Allow me to turn you on to The Lights. Don't let the fact that there are some Pawtuckets in the house fool you. The Lights aren't some roots jam, but rather soaring, harmony-driven rock-and-roll. Former Eighty Katie frontman Bret Preston has checked his requisite indie-rock insecurities at the door, playing and singing with more confidence than ever. They are one of the best new things going, and they will be playing the Hi-Tone CafÇ on Friday, September 19th, with The Coach & Four.
The Nation of Ulysses didn't prevail, but the Make-Up, a sprawling, gospel-inspired garage extravaganza that arose from Nation of Ulysses' ashes seemed like they might. Oh well. Some of the people responsible for these two divine mistakes are back with The Scene Creamers, a mix of '60s psych, Detroit drumming, and classic soul. Like all the Scene Creamers' sonic antecedents, their brand of punk is literate, loud, and just a little on the sexy side. They will be at the Young Avenue Deli on Saturday, September 20th, with The Sea and Cake and Kingsbury Manx.
Nobody can sing 'em like Hank Sr. Not Junior, for sure. Not even Hank III, really. And Greg Hisky sure can't sing 'em like ol' Hank either. But once a year Mr. Rhythm Method treats the crowd at the P&H CafÇ to an evening of Williams' best tunes, served up raw. And after a couple of beers you'll be glad somebody is singing those great old songs with all the feeling he can muster. Professional sideman Cowboy Eddie Long helps solidify His Dixie Whisky Boys' retro sound. Long played with Hank Junior for years (on hits like "All My Rowdy Friends"), but don't hold that against him. He knows how to make a pedal-steel cry like it's supposed to. Go get your cry on with Hank on Saturday, September 20th.
Mose Allison's songwriting, be-bop-infused blues piano, and intricate tales of hard luck and trouble have earned him a legion of fans, including Tom Waits, the Who, and Van Morrison. So you know the guy's no chump just off the potato wagon. He'll be making a special appearance Thursday, September 18th, at Huey's Downtown, where he'll be performing sets at 7 and 9 p.m. Admission is $20 at the door or $15 with an advance ticket (available at all Huey's locations). Chris Davis
Local jazz and neo-soul singer and spoken-word artist Toshia Shaw will celebrate the release of her debut album, Open Book, Sunday, September 21st, with sets at 7 and 9 p.m. at the newish South Main club CafÇ Soul. With the growth of Tha Movement bringing more attention to the city's burgeoning neo-soul scene, Shaw's debut, a collection of original music somewhat in the vein of stars such as Erykah Badu and India.Arie but more jazz-oriented, signals another step forward for that promising scene. Shaw's smooth vocals and strong songwriting portend a fruitful future, and if the spoken-word bits don't translate very well on record, chances are they'll come to life a lot better in front of a live audience.
Brooklyn's Enon is an indie-rock not-quite-super-group made up of members of Brainiac and Skeleton Key. As you might expect from a band born of those two outfits, Enon creates a mighty racket, updating the herky-jerky quality of Devo-style new wave with a millennial sense of technological meltdown. Their sound is indie-pop as recorded in the middle of a car plant: Bleeps, static, vocal samples, and industrial pounding snake through eccentric songcraft that hops from torch song to near-goth gloom to electrofunk to noise collage to fairly conventional alt-rock. They'll be joined at Young Avenue Deli Monday, September 22nd, by Washington, D.C.'s The Apes, whose guitarless sound mimics vintage prog- and psych-rock but takes it on a dystopian detour. Chris Herrington