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Critics' Picks: December 18 - 24 

Local shows by Loves It and Mansions, plus an anniversary show for The SpacePimps and a benefit show by Mike Medved

[ALT-COUNTRY] + FRI., DEC. 20

Jenny Parrott and Vaughn Walters were both accomplished musicians (he with Dynamite Tales, she in Shotgun Party) before teaming up in 2010 and writing songs together under the name Loves It. The Austin-based duo is now on tour promoting its second album, All We Are, which was released in October. Rooted in folk traditions, the duo's music is a modern combination of country, gospel, swing and punk. The songs are simple and charming, with effortless vocal harmonies over guitar, fiddle and banjo backing. The duo will perform tonight at Howlers Coyote Café with local folk group The Armadillos. Allison Cosby 9 p.m. 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $5. 412-682-0320 or www.howlerscoyotecafe.com

[FOLK ROCK] + SAT., DEC. 21

After two years of playing professional basketball in England, folk singer-songwriter Mike Medved decided it was time to come home to Pittsburgh, be close to his family and focus on his music. He has since released a debut EP with his Pittsburgh-based band; they are currently working on their first studio album. Medved also will be playing tonight at Club Café at a concert to benefit WTAE's Project Bundle-Up, which helps senior citizens and children in need purchase winter clothing. The show will feature music from the EP as well as holiday classics. AC 10 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $10. 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com 

[POP-PUNK] + SAT., DEC. 21

Earlier this year, The SpacePimps released their fourth full-length, Eternal Boy; the Pittsburgh-based, internationally known pop-punk trio also toured China. Tonight at Altar Bar, the band celebrates 10 years of electric-guitar hooks, songs about girls and parties, and answering to the name "The SpacePimps." It's a celebration for the ages, and includes openers Patent Pending, The Switch Kids, Before You and The Skunk 11. It's worth checking out since the band doesn't play locally all that often. Next time the SpacePimps hit the stage here, temperatures in Pittsburgh will probably finally be inching above the freezing mark. Andy Mulkerin 7 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District. $10-12. All ages. 412-206-9719 or www.thealtarbar.com

click to enlarge Mansions, Doom Loop, Christopher Bowder, December 22 at Smiling Moose
  • Photo courtesy of Sarah Cass

[INDIE ROCK] + SUN., DEC. 22

On Mansions' new album, Doom Loop, the band accomplishes what guitarist and singer Christopher Browder set out to do: make a loud, no-holds-barred rock record. Browder, along with bandmate Robin Dove, has created an album of straightforward guitar rock that's reminiscent of a lot of early-'00s indie — melodic, but with punk roots. It's nice winter music, which is good, because the band is hitting the Smiling Moose on Christmas Eve Eve Eve, along with openers Imperial Railway, Cape Cod and Driver. AM 6:30 p.m. 1306 E. Carson St., South Side. All ages. $10-12. 412-431-4668 or www.smiling-moose.com

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