CONCERT LISTINGS The Best Concerts of April 2008

Solo Lead Singers Offer Respite From Monthly Showers

It seems former frontmen and recently-gone-solo band members are presently dominating this month’s Boston music scene. Rather than worry that the duplicate prevalence of lead singers might bar new acts from booking shows at local venues, I recommend you revel in the prolific songwriting of these musicians and try to catch them outside of their comfort zones. Special recommendations are denoted with stars.

Friday, April 4

Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks *

MASS MoCA, All Ages, $25

Malk has moved on to play tighter, jammier music since dissolving Pavement; his current quartet, The Jicks, features the “world’s best female rhythm section,” comprised of new drummer Janet Weiss and bassist Joanna Bolme (both involved with Quasi and the late Elliott Smith), as well as energetic keyboardist/guitarist Mike Clark. They’re touring in support of fantastic new album Real Emotional Trash, and the live show is every bit as awesome as the album.

Sunday, April 6

Minus the Bear

Paradise Rock Club, 18+, $20

Newly somber Seattle band with sexual in-joke name (referring to ’80s television show “B.J. and the Bear”) combines electronics with extended technique guitar to create spacey, serious sounds.

Ray Davies

Orpheum Theatre, All Ages, $35

Accomplished ex-Kinks frontman tours the U.S. in support of his newest solo album Working Man’s Café.

Tuesday, April 8

Saul Williams (with Dragons of Zynth) *

Paradise Rock Club, 18+, $15

Fresh off 2007 Trent Reznor collab The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!, musical poet Williams tours with fantastic punk/soul/indie band Dragons of Zynth. The latter group, whose debut disc Coronation Thieves was produced by TvotR’s David Sitek, are wilder live than their album suggests. Expect dance, rock and riot.

Friday, April 11

Lez Zeppelin

The Middle East (Downstairs), 18+, $20

This all-female Led Zeppelin cover band gained notoriety after a profile by pop culture writer Chuck Klosterman. See them pay tribute to the Zep catalog in Boston before they head to Bonnaroo.

Tuesday, April 15

Colin Meloy

Somerville Theatre, All Ages, $25

Oregonian Decemberists lead singer and songwriter has also released three solo albums on which he sang songs by Morrissey, Shirley Collins, and Sam Cooke, chronologically. His latest release, a live compilation, features originals as well as covers by The Smiths, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, and REM. Expect to hear these numbers on this tour.

Thursday, April 17

Tapes ’n Tapes

Paradise Rock Club, 18+, $16

These blog darlings’ latest album, due out on April 8, was produced by Dave Fridmann, famous for his work with Mercury Rev and Flaming Lips. Perhaps the move from lo-fi home recordings to high quality Fridmann sessions will prompt a change in the group’s indie sound. See for yourself at this show.

Sunday, April 20

Dead Meadow

The Middle East (Downstairs), 18+, $12

This Matador psychedelic rock band drones and drones on disc, but live — and particularly on this date — concertgoers may find more to excite them. Expect pungent air.

Tuesday, April 22

Peter Morén *

The Middle East (Upstairs), 18+, $12

The Swedish superstar of Peter Bjorn and John fame releases a solo acoustic disc in early April and then embarks on a world tour. Without his band mates, he’s obviously still got the ESL-accent vocals, but these new tracks are less decorative. All the same, he delivers a surprisingly raw and honest sound.