First glance: another group of Brooklyn trustafarians making mood music for cat owners. Second glance: all of that, but with reluctant admiration. Twin Sister entered the blogo-consciousness with two cosmic-disco EPs, but they earned their rep last year with the full-length debut In Heaven. Rather than picking a trendy direction and sticking with it, the quintet seamlessly weaves through a wide range of atmospheres without ever looking out of its element. One moment, they're N.Y.C.'s answer to the '90s-via-'60s electropop of bands like Stereolab and Broadcast. But then they throw some '70s funk at you, then a little '80s synth-pop, then a J-Pop-meets-spaghetti-western nugget. If there's a unifying element, it's singer Andrea Estella, who might as well be from Neptune, with her Bond Girl detachment from the swooshes and whirls going on around her. Still, she makes a fine guide through Twin Sister's charmingly random adventure. — Andrew Clayman
With Ava Luna and Nights. 8:30 p.m. Saturday, February 18. Beachland Tavern. Tickets: $12, $10 in advance; call 216-383-1124 or visit beachlandballroom.com.
The Minneapolis hip-hop squad Doomtree are kinda like mid-'00s Saturday Night Live: all utility players, no stars. Still, these guys bang hard, unleashing a bludgeoning slam dance of guitars, hard-as-fuck homemade beats, and semi-anonymous dudes yelling at you about major-label malfeasance without getting nasally noisome or old-school rap-Renaissance soft. And while MC Cecil Otter famously mashed-up hardcore royals Fugazi with the Wu-Tang Clan — who provided the blueprint for countless rap crews like Doomtree — there isn't a Ghostface Killah or even Ol' Dirty Bastard anywhere in the bunch. That's not to say that the group's second album, No Kings (which came out in November), isn't a rousing, satisfying bum rush of concentrated chaos. But it's the kind of chaos that's got its shit straight and boots on the ground. It's hard to imagine that changing much, which is good enough for Doomtree — and for us. — Raymond Cummings
With No Loot. 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 21. Beachland Ballroom. Tickets: $12, $10 in advance; call 216-383-1124 or visit beachlandballroom.com.
August Burns Red
When an underground sound hits the mainstream, chances are its freshness will dissipate once trend-hoppers exploit it for commercial gain. Just ask fans of metalcore, a once-exciting hybrid of metal, hardcore, and screamo that's now beyond stale thanks to the carbon-copy-of-a-carbon-copy acts who've dumbed it down. Still, some bands are elevating the sound beyond knuckle-dragging inanity — bands like August Burns Red, the kings of credible shred and scream. Formed in 2003, the Christian-leaning Pennsylvania quintet rises above the masses in part thanks to sheer talent. Among them, guitarist J.B. Brubaker is one of the best thrashers out there, and singer Jake Luhrs screeches like a hardcore hesher. But their distaste for gimmicky moves and cheesy grandstanding also sets them apart. Last year's Leveler features jackhammer riffage and moody dynamics, revealing the band's commitment to no-bullshit sonic precision. — Annie Zaleski
With Silverstein, Texas in July, and I the Breather. 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, February 22. House of Blues. Tickets: $20, $18 in advance; call 216-521-2583 or visit houseofblues.com.
Say what you will about dubstep — it's loud, obnoxious, unsophisticated, and the bros like it — but it's the most viable subset of electronic music since that whole bubble turned out to be a whole lotta nothing a decade or so ago. Twenty-seven-year-old British producer and DJ Rusko is leading dubstep's charge into U.S. clubs, pushing, throbbing, and skittering the whole way. Rusko — who has collaborated with M.I.A., Gucci Mane, and a member of Dirty Projectors — has been making music for more than five years, which is a virtual lifetime for electronic artists playing around in new territory. His new album, which comes out next month on Diplo's label, is called Songs, and it's a sure bet from that title that he's aiming for more than just drunken club kids doing that weekend bounce. He's setting out with a statement of purpose. The album's first single, "Somebody to Love," is already a hit: a snaky slice of club pop that winks at the genre's conventions as it fully embraces them. — Gallucci
9 p.m. Monday, February 20. House of Blues. Tickets: $20-$30; call 216-521-2583 or visit houseofblues.com.
Mike Doughty has a couple of different things going on in Cleveland this week. First up at the B Side Liquor Lounge, the former Soul Coughing frontman will read from his just-released memoir The Book of Drugs, which looks back on 20 years of making music and the toll it and the industry took on his life. After that, he'll hit the Beachland Tavern to play songs spanning his career, including cuts from his latest studio album, 2011's Yes and Also Yes. Both events should be illuminating. When New York City art-rockers Soul Coughing released their debut album, Ruby Vroom, back in 1994 — the year grunge broke — they sounded like nothing else on the scene. Doughty came off like a beat poet reciting verse over the funk/jazz/indie noodlings the band provided. He was also a cranky asshole. That attitude makes The Book of Drugs a dizzyingly gratifying read, as Doughty looks back on the music and, yes, the drugs that helped the band survive a major-label record deal in the halcyon '90s. You'll probably hear more tales between the songs at the concert, since Doughty loves words and is quite a storyteller. His new live album, The Question Jar Show, is filled with more recollections. — Michael Gallucci 6 p.m. Wednesday, February 22. B Side Liquor Lounge. Free; call 216-932-1966 or visit bsideliquorlounge.com. 8 p.m. Wednesday, February 22. Beachland Tavern. Tickets: $20; call 216-383-1124 or visit beachlandballroom.com.
Under the Radar
Bluesman Tab Benoit takes his Louisiana roots seriously. He doesn't bury himself in them like so many of his fellow swampland rockers, but they're always pulling at the edges of his music. He's released almost 20 albums — some live, some collaborations — over the past dozen years that serve as a solid foundation for his concerts. He's at his best onstage, where his clean, biting Telecaster rings with conviction. Benoit plays the Beachland on Saturday.
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