No cover. Sally O’Brien’s, 335 Somerville Ave., Somerville. 617-666-3589,

SHELLEY NEILL WITH LASZLO GARDONY Vocalist Neill specializes in directness and emotional nuance rather than virtuosic display. Pianist Gardony and his trio with bassist Ron Mahdi and drummer Yoron Israel can pivot in a moment from sensitive support to ensemble struts and resplendent solos. 8 p.m. Sept. 17. Lily Pad, 1353 Cambridge St., Cambridge.

LANCE BRYANT & THE LYRICALIA STRING QUARTET The tenor saxophonist, for seven years the orchestral director and principal arranger for the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, performs original arrangements of jazz, gospel, and classical pieces with a string quartet composed of violinists Andrew Eng and Miguel Garcia-Bender, violist David Koonce, and cellist Junko Simons. 8 p.m. Sept.19. $10. Outpost 186, 186 1/2 Hampshire St., Cambridge. 617-876-0860,

ERIC HOFBAUER & THE INFRARED BAND/DEAD CAT BOUNCE Guitarist/composer Hofbauer’s Infrared Band with saxophonist Kelly Roberge, bassist Sean Farias, and drummer Miki Matsuki plays thorny yet playful pieces from its 2008 debut, “Myth Understanding,’’ plus more. Saxophonist/composer Matt Steckler’s sumptuously scrappy Dead Cat Bounce features saxophonists Jared Sims, Charlie Kohlhase, and Jeremy Viner, with bassist Carl Testa and drummer Bill Carbone. 8 p.m. Sept. 23. $7-$10. Cambridge Family YMCA, 820 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. KEVIN LOWENTHAL

BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Opening night will feature music by Berlioz, Chopin (with pianist Evgeny Kissin) and Debussy as well as the premiere of a new work by John Williams written as a tribute to BSO principal harpist Ann Hobson Pilot, who just retired. James Levine conducts. Sept. 23, $75 and up, Symphony Hall. 617-266-1200,

GUERILLA OPERA We’ve had “Jerry Springer: The Opera’’ - now here comes Sarah Palin’s turn. The plucky chamber troupe Guerilla Opera presents a new work by Curtis Hughes called “Say It Ain’t So, Joe’’ with Jennifer Ashe singing the role of the would-be veep. Sept. 19-26, $12, Zack Box Theater, Boston Conservatory. 866-615-2723,

CONCORD CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY Violinist Wendy Putnam’s enterprising chamber series opens its season with the premiere of a new work by Michael Gandolfi. Also on the program will be Bartok’s iconic “Contrasts,’’ with Putnam, Thomas Martin (clarinet), and Vytas Baksys (piano). Sept. 20 at 3 p.m., $25-$30, Concord Academy Performing Arts Center. 978-371-9667,

DISCOVERY ENSEMBLE The young Irish-born conductor Courtney Lewis takes up an assistant conductor post at the Minnesota Orchestra this fall, but he is maintaining his local ties to this recently founded chamber orchestra. The group has an educational mission and works in the schools but it presents public concerts as well, including this program of works by Stravinsky and Beethoven as well as Britten’s remarkable Serenade with Matthew Anderson (tenor) and Kevin Owen (horn). Sept. 20 at 3 p.m., $20, Sanders Theatre. 617-800-7588,


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