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Soundcheck: Weekend edition

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Lucinda Williams
  • Lucinda Williams

Canadian indie rock tops our picks this week, including shows by The New Pornographers (at The Vogue Friday) and The Rural Alberta Advantage (at Radio Radio Saturday). Arcade Fire's does't exactly fall into our weekend edition, but will make for a trifecta when they stop at The Lawn Wednesday, April 27, with Cincinnati's The National. Other shows of note include Lucinda Williams's appearance tonight at The Vogue, Ricky Skaggs's stop by the Warren PAC Friday night and a return visit by the Indy-born Emily Wells to White Rabbit Tuesday night. Take a gander:

Thursday

Lucinda Williams at The Vogue
The old story on Williams was that she spent way too much time on records. But she picked up her pace significantly during the ‘00s, and this March saw the release of her first new album of this decade, Blessed, just three years after her last one, Little Honey. It addresses some familiar concerns — death, by illness (“Copenhagen,” about the sudden passing of her manager) or by suicide (“Seeing Black,” about singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt’s departure on Christmas Day 2009), and fractured relationships (album opener “Buttercup”). Williams writes about current events more on Blessed than in her other work, particularly on “Soldier’s Song,” a ripped-from-the-headlines piece contrasting battlefield violence with domestic routines. 8 p.m., $32 advance (plus applicable fees), $35 door, 21+.

Friday

The History of Jazz at The Cabaret at the Columbia Club
It’s Jazz Appreciation Month, which means it’s time to crack open that thick, sometimes abstruse tome — The History of Jazz, Vols. 1-322— and pick out a few choice bits to read before an audience. Vocalist Cynthia Layne will lead take this one-night-only slot at the Cabaret, joined by the Indy Jazz Fest Band. And because the History of Jazz is a multi-media work, there’ll be video projection featuring classic jazz performers. 8 p.m., $25-$45 ($12 food or beverage minimum), all ages.

Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder at Warren Performing Arts Center
Quite the talented mandolinist and capable of surfing genres (from bluegrass to nu-grass to country pop and back), Ricky Skaggs burst onto the scene as young’un with Flatt and Scruggs, cut his teeth as a teen in Ralph Stanley’s band and then brought a little soul back to mainstream country in the ‘80s as a solo artist, scoring with a number of singles filed under new traditional that showcased him as both a picker and singer. He does it his way at this point, recording a variety of records for his own label, including a recent mostly rock record, Mosaic, as well as gospel records, collabs with other huge names such as Bruce Hornsby and tributes to folks like Bill Monroe (a couple of those). 8 p.m., $38-$40 (warrenpac.org), all ages.

The New Pornographers, The Walkmen at The Vogue
9 p.m., $25 (plus applicable fees), 21+.
Vancouver is known for many things: Natural beauty. Ethnic diversity. Pot availability. And for its music. The city has launched a number of name-brand artists, including Skinny Puppy, Michael Buble, Bryan Adams and indie-rock super-group The New Pornographers, whose members have stayed together over the course of five albums, despite the rise to stardom of several key creative figures: alt-country singer Neko Case, most famously, but also the band’s lead singer Carl Newman and Dan Bejar, who records under the moniker Destroyer. NUVO's Wade Coggeshall spoke with Newman this week.

Saturday

Culture Shock 2011 on Dunn Meadow in Bloomington
A free, annual showcase presented by IU student radio station WIUX, Culture Shock typically offers a lineup attuned to the pulse of what used to be called college radio and is now less satisfyingly called indie rock. Low-fi garage rocker Ty Segall is at the head of the pack, followed the echo-y, surfy Beach Fossils, Philadelphia’s sometimes shoegazey The War on Drugs, and one-man, DIY dance crew Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt (Luaka Bop). With Weakness, Waxeater and Gardendale & Berkley. 2 p.m., free, all ages.

The Rural Alberta Advantage at Radio Radio
What is the Rural Alberta Advantage? Presumably, it's having access to the kind of landscape that makes you want to write sweet, kind, will-of-the-wisp indie-folk songs. The band’s latest record, Departing (Saddle Creek Records), has a little more oomph than their debut, maintaining the group’s bittersweet, pastoral feel while adding a more guitar. 8 p.m., $8 advance (theraa.eventbrite.com), $10 door, 21+.

Indianapolis Guitar Summit at The Jazz Kitchen
Every few months, guitarist Bill Lancton (of Dog Talk and Bill Lancton fame) brings together a bumper crop of local guitarists, asking them to address the pressing issues of the day in a summit. Well, actually, they just play music; that’s good enough, right? With Chicago’s Henry Johnson (Ramsey Lewis, Joe Williams), Sandy Williams, Frank Steans on guitar, Scott Pazera on bass and Greg Artry on drums. 8 and 10 p.m., $15, 21+.

Emily Wells
  • Emily Wells

Tuesday

Emily Wells, Echomaker at White Rabbit Cabaret
The Indianapolis-raised violinist and singer-songwriter Emily Wells returns to town this week. A NUVO cover subject well before she found her current voice, Wells creates many-layered, many-genred “symphonies” (the term being used in a loose sense, like when we say something fully-loaded with strings is orchestral), bringing together folk, classical, musique concrete and, most notably, hip-hop; her cover Biggie Smalls's “Juicy” kind of lays her approach on the line, and has inspired both critical admiration and dismissal. 9 p.m., $7, 21+.

Anal Cunt, The Dockers, Slam Dunk, Daisy Cutter, Tri State Killing Spree at The Vollrath
Some publications like to style Anal Cunt’s name as AxCx, or just A.C. We have no such qualms, though we’re not sure if their anti-social approach is meant to be taken as criticism, or if it just taps, in an unexamined way, into a stupid, mean streak in metal culture. The grindcore band is famous not only for its name (perhaps taken from a G. G. Allin song), but its song titles —picking some tamer ones, we have “I Pushed Your Wife in Front of the Subway,” “I Ate Your Horse” and “Sweatshops are Cool.” Most active during the ‘90s, the band returned with new album this year (Fuckin’ A) after a rough decade that saw lead singer Seth Putnam fall into a month-long, drug abuse-induced coma. 8 p.m., 21+.

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