This January is an unusually rich month, thanks in large part to a solid Millennium Stage lineup that features folkie Jenny Owen Youngs, roots rockers Hoots and Hellmouth and the "Italian Tom Waits," Vinicio Capossela. Also be sure to check out the sun-kissed psych-pop of Drug Rug and music from locals such as Olivia Mancini and Telograph. First five songs here, next 15 after the jump.
"Caught in Headlights" - Telograph (Jan. 4, Black Cat)
The locals have studied up on their atmospheric Brit-rock and they offer up a sparkling slice of romantic balladry that should appeal to those who like Doves and Elbow.
"Chaser" - Screen Vinyl Image (Jan. 6, Velvet Lounge)
Former members of local shoegazers Alcian Blue trade in atmospheric guitar noise for programmed beats and sinister keys on this goth and industrial-tinged techno-rocker.
"Bring the Good Boys Home" - 1900s (Jan. 9, Rock and Roll Hotel)
This Chicago band -- not to be confused with Scottish post-punkers 1990s -- delivers a stand out psych-folk song that never gets too weird but gets catchy thanks to swirling organ and some well-placed violins near the song's conclusion.
"Home in a Boxcar" - Hoots and Hellmouth (Jan. 9, Millennium Stage)
The feel-good roots rock from this Philadelphia group would sound right at home on local label Gypsy Eyes if it were a little more downtrodden.
"Milk Lizard" - Dillinger Escape Plan (Jan. 10, 9:30 club)
After a lengthy hiatus, the members of this cult favorite progressive metal act can still scream, thrash and change directions on a dime with the best of them.
"Si Ã¨ spento il sole" (YouTube video) - Vinicio Capossela (Jan. 11, Millennium Stage)
The "Italian Tom Waits" does more of a spaghetti Western thing on this classic track; he rarely makes it to the States, so make sure to catch his free Millennium Stage performance.
"Don't Be Sore, Farmer John" - Tereu Tereu (Jan. 14, Black Cat)
The Fredericksburg, Va., band is indebted to jumpy, progressive indie bands like Dismemberment Plan and Faraquet in a couple ways: those bands serve as obvious influences for skittery indie-pop jams like this one, and Jason Caddell and Devin O'Campo helped record the group's new EP.
"Time to Pretend" - MGMT (Jan. 16, Black Cat)
There's something slightly cloying and annoying but equally irresistible about this synth-heavy song that tries so hard to be uplifting and manages to pull it off.
"100 Days 100 Nights" - Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings (Jan. 17, Black Cat)
The American, non-insane version of Amy Winehouse has the same sort of intoxicating voice, and it's the perfect match for the throwback funk/soul served up by the Dap Kings.
"Day I Die" - Drug Rug (Jan. 17, Rock and Roll Hotel)
Cambridge, Mass., couple Sarah Cronin and Thomas Allen sing together with amateur enthusiasm throughout this sun-kissed psych-pop gem. It's the easy pick of the month.
"You Already Know" (MySpace stream) - Teedra Moses (Jan. 19, Black Cat)
The seductive neo-soul/R&B upstart teams up with Lil' Wayne on this club-ready cut from her "Young Hustla, Vol. 2" mixtape, which should whet your appetite for this year's "The Young Lioness."
"The Mollusk" - Ween (Jan. 23, Constitution Hall)
The brothers Ween (Dean and Gene) are perhaps the most reliably weird act around, constantly shifting sounds while always keeping one foot firmly planted in the bizarre. This 1997 song is relatively straightforward by their standards, a concise, spacey pop song with electronic flourishes and horn blasts.
"Jade Like Wine" - Six Organs of Admittance (Jan. 24, Iota)
Doom folk veteran Ben Chasny makes music for soundtracks, in this case for some unrealized film script tracking a lone horserider through a haunted desert.
"I Write Down Lists" - Nina Nastasia (Jan. 31, Black Cat)
It's all subtle pleasures here, from the slight cracks in Nastasia's voice to Jim White's expertly air-brushed drums, adding up to a memorable outsider folk song.
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