Blues Control Mango's, February 8
Blues Control's Lea Cho and Russ Waterhouse make a tremendous clatter with keyboards, guitars and synths. The Queens, N.Y., duo started grabbing cool-kid support way before last year's Drag City effort Valley Tangents, which built on their already kaleidoscopic body of work but seemed to kick in a door they hadn't gone through yet.
The real meat of Blues Control lies on their Soundcloud page, where you can immerse yourself in seven years of Kraut-jams, outtakes and live takes. "Boiled Peanuts," anyone? With sIngs and Beau Beasley and the Ensemble for the End of Time. CRAIG HLAVATY
Loretta Lynn & Family, Holly Williams Nutty Jerry's, February 8
Country-music bloodlines don't come any richer than the two that pull into Nutty Jerry's Friday evening. Even past age 80, the legendary Loretta Lynn keeps up a hale touring schedule, belting out songs like "Fist City" and "You Ain't Woman Enough" that forever shifted the balance of power in Nashville. (And that was almost 50 years ago.)
Opening is Holly Williams, Hank Sr.'s youngest grandaughter and one of CMT's "Fresh Women of Country" for 2013, even though Williams' spare new album The Highway treads some thornier emotional back roads than feel-good mainstream country is truly comfortable with these days. CHRIS GRAY
Brandon Jenkins Firehouse Saloon, February 8
With his shaved head, knotty red beard and sleeve tattoos, Brandon Jenkins looks like he could mess you up, but he's much more of a brooder than a brawler. The Tulsa native and Austin resident has become something of a song doctor within the Red Dirt community for his work with Stoney LaRue, Bleu Edmondson and Cross Canadian Ragweed, to go with his own songs like "Down In Flames" and "Why Did We Say Goodbye." Last month Jenkins released his eleventh album, Through the Fire, a moody, acoustic-tinged affair highlighted by ominous tunes like "Burn Down the Roadhouse" and "Oh What Times We Live In." CHRIS GRAY
The xx, Austra House of Blues, February 9
How can a band so cool be this hot? The xx has been the toast of music blogdom since the UK trio debuted with 2009's xx, but the attention surrounding them boiled over into the mainstream upon the release of last fall's Coexist.
With songs lucky to work themselves above a whisper, the album travels through the same bleak sonic labyrinth as the xx's distant ancestor Joy Division, but substitutes an icy sophistication and muted dance beats for Ian Curtis' howling post-punk angst. Opening is Toronto's Austra, who take the xx's austere MO even further into electronic left field. CHRIS GRAY
Blowfly Walters, February 10
Long before Barack Obama, a black man clad in a cape and Mexican wrestling mask took a run at the Oval Office himself on the 1988 album Blowfly for President, which featured songs like "Super Macho Fucker," "Lip Smackin' Love" and "X-Rated Pussy."
A throwback to the ultra-blue mid-20th-century "party records" of Redd Foxx and Moms Mabley, Blowfly accurately bills himself as "the Original Dirty Rapper" but is actually the alter ego of Clarence Reid, a Miami-based musician who has written less filthy songs for respected R&B acts like Sam & Dave, Betty Wright and even KC & the Sunshine Band. His unique worldview is further examined in the 2011 documentary The Weird World of Blowfly. CHRIS GRAY
FOUR OTHER SHOWS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER
Boots on the Beach: Jerry Jeff Walker, Joe Ely, Jesse Dayton and more get down on the sand on the Island. (February 8, Beach Central Park, 21st & Seawall, Galveston)
Alejandro Escovedo & the Sensitive Boys: Watch for an interview with one of Texas' top songwriter-rockers a little later on today. With Hot Club of Cowtown. (February 9, Continental Club)
La Sien, Omotai: In-stores! LOUD in-stores! Local in-stores! (3 and 6 p.m., February 9, Cactus Music)
Vallejo: Veteran Austin Latino rockers are like the '80s-metal version of Los Lonely Boys. A little. (February 9, Concert Pub North)
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.