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Concert Calendar 

The shows you should see this week

Prince Rama

The fact that Prince Rama are signed to Animal Collective's label is enough to either attract or turn off a lot of folks. Sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson, plus Taraka's ex-boyfriend Michael Collins, met on a Krishna farm outside of Gainesville, Florida, where the Larsons' parents settled in the '60s. Their music retains a freaky-hippie vibe, from repetitive Sanskrit chants to tribal drumming to billowing synth plumes. There's also an omnipresent sense of ritualistic exultation. Taraka sings with a willowy Eastern trill that's often more about intonation than words. The approach is authentic and mesmerizing. The band's songs tend to build slowly and dramatically, but they spiral up an epic tower, unlocking increasingly vertiginous doors of perception. Last year's Trust Now displays an intoxicating expansiveness that recalls Gang Gang Dance, as synths swirl throughout, spewing hydraulic fluid from the wound and slinking through a hypnotic hall of marching toms and crashing cymbals. — Chris Parker

With Psychic Ills and Prostitutes. 7 p.m. Friday, March 23. Happy Dog. Tickets: $8; call 216-651-9474 or visit

Andrew W.K.

Whether it's song titles, subject matter, or his manic stage ethic, Andrew W.K. is all about the party — from his 2001 breakthrough hit "Party Hard" to the Party Til You Puke EP to last year's Japan-only Party All Goddamn Night mini-album. Over the past decade, Andrew W.K.'s party has sparked considerable controversy and plenty of publicity, most of it having to do with the mysterious Steev Mike (who may be the mastermind behind the music) and the widespread griping that Andrew W.K. is merely a corporate invention designed to sell records. Then there's the 2010 event called "Ask Andrew W.K. Anything," in which he refused to answer any of those pesky questions about his background. Through it all, he's unleashed some of the most hormonally charged rock music of the new millennium, provoking responses that range from fist-pumping adoration to venom-laden criticism, all of which reinforces his well-established party line. — Brian Baker

With Math the Band and Aleister X. 7 p.m. Monday, March 26. House of Blues. Tickets: $22, $20 in advance; call 216-523-2583 or visit

Delta Spirit

Americana-leaning indie rockers Delta Spirit got a big boost last year when their song "Devil Knows You're Dead" was featured in the very last scene of the very last episode of Friday Night Lights. And like that musical set piece, which comes from the San Diego quintet's 2010 album History From Below, the songs on the band's just-released self-titled third album are moody, haunting, and maybe just a little bit scarred. There's a big world just waiting to be explored on Delta Spirit, and frontman Matt Vasquez dives into it with outstretched arms, scooping up bits of the past along the way. They're a little like My Morning Jacket, without all the guitar-hero stuff and with more lyrics about subjects most people can relate to. And on some of the songs they stalk and pounce — a combative stance rarely heard on their other two albums. Look for this new-found aggression to drive the songs, both old and new, when they come to the Beachland this week. — Gallucci

With Waters. 8:30 p.m. Monday, March 26. Beachland Ballroom. Tickets: $14, $12 in advance; call 216-383-1124 or visit

Miniature Tigers/Chain Gang of 1974/Geographer

Somewhere along the path from charming low-fi bedroom-pop artist to insufferable synth-pop chillwave wannabe, Miniature Tigers frontman Charlie Brand got the idea he should try his hand at R&B. But the band's pasty and emasculated third album, Mia Pharaoh, is filled with schlocky and unforgivable songs like the soul-minded drift "Cleopatra," on which Brand's pallid falsetto wanders like a lost child amid the interminable blippety-blop of analog synths. Miniature Tigers (pictured) come off like a third-rate Of Montreal imitation, and you'll want to shake them from their '80s obsessions. Which is a better fate than openers Chain Gang of 1974 deserve. The brainchild of DJ Kamtin Mohager, the project bears the uninspiring and predictable imprint of melodramatic '80s bands like Tears for Fears and Soft Cell. The electronics and strings of Geographer, meanwhile, are more beholden to modern-day indie pop than synth nostalgia. — Parker

With Speak. 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 28. Grog Shop. Tickets: $10; call 216-321-5588 or go to


Hard to believe it's been less than a decade since American Idol shaped the way people think about music, and pop stars were broken the old-fashioned way — through rigorous touring and relentless radio play — instead of becoming overnight sensations thanks to their ability to oversing some shitty Broadway standard from the '70s. For every name-brand contestant who got it right (Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood), there have been three dozen who've gotten it painfully wrong. (That Metallica-Lou Reed album topped a lot of worst-of lists last year, but it's positively brilliant compared to the steaming turd of a record Scotty McCreery dumped in our ears.) Then there's Chris Daughtry: not quite your typical American Idol hopeful, but not quite the real deal either. Falling somewhere between a cabaret crooner and a rocker with a really lousy record collection, Daughtry, and the same-named band he leads, managed to ease his way into the hearts of a certain Idol viewer and, more important, voter. Judging by his latest album, Break the Spell, they're into power ballads short on subtlety and imagination. Which ultimately makes him Idol's most symbolic star. — Michael Gallucci

With Safetysuit. 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 25. Palace Theatre. Tickets: $30.50-$50.50; call 216-241-6000 or visit

Under the Radar

I Am the Avalanche are a little different than most of the bands coming from Brooklyn these days. Rather than complicating their songs with random bits of electronic debris or detached coolness, the quintet fires off super-hooky pop-punk that's way more passionate than the occasionally patience-trying music most of their neighbors make. And they're not afraid of muscular guitar workouts. They play the Grog Shop on Thursday.

At 2785 Euclid Hts. Blvd., Cleveland Hts., 216-321-5588.

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