Fred Thomas (Image via PopGun)

Fred Thomas, Kyle Forester, What Next? 
Wednesday March 29, 8 pm at Union Pool: $12

Back in 2007 when Saturday Looks Good to Me had found its way into CMJ, the Detroit Metro Times wondered, “Will Success Spoil Fred Thomas?” The short answer has turned out to be, no, not really. The slightly longer one is that Fred Thomas is a nice guy. So nice is Fred Thomas, that even after finding some well-deserved recognition in a fast-shrinking corner of music that is still confoundingly known as “indie rock,” he still does normal cool-dude stuff. He recently even stooped to record the lowliest trash-life punk that Detroit has to offer: the K9 Sniffies, whose members I hesitate to even call “musicians” (but who I am obligated to admit are my friends, or whatever).

Thomas is a bright outlier amongst otherwise countless examples of the depressingly predictable trajectory typical of indie rock bands, which usually goes something like: (1) band borrows money from parents to move to NYC, (2) after minor success playing shows with $50 takeaways, band feels compelled to pay more marketable ditties to score record deal, (3) band gets signed, (4) repeat steps 1 & 2 for several years, (5) band’s least favorite song gets bought by car company, is immortalized in the form of a 30-second YouTube commercial that inspires users to hit “Skip Ad” over and over and/or throw objects at their laptop.

(Flyer by Jordan Corso via Facebook)

The Molochs & Cosmonauts: New York Residency, with Breanna Barbara, Emotional, Pale Joyride
Monday March 27, 8 pm to 11 pm at Berlin: $10

This is it, guys. Take a long, loving gaze at this bi-band, Transatlantic “residency” because it doesn’t get any cooler than this. If it does, count me out, because I could actually see myself keeling over and, hopefully relieving myself of at least a tiny bit of the pain by choking on my own envy-drool before the worst symptoms of an overdose-on-cool kick in.

The Molochs are named after a monstrous figure from the Bible, a pagan diety of the Canaanites often “associated with child sacrifice,” per Wikipedia. Luckily their music isn’t nearly as violent as all that–instead, these Molochs are decidedly chill, embodying that most romantic fantasy of joining a stripped-down band of artists who play whatever instruments they want, whenever they want, for no particular reason, and make their way to that mythical place, Out West. Or, as the band indicates their point of origin, simply “California”– a blasé inexactitude fitting of an epic landscape of bountiful beauty, and equally suitable for The Molochs and their counterparts, Cosmonauts, too. (Just between you and me, I’m also kind of hoping they throw down their instruments and start howling like werewolves until the whole show devolves into a giant baby feast/orgy.)

If that’s just far too sketchy a cliff to hang on, rest assured the Emotional a dreamy lil’ synth-obsessed rock band that sounds exactly like Ariel Pink. But, hey, I’m into it.

(Flyer va Brooklyn Bazaar)

Wax Idols, Pop. 1280, Decorum, DJ Shaun Durkan
Wednesday March 29, 8 pm at Brooklyn Bazaar: $10 in advance

What’s happening in California right now? It seems like this town’s overrun with Bay Area bands and outfits outta LA. Does that mean that ye olde cool people have finally given up the ghost and admitted that resisting the imminent Great Tech Takeover is futile? We all know what’s next, a slew of op-eds about how “OMG LA suxxx soooo hard” and “wow NYC rules.” Let’s be real–  it’s best to get out before that fateful day comes when an app-based laundry service van pulls up outta nowhere, kidnaps your sorry butt, and before you know it, you’re an independent contractor/indentured servant working for a startup that has no qualms about swapping out your brains for Siri.

These Cali bands seem to know something that we don’t.

Wax Idols count at least a couple of members with fantastical names like Hether Fortune and Peter Lightning, who sound as if they are visitors from this terrifying future– um, hence the gothy dark-wave music cut with a strange blend of math rock and tranced-out after-hours club electro-industrial dance music.

Brooklyn’s own Sacred Bones sparkly “industrial punk”/post-punk star– amongst their galaxy of same-such well-honed ’80s-loving bands– is Pop. 1280. They’ve been on hiatus for a minute after a whirlwind of touring all over the world last year, and this is the band’s first show of the year– which only adds to the future-minded vibes. “2017 is going to be much worse than 2016,” the band has promised on Facebook. That’s the spirit!