Metric sound edgier today than they did back in 2003, when singer and bandleader Emily Haines fiercely urged fans to "fight off the lethargy" in "Combat Baby." The band has always popped out of the speakers with its stuttered percussion and growling riffs. But their fourth album, Fantasies, purrs with maniacal energy that's as danceable as ever. The guitar line in "Sick Muse" looks back to classic Depeche Mode and adds some swagger to the mix, and, true to its name, "Gold Guns Girls" fires like a 24-karat pistol. Fantasies' fast pace is a sure bet for a sweaty, sloppy crowd, but sprawling ballads "Love Is a Place" and "Torture Me," from the Canadian band's early days, give them a second to cool down and Haines a chance to show off her seductive voice. Dark lyrics cloud the exuberance you typically find in music this butt-shaking. "If this is the life, why does it feel so good to die today?" Haines asks when she isn't howling "Help, I'm alive." — Danielle Sills
Metric, with Bear in Heaven. 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 19. House of Blues. Tickets: $20 advance, $23 day of show; call 216-523-2583 or go to houseofblues.com.
Mumford & Sons
The name is a cutesy affectation, of course: Singer-guitarist Marcus Mumford leads Mumford & Sons, but the quartet's members aren't related. Or you could say they're related the same way the Ramones were. Either way, they're breakout members of the burgeoning underground London folk scene, bypassing Noah and the Whale and Laura Marling to the top of Britain's pop chart and a place in the worldwide buzz bin. It's all happened rather quickly for this organic bunch, who trade in a sort of Celtic-bluegrass-pop hybrid that encompasses lots of indie-rock flourishes. Their debut album, Sigh No More, is a case of the right taste at the right time. Australian quintet the Middle East opens this show, and the bucolic and intricately arranged indie-pop found on their debut EP — the imaginatively titled The Recordings of the Middle East — is worth showing up early for. — Chris Drabick
Mumford and Sons, with the Middle East. 8 p.m. Friday, May 21. Beachland Ballroom. The show is sold out.
Signed to a major label back in the late '90s, when the post-hardcore scene was still going strong, Ann Arbor's Taproot have settled back into indie life. Their latest album, Plead the Fifth, starts off with off-kilter harmonies in "Now Rise" and then offers a relentless attack of what the band likes to call "heavy melodic rock." Songs like "911OST" begin with a whisper and end in a scream, bristling with sinewy guitar leads. While the band's ability to throw off-tempo chord changes into the mix is admirable, it also means that many of the songs don't have the kind of hooks you find in System of a Down or Disturbed. Still, these guys make thinking-man's metal. — Jeff Niesel
Taproot, with Anew Revolution, Ice Nine Kills, and Destrophy. 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 23. Peabody's. Tickets: $14 advance, $16 day of show; call 216-776-9999 or go to peabodys.com.
A little more than a decade ago, Mono began crafting a compelling soundtrack of wordless experimental noise-rock that was equally indebted to Sonic Youth's visceral clatter and My Bloody Valentine's shredding guitar sheets. Yet they've always steered their own musical course. The Japanese quartet, led by founder/composer/guitarist Takaakira Goto, first made waves with its 2001 debut, Under the Pipal Tree (which was financed by experimentalist supreme John Zorn), and its follow-up, 2002's One More Step and You Die. On 2004's Walking Cloud and Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered and the Sun Shined, produced by Steve Albini, Mono wove ambient textures into their squalling atmosphere. Since then, like on last year's Hymn to the Immortal World, the band has utilized a more cinematic and orchestral sonic approach, eschewing the post-rock tag in favor of the more appropriate identification of "contemporary classical music." Mono celebrated its tenth anniversary last year with a concert that featured backing from the Wordless Music Orchestra, which was recently released as Holy Ground: NYC Live. Don't look for 24-piece orchestral support on this tour — just pure explosive euphoria. — Brian Baker
Mono, with Twilight Sad. 9 p.m. Monday, May 24. Grog Shop. Tickets: $12; call 216-321-5588 or go to grogshop.gs.
Karma to Burn
There's an old aphorism: "To thine own self be true." Straight outta Hicksville, the instrumental metal trio Karma to Burn knows this. They landed a record deal in 1996 on the condition they hire a singer — they did, got signed, decided the compromise wasn't working, sacked the singer, and got dropped from the label. Since then, their albums have been vocal- and song-title free (non-sequential numbers work just fine, thank you), acquiring a loyal following with a pointed intermingling of dense darkness and arcs of jamming joy. Their new album is appropriately titled Appalachian Incantation. — Mark Keresman
Karma to Burn, with the Suede Brothers. 8 p.m. Monday, May 24. Nemeth's Lounge. Tickets: $5; call 440-352-1429 or go to myspace.com/nemethslounge.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.