Full disclosure: Is/Is is a Minneapolis band, a relatively popular one, and I have seen it perform multiple times. It does kind of a lo-fi, DIY, postpunk thing, like releasing new music on limited-edition cassettes. It would all sound a little too precious if Is/Is wasn't such a legitimate rock band, managing to somehow turn fuzzy, disjointed, static chords into intricate and sophisticated songs. Lead singer Sarah Rose layers her vocals with some oozy distortion, giving the band's recently released self-titled album a deliciously sludgy sound.
Tuesday, October 8, at FOKL (556 Central, Kansas City, Kansas, foklcenter.com)
Vampire Weekend has accomplished a lot for itself in the six or so years that the band has been putting out music, moving fast up the venue ladder to play, for example, the Barclays Center last month. Compared with that, this date at the Midland is like a club show. The band's new Modern Vampires of the City contains enough smart, bouncy music that at least one song is sure to get "Horchata" out of everyone's head. Yeah, it's tempting to write these guys off as arrogant hacks — that can happen when bands lose their "indie" cool and gain widespread popularity (or when the band members happen to all dress like arrogant hacks). But if you resist that temptation, this promises to be a tight and entertaining show.
Tuesday, October 8, at the Midland (1228 Main, 816-283-9921)
Once upon a time, I bought a record by Dashboard Confessional. Then I grew up and became a real person, and I forgot all about them. Many moons later, Dashboard frontman Chris Carrabba formed a new band called Twin Forks (alongside members of the Narrative, Bad Books and Manchester Orchestra), and that group has re-emerged with a sound that's a lot closer to Americana than to emo. Twin Forks focuses on old-fashioned foot-stomping, mandolin-picking music, and you know what? It's actually pretty good. Carrabba's voice is well-suited to spirited folk rock — almost suspiciously so, given the chorus-sing-along craze driven by Mumford & Sons. Still, one thing is sure: Unlike most young alt-folk bands making similarly themed music, Twin Forks has the benefit of knowing what to do with its instruments.
Thursday, October 3, at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)
If you ask the Internet, Papa is going to be the next big thing in indie music. In 2011, it released an EP titled A Good Woman Is Hard to Find, with lead singer and drummer Darren Weiss putting down vocals that recall the Clash at its most anthem-glorious. The recording is chock-full of robust, echo-y drumbeats and well-placed synths and arena-rock energy. Now the band is set to put out a debut full-length October 8, and it's opening for Cold War Kids for most of that month before traipsing through Europe. So this is your chance to get a taste before things get obnoxious. In a year, you can say you saw Papa in the intimate Czar Bar, and then you can complain that the group is overrated.
Friday, October 4, at Czar (1531 Grand, 816-421-0300)
A few years ago, I discovered Oh Land — born Nanna Øland Fabricius in her native Denmark — and thought that she was saving electronic pop music from itself. Oh Land's latest album, the exuberant, shimmering Wish Bone, is proof of my excellent taste and foresight. This fairy-voiced chanteuse is oh-so-likable, and her elaborate orchestrations stay lodged inside your head for days.
Sunday, October 6, at the Granada (1020 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-842-1390)