It has been five long, sad, lonely years since Morrissey last graced the area with his immaculately coifed presence. After two canceled tours, a bleeding ulcer and many broken hearts since his 2009 Midland date, it seems that everyone's favorite melancholy man is returning for real this time. Morrissey is also preparing to release his 10th solo record in July, the miserably titled World Peace Is None of Your Business, featuring tracks like "Neal Cassady Drops Dead," "Kick the Bride Down the Aisle" and "Earth Is the Loneliest Planet." So there's a lot to look forward to Tuesday at Liberty Hall.
Tuesday, May 20, Liberty Hall (644 Massachusetts, Lawrence,
Blood Red Shoes
The latest self-titled album from Brighton, England's Blood Red Shoes opens with nearly two minutes of bone-rattling, instrumental fury. It's an introduction that sets the pace for the rest of the record's 11 blistering songs, as Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell, who share lead vocals, drag their demons out by the horns and beat them senseless. It's hard to believe Carter on "Speech Coma," as she delivers the chorus like blows to a punching bag: I can't get the words out/It's like someone cut out my tongue. You've got to admire a band that, 10 years in, still manages to sound convincingly angry all the time.
Wednesday, May 21, Czar (1531 Grand, 816-421-0300)
Perfect Pussy lead singer Meredith Graves provided me with a most surprising and memorable phone conversation when, in December, we spent nearly an hour discussing the politicizing of her band's music, her views as a feminist and her love of Roland Barthes. Graves is a sharp observer, full of opinions — opinions that spill out on the violent and heady debut recording (really a four-track demo) that Perfect Pussy put out last November. In March, the Syracuse noise-punk band released its long awaited Say Yes to Love, a voracious onslaught of purposeful chaos. Its 23 minutes pound you with all the force of a battering ram, one on which Graves proudly sits, leading the charge.
Sunday, May 18, Czar (1531 Grand, 816-421-0300)
Little Green Cars
Despite the massive hype that accompanied Absolute Zero, the 2013 debut album from Dublin folk-rock quintet Little Green Cars, the record sounded not too far from the Lumineers' debut a year earlier: steroid-driven crescendos, swaggering vocal harmonies and exuberant choruses recounting the oh-so-relatable follies of love. It's an excellent album, to be sure, but the remarkable thing about Little Green Cars is Faye O'Rourke, the lone female singer. She's the Florence Welch-like powerhouse, the secret weapon that should be up front and in charge more often than the quarter or so of the album she gets this time. Listen to the stirring single "My Love Took Me Down to the River to Silence Me" for proof of her talents — or hear them in person Monday night.
Monday, May 19, RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
It's a charming enough tale: A band with a twee name worthy of an extra-long Liz Lemon eye roll manages to climb above its assumed limitations, thanks to a mighty hero and a bit of luck. In the case of the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, the protagonist is Kip Berman, a frontman with all the right ideas. Somehow, since forming the Pains in 2007, Berman has managed to push the group's sound forward by deftly upcycling smart elements of late-1980s and early '90s pop. If the early reviews of the Pains' forthcoming Days of Abandon are accurate, we can expect similarly minded silky, perky jams, just in time for summer.
Thursday, May 15, RecordBar (1020 Westport Road, 816-753-5207)