Cursive's latest album, I Am Gemini, twists an eons-old mythological tale of twin brothers into an epic modern struggle between good and evil. The Omaha indie-rock band's seventh LP (and first since 2009's complicated Mama, I'm Swollen, which dealt with adulthood, sex, and mommy issues), Gemini toys with issues of doubt, betrayal, and other emotional revelations, all of which continue to define a group that has never shied away from taking itself too seriously. It's also a start-to-finish narrative not heard on a Cursive album since 2000's relationship-in-turmoil document Domestica. And it's big. Like, bigger-than-your-typical-rock-record big. Frontman Tim Kasher has compared it to a theatrical musical, and it's easy to imagine the story playing on an off-Broadway stage someday. Cursive's latest and equally ambitious tour hopscotches across the country before heading to Europe. It stops at the Grog Shop this week. — Rachel Hoskins
With Cymbals Eat Guitars and Conduits. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 29. Grog Shop. Tickets: $14, $12 in advance; call 216-321-5588 or go to grogshop.gs.
Alison Krauss & Union Station
Alison Krauss has won more Grammys than U2, Aretha Franklin, and Bruce Springsteen. She's the best-known bluegrass artist making music these days. And her contributions to the landmark O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack and 2007 collaboration with Robert Plant, Raising Sand, have made her one of the world's most prominent Americana traditionalists. Krauss was just 14 when she scored a record deal because of her expert fiddle playing. She also boasts one of the most crystalline voices in music and an adventurous spirit that's carried her beyond bluegrass' boundaries. Her 14th album, Paper Airplane, came out last year. Best of all, Krauss isn't a spotlight hog. She generously shares center stage with her longtime band Union Station, with multi-instrumentalist Dan Tyminski frequently handling lead-vocal duties. Time and again, Krauss and her group prove that, in the right hands, bluegrass can transcend the woods of Appalachia. — Michael Berick
8 p.m. Saturday, March 31. State Theatre. Tickets: $39.50-$59.50; call 216-241-6000 or visit playhousesquare.org.
With a sound forged in the crucible of glam and psychedelia (with some Stooges thrown in for good measure), and then hammered on the anvil of grunge and indie rock, England's Swervedriver emerged in the early '90s as one of the leading lights of shoegaze. The band released a handful of albums, and a lot more EPs and singles, before calling it quits in 1998. None of their records made much of a dent on the charts, but the group's influence over the years has steadily grown. Frontman Adam Franklin had been pursuing solo and side projects for nearly a decade when Swervedriver's first three albums were reissued in 2008, spiking renewed interest in the group, which led to successful reunion tours in 2008 and last year. The band is currently working on its first album of new material in 14 years, tentatively scheduled for release sometime in 2012. You can hear some of the new songs on their latest tour, which stops by the Grog Shop this week. — Brian Baker
With Heaven. 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 2. Grog Shop. Tickets: $14; call 216-321-5588 or go to grogshop.gs.
All of that talk about Neon Indian being chillwave auteurs is just a fancy way of saying they're pretty good at making indie-blessed synth-pop. The Texas group — essentially the brainchild of Alan Palomo, along with some other guys who help him out onstage — sprinkles its songs with cool-record-store spices that stretch all the way back to the Woodstock generation, including '60s psychedelia, '70s disco, '80s new wave, and '90s noise rock. Their second album, 2011's Era Extraña, isn't so much about songs as it is about what's going on in and around those songs. There's lots of noise skimming the surfaces of melodies that may have a chance of some airplay if there wasn't so much musical clutter surrounding them. But they make for intriguing set pieces, which Palomo and Neon Indian are always eager to serve. — Gallucci
With Friends. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 4. Grog Shop. Tickets: $15; call 216-321-5588 or go to grogshop.gs.
Depending on how you see it, the new album by indie-pop changelings Of Montreal is either a glorious cornucopia of sound or a total fucking mess. Paralytic Stalks — which is the 11th LP by the Athens, Georgia crew that has its roots in the fabled Elephant 6 collective — is a head-scratcher, for sure. It's partly a prog-rock trip through a landscape of never-ending noise sculptures. The album's last four songs clock in at more than seven minutes each; the closing "Authentic Pyrrhic Remission" stretches out to 13 minutes. But it's also an extension of 2010's freaky-funky False Priest, a fairly authentic excursion into white-boy R&B featuring Janelle Monáe and Solange Knowles, Beyoncé's sister. Frontman Kevin Barnes has been the ringleader throughout, currently directing a carnival of seven musicians through orchestral collages, ramped-up indie rock, and space-age freakouts. You trust he's in control of the whole thing, but there's no telling for sure, especially when Paralytic Stalks slides off course before regaining some traction on that final suite of workouts. It's messy, but in a way that makes you want to see what comes next. It may not be pretty, but you won't want to look away. — Michael Gallucci
With Loney Dear and Kishi Bashi. 8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 29. Beachland Ballroom. Tickets: $18; call 216-383-1124 or visit beachlandballroom.com.
Under the Radar
Janiva Magness is a favorite among blues fans, and for good reason. She's snagged the Blues Music Awards' Entertainer of the Year title four times. She just released a new album, Stronger for It, and for the first time she's written some songs. They're not as good as the Grace Potter, Matthew Sweet, and Tom Waits tunes she covers, but she still delivers them with a voice fueled on pure blues power. She plays the Winchester on Saturday.
At 12112 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 216-226-5681, thewinchester.net.