When does cute become cloying? Because this newly viral video of a baby playing along to the Beatles with his dad is seriously tickling me pink -- it's pretty damn adorable -- but after watching it a dozen or so times, it’s left me longing for something noisy and gross, just to wash off the darlingness of it all.
And the best shows this week are something of demonstrative polar opposites as well. There’s sugary Australian pop act Lenka, and fellow Aussie post-punks Total Control, then global dream popsters Trails and Ways, and metal battlecruiser Slough Feg, Americana punks Parquet Courts, and the Sunset Island fest, known as the "electronic music picnic." They are all in the mix.
Here are your must-see Bay Area concerts this week/end:
Here's a sweet little slice of pop for your foggy SF summer. Lenka's newest album Shadows, on her own Skipalong Records, is about as breezy as it gets, with the songwriter's child-like whisper whipped into pleasant melodies rising over fiddle-de-dee beats and bells; they're songs that have been described as modern lullabies for adults. But don't let the lilting pop fool you, the Australian singer-songwriter (and wife of visual artist James Gulliver Hancock, who does much of her album artwork and stage design) has major creative chops, having worked as an actress by age 13 in her homeland, and in collaboration with Australian electronic group Decoder Ring on the soundtrack to '04' film Somersault.
Wed/5, 9:30pm, $15
Café Du Nord
2170 Market, SF
“Once a constant presence on local stages, metal battlecruiser Slough Feg has been hiding in a nebula of late, awaiting the moment to strike. The time is now ripe; the band returns this week to the Eagle Tavern, also recently on hiatus. But though the historic SOMA leather bar has undergone a few renovations, expect no such changes from Slough Feg when it returns to the Eagle's long-running Thursday Night Live series. The band's inimitable sound continues to mix galloping classic metal with infectious melody; vocals by singer-guitarist Mike Scalzi veer from Sci-Fi to show tunes to philosophy and sometimes encompass all three at once. When he ducks offstage to change costumes, brace yourself for incoming fire.” -- Ben Richardson
With Owl, Wounded Giant
Thu/6, 9:30pm, $10
398 12th St., SF
Here’s another show at beloved taqueria, Casa Sanchez -- is this becoming a thing now? That’s great -- chips, salsa, and live punk bands. And Maximum Rocknroll is presenting this one, headlined by Permanent Ruin, a grinding Bay Area hardcore band that blasted out seven-inch Más Allá de la Muerte on Warthog Speak, earlier this spring, and has in the past opened for bands like Gehenna and Tragedy.
With True Mutants, Dead Pressure
Thu/6, 7pm, $5
2778 24 St., SF
Trails and Ways
The melodic Oakland quartet, which was named one of the Guardian's Bands on the Rise earlier this year, will play its biggest headlining show yet this week. It's part of its first full US (and Canadian) tour. All of this is in celebration of a record that's been buzzed about since the first hints were dropped a year or so ago: the Trilingual EP is here.
With Social Studies, Astronauts Etc.
Fri/7, 9pm, $12,
628 Divisadero, SF
“The genre "Americana punk" doesn't describe the music of Parquet Courts as much as it describes their story. The Texans relocated to Brooklyn a few years ago, and now that they're in a jungle of a city, they're going to do what they want. With songs off of Light Up Gold (2012) such as "Yr No Stoner," "No Ideas," and "Stoned and Starving," the band projects the attitude of people whose greatest care is deciding between Swedish Fish or licorice. Any laziness in subject, though, is undermined by music that captures and emits real energy. Parquet Courts may be punkish, but they understand where they came from. And considering their weird and exciting breed of rock, we can't wait to see where they're going next.” -- Laura Kerry
With Cocktails, Pang
Fri/7, 9pm, $12
155 Fell, SF
If you somehow missed killer 2012 LP Henge Beat, Total Control is an Australian punk supergroup of sorts, featuring members of Eddy Current Suppression Ring, UV Race, and more. The band, which recently put out a split with Thee Oh Sees, sounds like a mix of Suicide and Joy Division, with lyrics aimed at sci-fi curiosities and paranoid guitar lines doused in just the right amount of doom and gloom.
With Thee Oh Sees, Fuzz
Sat/8, 9pm, $15
398 12th St., SF
With Grass Widow, Neon Piss, Synthetic ID
Sun/9, 8pm, $10
Uptown, 1928 Telegraph, Oakl
It's been awhile since we've seen the Lumerians out and about in San Francisco, as the five-piece spacey, psychedelic wanderers (also recently described as a "Oakland stoner quintet") reminded fans on social media this week. They also claim to have some secrets in store for the crowd at this show, which opens with fellow locals Wax Idols, at SF's newest music venue, the Chapel.
Sat/8, 9pm, $15
Chapel, 777 Valencia, SF
“From boat parties in the bay (and Croatia!?) to a campout in Belden Town, Sunset Sound System is putting on bigger, bolder events than ever in 2013. But still, the one I look forward to the most is this "Electronic Music Picnic" on Treasure Island, which recalls both the crew's name and its origins, dancing as the sun went down on the Berkeley Marina in 1994. The key word in this year's lineup is "live," featuring sets from the all hardware Detroit duo Octave One and vintage toned Chicago house veteran Tevo Howard, as well as the deep sounds of Midwestern DJ DVS1.” -- Ryan Prendiville
With Galen, Solar, J-Bird
Sun/9, Noon-9pm, $10–$20
Great Lawn, Treasure Island