Nikki Lane Cactus Music, October 6 (5:30 p.m.)
Nikki Lane, the South Carolina-bred singer with haunted songs and a haunting voice, is New West Records' latest trad-country ingenue. Her album from earlier this year, All or Nothin',' takes some getting over, what with lines like "it's always the right time to do the wrong thing." She'll be back for a proper club date at Fitz in December, but while she's in the area due to ACL Fest, stop by Cactus and dig her goth-Loretta vibe. CHRIS GRAY
Fitz & the Tantrums House of Blues, October 6
A retro outfit with a dynamic one-two punch of long-limbed vocalist Michael "Fitz" Fitzpatrick and brassy single-named second singer Noelle, L.A.'s Fitz & the Tantrums have been a big hit with audiences since debuting a few years ago with Picking Up the Pieces, and it wasn't long before their irresistible live shows made them indispensible on the festival circuit.
Last year's album More Than Just a Dream injects a solid dose of New Wave pop candy and Imagine Dragons-style synth-rock into the Tantrums' potent vintage-soul potion. In the inescapable whistling melody of "The Walker," it also gave them the elusive breakout hit they craved; the single can currently be heard as the theme to TBS' MLB postseason coverage. CHRIS GRAY
Flash Gordon Parks Alley Kat Bar & Lounge, October 6
If you see Flash Gordon Parks around a set of turntables -- which you can every Wednesday at the Big Top's tiny next-door neighbor, the Alley Kat Lounge -- it's better than even money you're in for a funky good time. Parks pours an encyclopedic knowledge of soul, funk, jazz, hip-hop and more into sets that will make you think as much as they make you sweat. That's no easy feat, but he makes it sound that way. CHRIS GRAY
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Jones Family Singers Discovery Green, October 9
For a few years now, critics in this part of the world have been wondering just how long the Jones Family Singers can remain southeast Texas' best-kept secret. Headed up by Bishop Fred Jones Sr., the Bay City-area family seven voices strong built a stellar reputation on the back of their church and festival performances, which left the people who witnessed them live tongue-tied with awe.
Then last year the Joneses blew their cover a little more (if not for good) with debut album The Spirit Speaks, which explores the gray area between R&B and gospel music with the kind of tasty guitar licks and tight rhythms that get not only noticed by the secular press, but exalted. The family's debut at Discovery Green this Thursday, with local blues lion Milton Hopkins as opener, has all the markings of something truly special. CHRIS GRAY
Beck, Jenny Lewis Bayou Music Center, October 9
Beck doesn't comes around often, and many of Jenny Lewis' fans thought she'd written off Houston for good after her 2009 appearance here when a talkative crowd forced her to cut a slow song short out of frustration. But thanks to the fact that both are in the Lone Star State for Austin's ACL Festival, we've been granted a second chance from Lewis, now touring behind her new album The Voyager, and a long-overdue stop from Beck in the same show. These two L.A. acts both have a heavy following, so this show will likely be full of diehard fans. Grab tickets while they're still for sale. ALYSSA DUPREE
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