Greetings From the Wilderness
Mandolins and the like offer some folky overtones to arty indie rock on this EP, but the real draw is the thoughtful, dry lyricism. The writing is either genius or disappointing in its simplicity, with a tone reminiscent of Morrissey or Xiu Xiu (in terms of words only). Who starts a song with a line like "I am not such an asshole / Yet, I am human when I am drunk / not a wolf"? Confident songwriting is matched with impeccable recording and mournful, powerful vocals.
ROAD RUNNER. 9 p.m. Thu., Feb. 27. Brillobox, 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $5. 412-621-4900 or www.brillobox.net
A new full-length from the trio of Amuck, Sikes and Kiltervision, this one mixes rap with rock, dance music and even screamo, sometimes all in one song. A lot of the MC work is impressive — fast, smart, varied in cadence. Often the hooks are these songs' weaknesses, but there's a lot of other good stuff going on, from the rhymes to the production, and these guys aren't copying anyone.
PLUTOCRAT NOOSE. 9 p.m. Fri., Feb. 28. The Smiling Moose, 1306 E. Carson St., South Side. $6-8. 412-431-4668 or www.smiling-moose.com
Songs of Pillage and Merrymaking
Punk and straight-up rock tunes from some vets of the local scene (Greg Loop, Dave Whaley, David Zappala and Bob Spieler). Catchy, riffy stuff ranging from country-inspired (like "Red Skies Over Omaha") to Hüsker Dü-style ("Black Moshannon"), done well in all cases — and topped with honest, easy-on-the-ears vocals.
THE NEVERWERES. 10 p.m. Sat., March 1. Club Café, 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $5. 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com