Time for your monthly mixtape and guide to some of the best live music options in town in February. A few notes before we begin. 1) Everything linked here is legal -- I think. I'm not trying to get fired or sued, so all of these songs are from official band/label sites or other reputable sources. 2) Unless noted otherwise, each link is a downloadable MP3. 3) Sometimes links die, bands put different songs on their page, etc. If you find a link that doesn't work, sorry, but as of the time this was posted, all links are live. 4) The drawback to doing this at the beginning of the month is that sometimes worthwhile shows aren't announced by then. Oh well. Now, 20 songs to familiarize yourself with. Things will get really busy next month as every band in the world hits the road in preparation for SXSW.
"You're Not My (Myers-Briggs) Type" -- Mess Up the Mess (Warehouse Next Door, Feb. 3)
Part Bratmobile, part B-52s, this local feminist dance-punk quartet gets the crowd moving with bouncy, keyboard-driven tracks like this one.
"Take Your Tiger for a Walk" -- Greenland (Velvet Lounge, Feb. 3)
The local trio keeps you off balance -- in a good way -- on this tuneful piece of indie rock where the constant shifts never seem forced.
"Roscoe" -- Midlake (Rock and Roll Hotel, Feb. 7)
The Texas group does a fine job of recreating the mid-'70s Laurel Canyon folk-rock sound on this standout track which appeared on many Best of 2006 lists.
"Not So Much to Be Loved as to Love" -- Jonathan Richman (9:30 Club, Feb. 9)
The former leader of proto-punks the Modern Lovers is now a gentle soul who writes charming folk-pop ditties such as this one.
"Carpetbaggers" -- Harlem Shakes (Black Cat, Feb. 11)
Every band from New York thinks it's the Next Big Thing, but these guys might actually pull it off. Catchy garage rock, great harmonies and you can dance to it, too.
"Smile" (YouTube video) -- Lily Allen (9:30 Club, Feb. 16)
She's the reigning princess of British pop, and with just one listen to this reggae-tinged kiss-off to a bum of an ex-boyfriend you'll understand why.
"Hard Times" -- David "Fathead" Newman (Twins Jazz, Feb. 16-17)
The saxophonist who got his professional start as a member of the Ray Charles Band more than 50 years ago always pleases with his signature tune, a smooth (but not "Kenny G smooth") instrumental that showcases his talent.
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