Dead Even, "Cancerous Demonica" (www.myspace/deadeven)
Like an expressionistic, guitar-driven ode to invasive, metastatic carcinomas, this song pulses with malevolent purpose and frenetic, steamrolling throb. The punishing, piston-churning bottom end recalls the jaw-crushing punch of Slayer, while singer JC bellows like a wounded bear. The guitar is wild and mercurial, running from tight, controlled blasts of distortion to expansive metal leads that dabble in prog and finish with a glimmering wash of noise.
Dead Even, with Turmoil and Death Before Dishonor. Friday, July 29, at Peabody's.
Xe La, "[email protected]" (luvmutha.com)
This bubbly, acoustic ballad exemplifies the artist's breezy magnetism and versatility. Accompanied on violin, Xe La sings in a careless, cocktail croon over a jazzy shuffle with a woozy, ragtime sway. Like Rufus Wainwright, but with Beck's egoless insouciance, Xe La admires his amour and casually observes how his "clumsy love keeps tripping over" her.
Xe La. Friday, July 29, at the Southside.
Uncle Scratch's Gospel Revival, "Gimmie Back My Bible" (unclescratch.com)
This signature track blazes with blind fervor and swings like a cleanup hitter. Brother Ant's six-string quickly cycles from a lurching, Bo Diddley shuffle into an incinerating Blues Explosion. After a momentary gulp for air, the brothers redline the amps to the brink of a meltdown, then revert to a laconic blues drawl. Ant's singing is mostly indecipherable, but the power is in the insistence of his voice.
Uncle Scratch's Gospel Revival. Wednesday, August 2, at the Jigsaw Saloon.
American Werewolves, at the Grog Shop
Opening for high-energy punk revivalists the U.S. Bombs is a gut check. But the American Werewolves were more than up for the challenge. Led by beefy, tattooed frontman Trevor Moment, the quartet's old-school, four-on-the-floor punk combines hardcore intensity with fervent, shout-along choruses. Moment pauses, midway through the set, and stares out at the all-ages crowd. "When I was a teen, we'd stage-dive. Those were the days," he says, then launches himself into the crowd.
American Werewolves, with the Brazen Rogues and Jacknife Powerbombs. Friday, July 28, at Peabody's. With the Germs, Tuesday, August 1, at the Agora.