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Posted at 9:05 AM ET, 05/ 3/2009

May Mixtape

By David Malitz

Maybe you missed out on tickets to see Bruce. Maybe you missed out on tickets for some of the many sold-out shows at 9:30 club (Animal Collective, the Shins, Cake). As always, there's plenty of live music out there for you to explore. You can check out one of country's rising stars, Jamey Johnson; Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Leonard Cohen; soul sparkplug Sharon Jones; or get '90s nostalgic with the Gin Blossoms. Five picks here, 15 more after the jump.

"Everyday" - Vetiver (May 2, Iota)
A sunny shuffle that you should listen to while sitting outside, under the sun. Find your friends who are into Jack Johnson and play this for them. They'll thank you later.

"Hazel" - Junior Boys (May 5, Black Cat)
Icy beats aren't too unexpected from a couple of Canadians. But it's the seductive, sensual nature of the songs that separate this duo from the electro-pop masses.

"Burgundy Red" - Tim Easton (May 5, Iota)
Easton's raspy voice and the churning, old-fashioned rock provided by his backing band make this song almost a dead ringer for Dylan's most recent output.

"Ninja-High Schooool" - Peelander-Z (May 7, The Red & the Black)
This Japanese "action comic punk band" is more known for wild stage antics than the songs, but this is a charming enough punk sing-along with more than a couple nods to the Ramones.

"Stop the World and Let Me Get Off" - John Doe and the Sadies (May 8, Iota)
The X axeman teams up with the Canadian alt-country rollickers for some twangy, old-fashioned roadhouse rock.

(More after the jump.)

"Inspiration Information" - Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (May 8-9, 9:30 club)
The should-be queen of the soul revival covers Shuggie Otis's sun-kissed classic with her usual grace and power. The Dap-Kings add crucial blasts of brass.

"Don't Talk in Your Sleep" - Magik Markers (May 10, Velvet Lounge)
Sonic Youth faves keep it sludgy, moany and trippy.

"The Stranger Song" (YouTube video) - Leonard Cohen (May 11, Merriweather Post Pavilion)
Cohen is a brooder for the ages, and this vintage performance from 1967 is truly hypnotic between the combination of his finger-picked guitar playing, haunting lyrics and penetrating voice.

"Now We Can See" - The Thermals (May 13, Black Cat)
Few bands are as in the zone right now as this Portland, Ore., trio who keep cranking out album after album of irresistible indie-rock anthems.

"I'm Happy" - Azita (May 13, DC9)
The Chicago-based musician has made some truly weird tunes in her day, but this song finds her offering up pretty piano pop with impressive vocal calisthenics.

"Arms Like Boulders" - The War on Drugs (May 13, Rock and Roll Hotel)
One of the best songs off my favorite album of 2008, this is some serious highway music, Americana played through the busted technologies of home studio recording. Tops.

"High Cost of Living" - Jamey Johnson (May 14, Birchmere)
Ache, anger and angst in equal helpings from the best country brooder going.

"Hey Jealousy" (YouTube video) - Gin Blossoms (May 14, National Harbor)
Discussing the worst of the alt-rock '90s is surprisingly common here in the office. But whenever someone tries to throw the Gin Blossoms in there I heartily object. You're telling me this isn't some classic jangle-pop greatness? Sorry, this one's a classic. And "Found Out About You" rules, too!

"Shackleton" - So Cow (May 14, Velvet Lounge)
Irish bedroom pop that expertly toes the line between clever and too-clever-for-its-own-good.

"Back the Same" - Parachute Musical (May 15, Rock and Roll Hotel)
Boisterous piano-rock from Nashville. I am contractually obligated to use the phrase "Ben Folds" in close proximity to "piano-rock," so, there we go.

"Home to You" - Tortured Soul (May 15, Black Cat)
This Brooklyn group is a house band. No, not like the band that always plays at a certain bar. A house music band. As in, playing live house music, with instruments. How about that?

"Roses in the Park" - Liechtenstein (May 20, Velvet Lounge)
Leave it to Slumberland Records to dig up some fantastic, ramshackle jangle-pop. Like the Vivian Girls if they were Swedish and had a slightly better record collection.

"Queen of Heart" - Casper Bangs (May 21, Black Cat)
Rob Pierangeli, formerly of local indie-pop standouts the Hard Tomorrows, is back with a new project, and thankfully, the same knack for hooks. This one sounds a lot like current blog sweethearts the Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

"Stimulus Plan" - Dead Prez (May 21, 9:30 club)
No surprise that these always-opinionated rappers tackle the current economic situation on their latest tune. They somehow tie it all back to slavery.

"The More That I Do" - The Field (May 23, Black Cat)
The Field is Axel Willner, one Swedish dude who is making some of today's best techno. Thankfully he didn't follow in the footsteps of that other Axl and is following up his fawned-over, 2007 release "From Here We Go Sublime," in relatively quick fashion with this month's "Yesterday & Today," which serves up tasteful-yet-thumping beats.

By David Malitz  | May 3, 2009; 9:05 AM ET
Categories:  Music  
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