In the five or so years since its debut, Real Estate has done a bit of growing up — and it shows on Atlas, the latest album from the New Jersey natives. The effervescent pop and beach rock of Atlas at times sounds at odds with the band's despondent lyrics. On multiple songs, frontman and father-to-be Martin Courtney breezily delivers his ruminations on domesticity and laments the inevitability of time. It's a far cry from the summery stuff that first earned the quintet attention, but it's unlikely that longtime fans will mind much. What followers should wonder instead is whether Real Estate's reputation remains deserved for live shows that border on the dreary.
Thursday, April 10, Liberty Hall (644 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-749-1972)
Bailiff, Divino Niño
Kansas City gets a taste of Chicago when a trio called Bailiff, specializing in blues-tinged dark rock, takes over Czar. Bailiff's 2011 debut, Red Balloon, gave off the sweltering, muscular vibe of the Black Keys' early efforts. It was the sort of thing made to garner label attention. The band is preparing to release a follow-up full-length this spring; Remise, according to Bailiff's website, has elements of "West African blues, Celtic folk, and jagged electro-pop." We're optimistic anyway. Another Chicago band, garage-rock trio Divino Niño, opens.
Friday, April 11, Czar (1531 Grand, 816-421-0300)
Currents, the latest by Texas quintet Eisley — made up of three sisters, a brother and a cousin — sounds a bit more dramatic than the earlier material in the family band's catalog. The album's songs move up the dial a bit from atmospheric pop rock, eschewing popular electronic elements in favor of a few orchestral flourishes: creepy organ notes, reverberating crescendos, the sirenlike cries of lead singer Stacy DuPree. As the title suggests, a sea theme is at play — and not just because song titles include "Drink the Water" and "Blue Fish." The whole thing sounds eerily subaqueous, as though someone commissioned the band to create the soundtrack for an adult remake of The Little Mermaid. Let's hope that's the theme of Eisley's tour, too.
Monday, April 14, Czar (1531 Grand, 816-421-0300)
When rockabilly hero JD McPherson rolls into Knuckleheads Tuesday night, he'll be two days shy of the second anniversary of his debut album's release. Signs & Signifiers is still the only McPherson album in the bins, and no wonder: McPherson has tirelessly stayed on the road. Not coincidentally, his live show is a thing to behold. A rock-and-roll purist, McPherson lives for the stage, and his shows are riotous affairs that have the same raw energy heard on "Fire Bug," the 1950s-era single that shot McPherson onto the radio. Live, he's joined by an excellent backing band that includes Doug Corcoran on saxophone and Jimmy Sutton on bass. Crack open the pomade and polish your dancing boots.
Tuesday, April 15, Knuckleheads Saloon (2715 Rochester, 816-483-1456)
Make way for the little wrecking ball that could. On the off chance that you haven't already made up your mind about Miley Cyrus — whether she's leading the Disney Channel generation to the gates of hell or simply saving pop culture from tedium — her Tuesday-night Sprint Center concert still has a few tickets available. And secretly, deep down, aren't you a little intrigued? Don't you want to know how many foam fingers will be desecrated onstage and how many innocent teddy-bear costumes will be defiled? Cyrus' show is bound to pile shock-value antics on top of party-bus jams, and if there ever was a time to see her, it's now — before America loses interest and she winds up doing tame country covers.
Tuesday, April 15, Sprint Center (1407 Grand, 816-949-7000)