The Short List: FRB Staff Concert Picks of the Week (April 22-29)

Each week, Front Row Boston’s staff gives you our Short List: the bands and musicians in and around town we think you should hear.

Friday, 4/22 – POLIÇA at Brighton Music Hall

It seems that every critic or journalist who writes about this Minneapolis-based outfit mentions that there’s more than meets the ear. The winsome and engaging tunes behind Channy Leanagh’s voice might lull a listener into a pop-fueled daydream. But Channy Leaneagh’s trenchant lyrics drive a political discourse home. Perhaps it’s appropriate to hear a Minneapolis current today, as POLIÇA embodies the drives of the purple one’s majesty: eclecticism, enigma, and energy. Brooklyn’s MOTHXR (with actor Penn Badgley on vocals) supports.

Sunday, 4/24 – Robin Trower at the Wilbur

Robin Trower is an unsung legend of British blues rock. While the history books might be littered with references to Knopfler and Blackmore and Clapton, the Procol Harum founder is a “guitarist’s guitarist,” or the musician that musicians listen to. Trower’s recent release Where Are You Going To finds him in the midst of a late career resurgence, and playing as well as he ever has. Sure, it may not be something different, but novelty is not what we want from Robin Trower.

Tuesday, 4/26 – GoGo Penguin at Cafe 939

Ethereal jazz-based trios have proliferated over the past decade or so since the ascendence of the Bad Plus, but rarely have their successors achieved the same acclaim.. GoGo Penguin will certainly draw comparisons to the Bad Plus, but they will certainly distinguish themselves as well. The whispered transmutations from their Mercury-nominated 2.0 and recent release Man Made Object owe more to an EDM aesthetic than to jazz, as propulsive bass and skittered rhythms underscore hypnotic piano riffs. They’ll be performing with DJ Carbo.

Wednesday, 4/27 – Filter at The Middle East

Honestly, we’re not on a full-out 90s binge here at Front Row Boston, but it seems that the 90s have been coming to us for the past few weeks. This week, Filter, of “Hey Man, Nice Shot” and “Take a Picture” fame, find their way to the Middle East downstairs. The band’s sound transformed during the height of their popularity, moving from an industrial core to a brighter post-grunge pop. It would have been a guess as to what incarnation of Filter would show up this week, but recent release Crazy Eyes indicates fans of industrial-era Filter will be very pleased with the latest lineup. Seminal industrial band Orgy, as well as Vampires Everywhere! and Death Valley High support.

Thursday, 4/28 – Julianna Barwick at The Middle East

Julianna Barwick’s unearthly vocals inspire a warm, poignant intimacy that feels easy. But that feeling belies an emotional difficulty and depth that is haunting and very difficult to shake. The lead single, “Nebula” from her forthcoming Will has lingered with us since the moment we first heard it. Her show at the Middle East next week will be supported by musicians who are just as deep and experimental in Nat Baldwin, Skinny Bones, and St. Nothing.