Saints of Valory (May 8, 3:30 p.m.)
Who: An Austin-based modern rock band whose members hail from Brazil, Greece and Southeast Asia
First spin: Fans of Imagine Dragons will find much to like, especially the earnest, percussion-chopped “Long Time Coming.” The plea-for-peace, children’s choir-featuring “Winter Lights” is on par with Coldplay’s sweeping anthems.
Why see ’em: Straight-ahead rock ’n’ roll never goes out of style, espec ially when it’s this passionate and sincere.
Smallpools (May 8, 6 p.m.)
Who: An effervescent LA quartet fond of fizzy synth-pop, kicky ’80s New Wave and danceable indie rock.
First spin: Their self-assured and impeccably arranged debut Lovetap!, brimming with chewy hooks, zippy keyboards and frontman Sean Scanlon’s keening yelps.
Why see ’em: Judging by that strong LP—and the fact that the band sounds close behind Passion Pit and Bleachers in the race for electro-pop superiority—Smallpools seem poised to break out in 2015.
Sepultura (May 9, 6:30 p.m.)
Who: An influential Brazilian heavy metal band celebrating 30 years together.
First spin: It’s tough to choose just one record (or era). but 1996’s Roots—the last LP featuring original vocalist Max Cavalera—is a good place to start, thanks to its monstrous low end, piledriving riffs and bleeding-throat vocals.
Why see ’em: Sepultura rarely tours the U.S., plus guitarist Steve Vai is guesting here, making this performance even more singular.
James Bay (May 15, 3:30 p.m.)
Who: The buzziest singer-songwriter export from the U.K. since Sam Smith and Hozier.
First spin: Bay’s debut album, Chaos and the Calm, resembles Ryan Adams’ sparsest work with The Cardinals; songs like “Scars” and “Let It Go” are restrained folk-rock tunes highlighted by the young Brit’s soulful, wise-beyond-his-years voice.
Why see him: Bay is at the forefront of a new generation of young folkies—and has the songwriting chops and sincerity to be a leader of the strummy empire.
Tove Lo (May 15, 4:30 p.m.)
Who: A Stockholm-born singer-songwriter with a predilection for the kind of ultra-modern pop Sweden cranks out by the bushel.
First spin: Although the breakup anthem “Habits (Stay High)” was her breakthrough—perhaps because of its brutal honesty about post-romantic life (e.g., Twinkie binges, poor hookup choices)—the single “Talking Body” is superior, thanks to its sultry synth underbelly and sizzling beats.
Why see her: Tove Lo is a hypnotic, mesmerizing live performer whose smoky voice is as well-suited to the stage as it is the studio.
With a solidified new lineup and a memorable new record, now is the time to catch Chris Crisci and company.
His new band opens up for one of his original idols, Howard Jones, at the Cannery on July 13.
The band will celebrate its new sound with a joint release party with local blues-rock outfit Damaris, July 12 at 172 inside the Rio.
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