Black Moth Super Rainbow
You can probably figure out by both their name and the title of their most popular album (Dandelion Gum) that Black Moth Super Rainbow make music that sounds a whole lot better when you're high. The Pittsburgh collective, led by a guy who calls himself Tobacco, blends elements of old-school psychedelia with more modern electronic tricks, like the synths and vocoders that roll through so much of its music. Their 2007 breakthrough album was recently re-released as Dandelion Gum Extra Flavor Deluxe Reissue, adding more than a dozen tracks. Black Moth Super Rainbow are switching things around again, with a brand-new lineup hitting the road for their current tour, which kicks off in Cleveland this week. You'll most likely hear songs from Dandelion Gum (the old and new extra-chewy versions), its 2009 follow-up, Eating Us, and the upcoming Psychic Love Damage, which is due early next year. Far out. — Gallucci
With Marshmallow Ghosts. 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 7. Beachland Ballroom. Tickets: $13; call 216-383-1124 or visit beachlandballroom.com.
Rock the Bells
It's tough to pinpoint just when Raekwon became the Wu-Tang Clan's chief ambassador. The Chef hasn't mixed much up over the years — he's still cranking out hood-based fairy tales for adults. That fellow Clansman Ghostface Killah lost some influence near the start of the Obama administration can't be coincidence. An era of brute pragmatism calls for unemotional, efficient hip-hop, not a weepy histrionic dude whose work occasionally drifts into over-sentimentalism. Still, Rae and Ghost make a great tag team. Their collaborations always sizzle with unfeigned intensity and chemistry that's increasingly rare in hip-hop these days. Another grimy N.Y.C. duo, Mobb Deep, are also here, revisiting their 1995 classic The Infamous. Is it too much to hope that the Rock the Bells tour will help usher in a new golden age of mean-mugging roughneck rap? Probably. But for a few hours, we can all indulge in some make-believe. — Ray Cummings
8 p.m. Thursday, September 8. House of Blues. Tickets: $35, $30 in advance; call 216-523-2583 or visit houseofblues.com.
Two Door Cinema Club/Bombay Bicycle Club/The Lonely Forest
Let's be honest: A three-band bill on a Monday night has to be pretty special to get us out of the house. But Irish synth-pop modernists Two Door Cinema Club are pretty special. Since forming in 2007, the trio (pictured) has opened for Phoenix, Tokyo Police Club, and Foals — three bands that help fuel their debut album, Tourist History. Their best songs mash together a percolating jangle, winsome vocals, and plenty of keyboards; think the strummy dance-punk popular in the early '00s. Bombay Bicycle Club are from London, but their pensive folk picking and rich vocal quavers conjure Yanks like Bright Eyes. And although Pacific Northwest rockers the Lonely Forest's Arrows is full of slick and sincere indie pop, onstage the group shows off its ragtag rough edges, which enhance the charming innocence and optimism of songs like "Turn Off This Song and Go Outside" and "I Don't Want to Live There." — Annie Zaleski
7 p.m. Monday, September 12. Beachland Ballroom. Tickets: $20, $18 in advance; call 216-383-1124 or visit beachlandballroom.com.
With the dual front of singer Colin Blunstone and keyboardist Rod Argent, the Zombies stood out in the '60s not only because of their instrumental approach, but also because they flashed a musical sophistication that sounded brand new to young ears. Argent's jazzy, minor-keyed electric piano vamp paired with Blunstone's urgent, mournful voice made for a steamy atmosphere unknown to pop fans prior to the Zombies' 1964 chart-topper "She's Not There." Argent's grown-up writing style reappeared in breezy, bossa nova form on the band's 1965 follow-up "Tell Her No." Their final hit, "Time of the Season," came from the group's 1968 swan song, Odessey and Oracle. Argent and Blunstone have regrouped several times over the years, leading new Zombies lineups. The band's latest album, this year's Breathe In, Breathe Out, shows Argent's in fine form and Blunstone is a most viable and reliable vocalist. — Duane Verh
With Afternoon Naps. 8 p.m. Tuesday, September 13. Beachland Ballroom. Tickets: $50; call 216-383-1124 or visit beachlandballroom.com.
Even when he throws a curveball like last year's collaboration with Leon Russell, The Union, Elton John can't surprise us. In fact, he really hasn't surprised fans since 1975's Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. But that's why he's endured so long. Very few legends of his stature have managed to stay as relevant for so many years. Between his work in animated movies (from The Lion King, which gave him a new lease on chart life, to this year's Gnomeo & Juliet) and his recent role as a proud father, making pop music has become almost a by-product of the Elton John brand. So when you go to one of his concerts these days, you're not going just for his vast catalog of classic songs; you're also going because the guy became a legend decades ago. You probably won't hear anything from The Union when John and his band (which includes some of the musicians he played with in the '70s) return to Blossom this week. But you will hear 40 years' worth of pop-music history. — Michael Gallucci
8 p.m. Thursday, September 8. Blossom Music Center. Tickets: $42.25-$207; call 330-920-8040 or visit livenation.com.
Under the Radar
Jazz pianist Helen Sung has spent the past year on the road playing high-profile gigs with Esperanza Spalding and Terri Lyne Carrington. Her own touring band is made up of some of the genre's very best, including bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Rudy Royston. She was born and raised in Houston, but made her name in N.Y.C.'s jazz scene, where she quickly became a favorite of NPR listeners and classical-jazz enthusiasts. Find out what the fuss is about when she plays Nighttown on Tuesday. — Michael Gallucci
This is one bizarre bill: Joe Jonas, the most annoying Jonas Brother, and Jay Sean, a Cash Money crew member who pals around with Lil Wayne. What do they have in common? Who the fuck knows. But they're hitting some clubs together, promoting their respective albums. No word on whether they'll share the stage at all, but we're keeping our fingers crossed for their visit to House of Blues on Sunday. — Michael Gallucci
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