ART BRUT Also Saturday at the Pitchfork Music Festival; see complete guide on page 23 for more info. The Ponys and Headache City open. 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $14.
ANE BRUN On her U.S. debut, A Temporary Dive (V2), this Norwegian singer-songwriter (now living in Sweden) infuses her tales of romantic misery with a whiff of self-deprecating humor. "Rubber & Soul" opens with the lines "In my mind I'm crawling on your floor / Vomiting and defeated," but she stays balanced by maintaining her self-awareness ("I can't believe I'm writing a song / Where friend rhymes with end"). "Song No. 6," a duet with Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith, was written for the wedding of two friends, but there's a touch of sarcasm there too: "It would be so easy / To sing a sobby pink song about you." The tunes ride on gentle guitar picking, light percussion, and tastefully arranged strings, with Brun's breathy yet forceful voice always up front. Xavier Rudd headlines, the Wood Brothers play second, and Ane Brun opens. 9 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage, 773-929-5959 or 312-559-1212, $14 in advance, $16 at the door, 18+. --Peter Margasak
TIM LEE BAND In the 80s the south was a haven for great guitar pop (the dB's, R.E.M., Let's Active), and my favorite also-rans from that scene were Mississippi's Windbreakers. Bobby Sutliffe and Tim Lee, the band's two key members, have put out decent solo records since parting ways in 1991, but neither has matched the ultrahooky folk-rock of their old band. On his latest disc, Concrete Dog (Fundamental), Lee swaps his pop smarts for garage-rock simplicity: his grainy voice is still in fine form, but his melodies are swallowed by noisy guitar. Healthy White Baby headlines, the Autumn Defense plays second, and the Tim Lee Band opens. 10 PM, Martyrs', 3855 N. Lincoln, 773-404-9494 or 800-594-8499, $10. --Peter Margasak
MEXICAN CHEERLEADER In a reversal of the way getting older typically works, I keep thinking Mexican Cheerleader has been around a lot longer than seven years. Apparently more focused on gigging than on recording for much of that time, these veterans of Apocalypse Hoboken and Oblivion have finally thrown another bone to the home-listening set: the new Mexican Mystery Tour EP (Underground Communique) is eight spicy slices of fiercely eclectic punk, like music hacked from a revolving hunk of al pastor meat. This is the second of two release shows; the Black Beauties, the Plastik Explosives, and Tom Tom Petty open, and DJ Pete Kourim spins throughout. 9 PM, the Note, 1565 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-0011 or 866-468-3401, $5 in advance, $7 at the door. --Monica Kendrick
PHOENIX Phoenix should be the easiest band in the world to hate. For one thing, they're French, and everyone--even the French--hates French rock bands. Plus they were embraced early on by celebrity dilettantes Sofia and Roman Coppola. That's why I was more than a little surprised when "Everything Is Everything," from 2004's Alphabetical, sunk its satiny claws and Timbaland-lite beat deep into my brain--it didn't leave my DJ set lists for two years. The songs on their new one, It's Never Been Like That (Astralwerks), have more of a soft-rock mellow charm--less spectacular, but totally groovy. French Kicks and the Dirty Things open, and the Arcadias spin throughout. 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, sold out. --Miles Raymer
VOXTROT This Austin indie-pop group recently followed up last year's terrific Raised by Wolves EP with a second mini album, Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives (Cult Hero). The five vigorously hooky songs still draw from the same gene pool: the smilier side of the Smiths, the coyer tunes by the Cure, and the nervier stuff from the Kinks and the People Who Loved Them, namely the Television Personalities and Britain's entire C86 scene. This is the official Pitchfork Music Festival opening-night party; Sunset Rubdown headlines, Voxtrot plays second, the Joggers open, and the Life During Wartime DJs spin throughout the night. Also, comedians Todd Barry (see Critic's Choice in Section 2), Eugene Mirman, and Aziz Ansari will all perform 20-minute sets after the Joggers play. 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $16, 18+. --J. Niimi
A-TRAK, FLOSSTRADAMUS Also Saturday at the Pitchfork Music Festival; see complete guide on page 23 for more info. A-Trak also performs at Gallery 37; see Tuesday. 9 PM, Sonotheque, 1444 W. Chicago, 312-226-7600, $10, $8 with Pitchfork festival ticket stub.
