Castanets with Weird Weeds and Lazarus

Basically the brainchild of one Raymond Roposa, Castanets makes what he calls “derailed psych-country.” Who am I to disagree with such astuteness? Cathedral is country as in Western desert, sun-fried, things done in rural county shacks you don’t want to know about. Equal parts Daniel Johnston and Syd Barrett if each were raised on Willie Nelson, Roposa mixes his worryingly whispered vocals with acoustic guitar, found objects and even some horns just to keep you guessing. Surprisingly pretty and desolate, Cathedral is engaging in a twisted sort of way. “Baby, I don’t know where the hell I am,” Roposa sings on “No Light to Be Found.” No one will know this place either, but it is an interesting, scary and ultimately satisfying locale. — Darryl Smyers

Friday, March 11, at Walter’s on Washington, 4215 Washington Avenue, 713-864-2727.

VHS or Beta
VHS or Beta
Hot Hot Heat
Hot Hot Heat

Elvis Costello & the Imposters, with Tift Merritt

As the official Most Stubbornly Eclectic Rock Artist to Maintain a Mainstream Toehold Over the Course of Nearly Three Decades, Elvis Costello has earned a little privacy, so who can blame the guy if he doesn’t feel like doing interviews? Too bad, though, ’cause we wanted to ask him about his gooey relationship with Houston blues, particularly his apparent love for Bobby Bland and Jimmy “T-99” Nelson. Instead, we’ll just reiterate that EC’s rootsy ’n’ recent Delivery Man disc is the beloved entertainer’s most satisfying rock record since he delved into the world of chamber music song-cycles, Burt Bacharach collaborations and marriages to hot jazz divas (all right, just one of each, but still...). Add in the fact that these Imposters are really the classic Attractions with Davey Faragher replacing turncoat bassist Bruce Thomas, and there’s every reason to expect a real Snopesian barn-burner of a show. — Scott Faingold

Sunday, March 13, at the Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas, 713-230-1600.

Pat Metheny

Guitar legend Pat Metheny has done nothing more than expand his horizons for nearly 30 years. Initially a fusion player lost in the ’70s torrent of jazz-lite, Metheny always had the chops but seemed to stay too firmly in check to rank with the greats. That all ended with 1980’s ponderously titled As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls, his collaboration with Lyle Mays. Called jazz simply because of ECM label constraints, the found sounds and electronics of Wichita were such a shocking departure that many purists cried foul.

The Way Up is Metheny’s best since Song X, his untamed effort with Ornette Coleman. With traffic noises as a backdrop, Metheny’s latest actually succeeds in melding his wild-oats years with the fusion that first gained him notoriety. Soft and slow passages are enlivened by atypical frenzies reminiscent of the late, great Frank Zappa. Not content to serve as background music, Metheny continues challenging himself and the listener. Few can claim such distinction. — Darryl Smyers

Monday, March 14, at the Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas, 713-230-1600.

Steve Miller Band

He may have sung years ago about wanting to “fly like an eagle into the future,” but it’s been more than a decade since Steve Miller released an album of new material. So will his rodeo appearance be a case of “take the money and run,” or will the 61-year-old rocker transform the big barn into “Swingtown” and spend the night “rockin’ you, baby”? A report from his appearance at the San Antonio rodeo last month suggests the latter. Recently returned to the road after a four-year break, Miller is sure to play the big hits, and for some that’s more than enough. But with blues harmonica whiz Norton Buffalo still in the band, the Dallas native also has been tending to his Texas blues roots, paying tribute in San Antone to Freddie King and playing his version of Mississippi bluesman K.C. Douglas’s “Mercury Blues” (which, as it was a hit for Alan Jackson, should satisfy the country purists at the rodeo). So with a little “Abracadabra,” he might “reach out and grab ya” with something more than the usual exercise in nostalgia. — Rob Patterson

Monday, March 14, at Reliant Center, 1 Reliant Park, 832-667-1400.

The Bravery, with Ash

MTV and Rolling Stone both call them “an artist to watch.” They’re the “Top of the BBC’s ‘Sound of 2005’ poll.” They are the next Strokes, or at the very least, the next Killers. The members of hyped-up NYC act the Bravery practically have “next big thing” stamped on their foreheads — they’re even up for an election in that category right now in Fuse. Do they deserve it? Well, the guitarist seems to be somehow hung up on both the Edge circa Unforgettable Fire and a motley crew of hair-metal shredders; singer Sam Endicott lifted his anguished, world-weary faux English drawl lock-stock-and-smoking-eye-shadow from Robert Smith; the drummer rides his high hats nonstop like he’s in New Order; and the whole thing rests on 2K4’s de rigueur bed of warm synths and droning bass. It’s all very danceable, of course, and it is pleasant. But here’s the thing: All their songs sound alike, and they all sound like last year, not this year. In short, people who like this sort of thing will like this sort of thing, and I’m sure this will be a successful year for the Bravery. As for me, I think it’s bands like this that will smother retro-’80s rock in its cradle. Last year in this paper, Garrett Kamps predicted that this stuff had jumped the shark. How tragically right he seems to have been.

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