South Carolina-based pop-rock band Carolina Liar are currently on tour with Kelly Clarkson and the Fray. It's a pretty big deal for them. On off nights — or as we like to refer to them, nights where the headliners don't think Cleveland is important enough for a tour stop — they're playing some smaller-scale shows, like the one this week at Musica. But in a way, the quartet's big synth-driven pop demands a bigger stage — hell, it might be necessary just to contain it. The band was formed, shaped, mentored, and produced by Max Martin, the Swedish pop-music svengali behind tons of hits from Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, Katy Perry, and even Clarkson. It's no accident that Martin has taken such an interest in Carolina Liar: Three-quarters of the group is originally from Sweden (there's a Johan and a Göransson among their ranks). Their latest album is last year's Wild Blessed Freedom, but you probably know them more for the songs you hear in Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, and other TV shows. — Michael Gallucci
Carolina LiarWith We Are Public Radio and the Kristoffer Carter Show. 8 p.m. Thursday, August 30. Musica, Akron.
Tickets: $12. Call 330-374-1114 or visit ticketweb.com.
Anders OsborneSinger and guitarist Anders Osborne was born in Sweden in the mid 1960s. He landed in New Orleans more than a quarter-century ago and has become one of the city's most valued musicians. He's a bluesier player and twangier singer than many of his Big Easy contemporaries — a product of being a transplant rather than native of the storied music town and a sign of his aspirations as a Nashville-targeting songwriter. His song "Watch the Wind Blow By" was covered by Tim McGraw and hit No. 1 on the country charts in 2004. Osborne's music is clean and smooth; his gentle rasp injects just enough sting to stretch his songs into more adventurous territory from time to time. His latest album, Black Eye Galaxy, slips from acoustic ruminations to distorted blues throwdowns. But mostly it sticks to a sweet place in the middle, where jagged guitar solos stab their way into rootsy tunes that rarely head down the most familiar paths. Osborne will surprise you, but he also hits a comfort zone among blues, rock, country, and R&B. — Gallucci
Anders Osborne8:30 p.m. Thursday, August 30.
Beachland Ballroom. Tickets: $15.
How awesome is it that Korpiklaani are a folk-metal band from Finland? Almost as awesome as the sextet's extravagantly painted album covers, which always feature some old dude with antlers hanging out in a land that's part where Liam Neeson was stranded in The Grey and part where Yes chased all those intergalactic serpents. Their music is sorta like that too, with accordions and violins mixing with the usual guitars and drums, and lyrics about who knows what. Bonus points: Half their songs are in Finnish. – Gallucci
With Moonsorrow, Tyr, and Metsatoll: 6 p.m., $15 ADV, $18 DOS. Peabody's.
We've given up long ago on trying to remember which guitar-heavy alt-rock band in the early-to-mid '00s did this song or that song. For the record, Seether aren't the ones who did "Pain" (that was Three Days Grace). They didn't do "The Diary of Jane" either (that was Breaking Benjamin). Seether are the ones from South Africa who had a hit in 2004 with "Broken," a duet with Evanescence's Amy Lee, who once dated frontman Shaun Morgan. So that's who Seether are, and they're still making records. The latest is Holding Onto Strings Peter Left to Fray, which somehow managed to debut at No. 2 last year. — Gallucci
8:30 p.m., $29.50-$40. House of Blues.
On the surface, these British Invasion lightweights were a squeaky-clean alternative to the Rolling Stones or even the Beatles after they started wigging out in the studio with songs like "Tomorrow Never Knows." But dig beneath Herman's hits — "I'm Into Something Good," "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter" — and you'll discover a group that actually could rock out from time to time. Still, singer Peter Noone will probably stick to the wimpy songs you know when they play this weekend. — Gallucci
With Aftermath. 7 p.m., $10. Lock 3 Live.
The Soul, Sex, and Sweat Concert
If you weren't getting lucky with your sweetie sometime in the '90s while one of the artists at this weekend's R&B lovefest was playing on the radio, you were obviously doing something wrong. There's probably a lot of kids who'll be hitting puberty soon, thanks to the boot-knockin' music of 112, K-Ci & JoJo, Ginuwine, et al. This is a nostalgia trip, no doubt about it. But it's way smoother than any of those other '90s package tours out there. Besides, when's the last time you got busy to Everclear? — Gallucci
With 112, K-Ci & JoJo, Ginuwine, NEXT, Case, and DJ Hurricane. 7:30 p.m., $33-$78. Wolstein Center.
Jason Mraz doesn't so much scatter himself all over the place as hedge his bets on his fourth album, Love Is a Four Letter Word, which came out earlier this year. There's a little bit of everything the 35-year-old super-chill singer-songwriter is known for on the record: breezy acoustic pop, a modern-day take on 1970s folk, and smiley singalongs made for countless YouTube tributes. If nothing on Love Is a Four Letter Word is as immediately catchy, or as radio-saturating obnoxious, as 2008's "I'm Yours," it is a deeper and more thoughtful record as a whole. Not that anyone really goes to Mraz for deep and thoughtful. But by scooping in bits and pieces of his decade-long career, and tying them all together with an overriding theme of love and hope amid heartbreak, he's finally settled in as a more stable and reliable artist, at least on record. In concert, Mraz still picks and chooses from his four albums, so you'll likely hear a retrospective set rather than an introspective one when he comes to Blossom this week. — GallucciJason MrazWith Christina Perri. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 5.
Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls. Tickets: $20-$59.50.
Call 800-745-3000 or visit ticketmaster.com.
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