DIPLO, BONDE DO ROLE Also Sunday at the Pitchfork Music Festival; see complete guide on page 23 for more info. The complete lineup, headliner first: Diplo, Bonde do Role, Greg Haus, James Lauer. 10 PM, Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-4140 or 312-559-1212, $10.
CHICAGO UNDERGROUND TRIO Also Saturday at the Pitchfork Music Festival; see complete guide on page 23 for more info. Mazurek and Taylor are playing the fest as the Chicago Underground Duo, but here they'll be joined by bassist Jason Ajemian. The duo also performs at the Empty Bottle; see Wednesday. 8 PM, DANK Haus, 4740 N. Western, 773-561-9181, $5. All ages.
ROOTS This Philly crew dropped their most recent disc, The Tipping Point, two years ago, and last fall's two-volume retrospective Home Grown! (Geffen) was strictly for the most dedicated of headz. Their forthcoming full-length, Game Theory, is due on Def Jam at the end of August, and it sounds like they're looking for some new fans--the tracks the band's made available online are hard-hitting, streamlined, and commercial. Nobody in hip-hop tours like the Roots, and live they're super seasoned and furiously on point. Talib Kweli and the Pharcyde open, and Roots drummer ?uestlove spins at an afterparty at Funky Buddha Lounge. 9 PM, Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee, 312-752-6601 or 312-559-1212, $27 in advance, $30 at the door, 18+. --Jessica Hopper
GHISLAIN POIRIER, A-TRAK Also Saturday at the Pitchfork Music Festival; see complete guide on page 23 for more info. A-Trak also performs at Sonotheque; see Saturday. Eliot Lipp headlines. 7 PM, Gallery 37, rooftop terrace, 66 E. Randolph, 312-744-6630. Free. All ages.
CHICAGO UNDERGROUND DUO Also Saturday at the Pitchfork Music Festival; see complete guide on page 23 for more info. The group also performs as a trio at DANK Haus; see Monday. 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $10.
NICOLAI DUNGER Here's My Song, You Can Have It...I Don't Want It Anymore/Yours 4-Ever Nicolai Dunger, the most recent album by this distinctive Swedish singer, finally got a U.S. release in March courtesy of Zoe Records. Cut in 2004 with members of Mercury Rev, the album beautifully captures Dunger's deeply expressive voice navigating an uncanny mixture of blue-eyed soul, rootsy pop, country, and rock. Jim and Jennie & the Pinetops headline and Barry McCormick opens. 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $12 in advance, $14 at the door. --Peter Margasak
VON FREEMAN Since hooking up with Premonition Records in 2001, this Chicago tenor great has released four superb albums--almost as many as he had in the previous 79 years of his life. The new Good Forever reunites him with pianist Richard Wyands, bassist John Webber, and drummer Jimmy Cobb, the simpatico group that backed him on 2004's The Great Divide. While Vonski's mastery of up-tempo bebop is the most celebrated facet of his game, his skill on ballads is just as great. By concentrating on the slow numbers, the new album lets us bask in Freeman's singular, consciously sharp intonation, his ability to trip up time--like a DJ putting his finger on a record for a meaningful instant--and the profound emotional substance of the performances. In the liner notes label head Mike Friedman recalls requesting a second take on one of the tunes, to which Freeman responded, "I don't know, man. It's hard to improvise when you're cryin'." He's joined here by the band on the record; trumpeter Corey Wilkes and his Young Lions Project open. 6:30 PM, Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 100 N. Michigan, 312-742-1168. Free. All ages. --Peter Margasak
VETIVER Like the Mountain Goats, Smog, and Cat Power, this is a singer-songwriter wrapped in a band name. On Vetiver's two full-lengths, only Andy Cabic sings and plays on every song; he also wrote them all, with a little help from his buddy Devendra Banhart, who contributes backing vocals and guitar to both records. Banhart cast a long shadow on Vetiver's self-titled debut, but Cabic's less flamboyant persona dominates the recent To Find Me Gone (DiCristina). With its traditional rustic strumming and funereal beat and its lyrics about a man in need of redemption, "I Know No Pardon" reminds me of the Band, and "Been So Long" is a gorgeous slice of acoustic raga rock. Lichens opens and the Soft as Fuck DJs spin throughout. 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8 in advance, $10 at the door. --Bill Meyer