This week's edition of the semi-regular Pop Filter music roundup includes everything from a performative book reading to a star-studded CD release concert.
Start on Friday, May 17th at Lili Cafe
, which is hosting a special early performance by indie music icon Calvin Johnson
. A founding member of influential bands from the 1980s and 1990s, such as Beat Happening, Dub Narcotic Sound System and The Halo Benders, Johnson has long been at the helm of the pioneering label K Records, which helped to put Olympia, WA on the international map in terms of independent and underground music. A guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, and DJ known and beloved for his signature low vocal style, charismatic stage presence and fierce DIY aesthetic, Johnson has worked as a producer with Modest Mouse, Beck, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Jens Lekman, and Built to Spill. 6 p.m.; $5 suggested donation.
Johnson is on the road with fellow music icon Ian Svenonius
, who will lead a reading and Q&A at Pittsburgh Filmmakers
that same night at 8 p.m. Heralded in the underground music scene as the singer of pivotal 1980s Wash., D.C.-based punk band Nation of Ulysses, Svenonius is also a published author, an online talk show host with VBS.tv, and has released some 15 albums as part of The Make-Up, Weird War and Chain and The Gang. Friday's reading will center around Svenonius latest book, Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock 'n' Roll group
(Akashic Books, 2013), which led him to "conduct a seance to communicate with deceased rock stars about their philosophies on rock's consumerism and culture, and their motivations to start a rock and roll band." Any appearance involving Svenonius is packed with energy, wit and eccentricity, so don't miss this rare chance to see him in action as he shares what are sure to be compelling rock and roll ruminations from realms beyond. Free and open to the public.
For some soulful melody-infused indie pop, head to Garfield Artworks
to hear Lady Lamb the Beekeeper
. Performing on Friday, May 17th, Lady Lamb (aka 23 year-old singer-songwriter Aly Spaltro
) is on the road supporting her new album, Ripely Pine
, released in February on Ba Da Bing. Originally releasing home recordings at Bullmoose Record Store and Bart & Greg's DVD Explosion in her hometown of Brunswick, Maine, Spaltro went on to be named 2010's Folk Artist of the Year by the Boston Music Awards. With Xenia Rubinos and Midge Crickett. 8 p.m.
Fan of contemporary indie folk music won't want to miss Faun Fables
at Thunderbird Cafe
on Friday, May 17th. The Oakland, California-based duo featuring multi-talented artists Dawn McCarthy and Nils Frykdah, Faun Fables will bring their distinct ensemble inspired by European folklore, gypsy and circus culture and performance-theater to the Lawrenceville club. With an eclectic and unique vision that draws on diverse influences--from Scandinavian, Appalachian and Eastern European music, to opera, travel and pagan cultures, Faun Fable performance are also known to be visceral affairs featuring elements of theater, dance and puppetry. With The Turpentiners; 9 p.m.; $10, 12.
Start your week off on a musical note on Monday, May 20 at WYEP's Live & Direct Volume 15 Release Party
. Taking place at Downtown's elegant Byham Theater, the event makes the launch party of WYEP's Live & Direct Volume 15 CD,
a compilation featuring the top live studio sessions recorded at the South Side radio station over the past year. The latest CD installment features Andrew Bird, The Punch Brothers, Rufus Wainwright, The Wallflowers, Dr. Dog, The Walkmen, Rusted Root, and more. Monday's launch celebration features acclaimed singer-songwriter Josh Ritter
, who will perform as part of the special benefit concert. Also performing on May 20th is special local guest Bill Deasy. 8 p.m.