Whether he's in a hurry or moving at a snail's pace, Langhorne Slim's Sean Scolnick knows how to get a party started. He leads with a raspy growl, viscous finger picking, and a head full of stories. Now backed by a full band called the Law, the Langhorne, Pennsylvania native is capable of rocking the club with everything from gentle ballads to full-storm barn-burners. Scolnick is recording his fifth album, which he'll probably tease at his show this week. But fan favorites like "Rebel Side of Heaven" and "Restless" (both from Langhorne Slim's 2008 self-titled release) are the real draw here. Their simple choruses and folky guitar runs are portable pieces of alt-country heaven, and combined with 2009's more reflective Be Set Free, they make for a well-rounded musical meal of sorts — from bluesy contemplation to high-octane punk. Don't miss this one: Slim's blowouts get bigger and better with each return trip. — Danielle Sills
With Rayland Baxter and Gomez Addams. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, January 12. Grog Shop. Tickets: $12, $10 in advance; call 216-321-5588 or visit grogshop.gs.
For nearly 40 years, Paul Fayrewether and his namesake band have drawn inspiration, when they weren't directly lifting, from some of Cleveland radio's favorite prog-rockers. When Fayrewether peaked in the '80s, the group was mixing originals like "Don't Let the Television Turn You On" with songs by Genesis, Jethro Tull, and the Tubes. It was hard to know where the cover ended and Fayrewether's melodramatic elucidations began, but that made his popular shows all the more unpredictable. The band split up in 1994, but Fayrewether returned as a solo artist, mining his live reputation throughout the Midwest. A Peter Gabriel disciple (who also leads a Genesis-Gabriel cover band called Secret World), Fayrewether often dons outlandish outfits and glow-in-the-dark makeup onstage. OK, so maybe he's not the Musical Box, but he's not meant to be. He's just really damn good at what he does. — Peter Chakerian
9 p.m. Friday, January 13. House of Blues. Tickets: $12-$30; call 216-523-2583 or visit houseofblues.com.
The Lawrence Arms
After one week on 2004's Warped Tour, Chicago shit-slingers the Lawrence Arms got slashed from the lineup for publicly condemning the annual fest for taking a dump on punk. It was for the best. After all, Lawrence Arms' second-stream, pissed-off angst didn't jibe well with bands like Bowling for Soup. Besides, they got a hell of a song out of the experience: "Warped Summer Extravaganza (Major Excellent)," a bonus track on their 2006 album Oh! Calcutta! In addition to being cleverly sarcastic, the trio has mixed social, cultural, political, and even religious doctrine on their five albums. Even though they haven't released a record since 2009's Buttsweat and Tears EP, like any true-school punks lost in a world of Gagas and Biebers, Lawrence Arms still have a dedicated patch of fans. If your ears crave some good old-fashioned hard-hitting, head-banging punk, you might think about joining them when the band comes to town this weekend. — Phil Barnes
With Holy Mess, Lord, and Signals Midwest. 7:30 p.m. Sunday, January 15. Grog Shop. Tickets: $12; call 216-321-5588 or visit grogshop.gs.
The Trews' backstory reads like an ages-old tale reinforcing a strong work ethic. In its few short years of existence, the Canadian quartet has opened for the Rolling Stones and Robert Plant. And they got there through good ol' perseverance. The band moved in together to save money after high school, honed their songwriting chops until they won a popular radio contest in their homeland, then played more than 400 shows during a two-year period. Their blue-collar working-man tenacity can be heard in their songs, whether they're cranking out scuzzy riff rock or rootsy folk ballads. Frontman Colin MacDonald's tunes are clever and catchy. And best of all, the Trews do it with a mix of conviction and rock's bare essentials. In an age of over-production, ostentatious experimentation, and inane genre-mixing, it's nice to hear something you can simply call rock & roll. It's even nicer knowing that the guys behind it have paid their dues. — Matt Whelihan
With Dan Miraldi & the Albino Winos and Mild Mannered. 8 p.m. Saturday, January 14. Beachland Tavern. Tickets: $10; call 216-383-1124 or visit beachlandballroom.com.
There's a pop classicism at play within Hospitality, with little snippets of straight-ahead rhythm guitars, a jangle of tambourine, and small catches of bass to keep heads nodding. But there are also jumpy time signatures with stop-start trails that keep their songs surprising. The band's instrumental mix (flutes, keys, saxes) fits particularly well with Amber Papini's voice — at times delicate, but punctuated with moments of distinct brazenness. That this Brooklyn trio can carry these characteristics, often within the same bar, and feel comfortable with each, is a testament to how fully they occupy their sound. It adds up to a sense of tiny grandeur, like an orchestra in miniature or an opulently scored film as seen through a View-Master. Papini's lyrics are similarly inclined: narrative, but obliquely so. Listen closely and you'll catch snippets of stories, quickly washed over by a flush of poetic license, leaving you chasing her ever-elusive characters. — Nicholas Hall
With Extra Medium Pony and Anthony Doran. 7:30 p.m. Monday, January 16. Grog Shop. Tickets: $7; call 216-321-5588 or visit grogshop.gs.
Under the Radar
N.Y.C.'s Caveman sound like they're very much of the moment and like they just left a garage in the '60s. They're modern indie rockers with enough sense to know that there was music before the Strokes. And like their name suggests, there's a primitive drive to their music that never gets too complicated. Test-drive it at the Happy Dog on Sunday.
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