If you see just one show this week, you can't go wrong by Matt & Kim's gig at The Vogue. Not only is it for a good cause — the Riley Hospital for Children, via a non-profit run by IU med students, Rock for Riley — but Matt & Kim are also pretty darn charming. Their keyboard-and-drums dance-rock is as obvious as it comes — bright major synth chords accompanying four-to-the-floor beats, with lyrics concerned about a happy-go-lucky life in the big city — but not everything has to be complex, right? Otherwise, this is a rather slow week, save for promising visits by art-rapper Redfoo (on the tables) and up-and-coming producer Pretty Lights, and Sunday's taping at the Circle Theatre of The Vinyl Cafe, Canada's answer to A Prairie Home Companion. If you've got wheels, Bloomington offers a few more options.
Matt & Kim at The Vogue
Rock for Riley, the non-profit created by IU School of Medicine students to benefit the Riley Hospital for Children, is back with its annual concert. This year’s featured artist, the bright-eyed and punky Brooklyn duo Matt & Kim, completed a transition from DIY dance-punk to something a little more clean, cute and polished with a third full-length album, "Sidewalks," released in late 2010. LUNA Music Midtown (5202 N. College Ave.) will host a meet-and-greet with the band at 5 p.m. Thursday. 8 p.m., $22 (plus applicable fees), 21+.
Blair Clark at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
Carmel’s Blair Clark performs this week as part of programming related to the Eiteljorg’s latest exhibition, “Red/Black: Related Through History.” Clark, of Chippewa and African-American heritage, takes an eclectic approach, drawing from jazz, blues, pop and R&B, delivering it all with an ingratiating stage presence. 7 p.m., $12 members, $15 general public, all ages.
The Reanimated, Black Cat Rebellion, Aaron Omen, Switchblade Syndicate at Vollrath Tavern
Kind of a spooky night, pairing punk rock bands and a bunch of horror vendors. Most of the bands identify as horror-punk, a genre pioneered by The Misfits and characterized by lyrics about or inspired by B movies and other high, bloody camp. Vendors include T-shirt vendors Western Evil and Cadaverous Muse and makeup artists Kristalynn Price and In Your Face FX. 9 p.m., $8, 21+.
The Cave Singers, Lia Ices at Russian Recording in Bloomington
On a rather slow week round these parts, we turn our attention south to B-Town, where Russian Recording hosts of couple of acts on Bloomington’s Jagjaguwar label: rustic, folk-rock trio The Cave Singers and quiet, graceful piano-pop singer Lia Ices. The Cave Singers open up on their newest record, waxing warm and melancholy in a Fleet Foxes vein at one point, knocking out a juke joint blues at another. Ices keeps it simple, slow, occasionally soulful, other times experimental, and her duet with the like-minded Justin Vernon of Bon Iver is the highlight of her debut, Grown Known. She failed to impress at SXSW, partly because quiet doesn’t go over well in most crowded, outdoor venues, but her stuff should work before a more receptive audience. Worth the drive. 9 p.m., $10, 21+.
Revolve with Redfoo (LMFAO), John Larner, Stewbot at Sensu
The newly-opened Asian fusion restaurant and nightclub Sensu is already booking somewhat aggressively: last month’s grand opening featured DJ Enferno, Madonna’s tour DJ, and this week’s Revolve, a Friday weekly at the club, will feature DJ set by Redfoo, one-half of the alt hip-hop duo LMFAO and son to Motown founder Berry Gordy. 10 p.m., $20 GA, $50 VIP, 21+.
Roger Salloom at The Blarney Stone
The Worchester-born, Indiana University-educated Roger Salloom got his start in the music scene back in the late ‘60s, when a psych band named Saloom, Sinclair and Mother Bear seemed like a good pick-up for Chess Records, and became an opening act for Santana, Procol Harum and the like. That band never took off, and Salloom eventually returned to Massachusetts, where he raised his kids and drew a syndicated cartoon. But he kept a hand in it, becoming a solo performer, writing well-observed, convincing character studies, delivering them passionately But we might not be telling this story were it not for So Glad I Made It, a well-crafted feature doc about Salloom’s life that follows him on an attempt to revive his career — and that, most importantly, shines a light on Salloom’s work, which deserves the newfound attention. The film has screened on the Documentary Channel and is currently available as a free stream on the channel's site. 7 p.m., $10, 21+.
Mojo Gumbo with Andra Faye at Locals Only
Saturday at Locals, the Louisiana-inspired four-piece Mojo Gumbo will debut their latest album, Under the Influence, a collection of classic New Orleans tracks (“Hey Pocky Way,” “Drinkin’ Wine Spo Dee O Dee”), with a few originals mixed in for good measure, including the funky “Second Line Strut,” the ‘60s-sounding “Louisiana Cookin’” and the blues driven, double-entendre song “Love In The Kitchen.” With special guest Andra Faye, a Rocky Ripple native and former member of Saffire: The Uppity Blueswomen. For more, read Matt Socey's take on the new record. 8:30 p.m., 21+.
Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Café at Hilbert Circle Theatre
Radio host Stuart McLean is a gifted storyteller, sure; his ongoing saga about his alter ego Dave, Dave’s wife and two children and Dave’s record store (the world’s smallest) is consistently charming and moving, and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. But McLean is also quite the DJ and talent scout. He gave indie rock giant Owen Pallett one of his first gigs, hiring him as music programmer a little before he started arranging for Arcade Fire and performing as Final Fantasy. And much like his compatriot Garrison Keillor, he leaves room for both storytelling and live music during his live shows, which are usually broadcast from the hinterlands of Canada. This tour’s musical guests are Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet. 2:30 p.m., $37.50, 21+.
Drive-By Truckers at The Bluebird
The thinking person's choice for roots rock, Drive-By Truckers have successfully explored the important things in this (American) life for eight albums now, with the most recent project being this year's "The Big To-Do," a rumination on circus life and the relationship between wisdom and folly. 9 p.m., $20 (plus applicable fees), 21+.
Pretty Lights, Paper Diamond at the Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
The Colorado-based Derek Vince Smith, aka Pretty Lights, covers the territory, from spooky downtempo to aggressive club tracks. Smith hit the festival scene in 2009, adding a drummer to complement his live digital sampling. Lately, he’s has been giving away much of his music for free, including a spate of EPs, while asking other artists (Break Science, fellow Colorado producer Paper Diamond) to release work on his newly-founded Pretty Lights Music, also for free. This show, though, not free. 7:30 p.m., $23.50 advance, $25 door (plus applicable fees), 21+.
Lil’ Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross at IU Auditorium in Bloomington
And here’s one more from Bloomington: IU’s Union Board spent this year’s hard-earned Little 500 budget putting together an impressive hip-hop lineup headlined by child star turned legitimate artist turned felon Lil’ Wayne, who’s right back on the road following his November 2010 release from prison. Even while incarcerated, Wayne was still on the charts; his Sept. 2010 mini-album I Am Not a Human Being was inconsistent but still impressive, featuring the breezy single “Right Above It,” a track simultaneously inspired by STDs and sci-fi, “Gonnorrhea,” and collaborations with Nicki Minaj and Drake. Following on two years worth of high-profile mixtapes and singles, 2010 saw the release of a debut full-length, Pink Friday, by the hip-hop diva Nicki Minaj; it was a candy-coated affair that saw her trading verses with, and standing up to, Eminem. With Miami’s 300-pound gangster rapper Rick Ross. 7 p.m., $49.75-$99.75 (plus applicable fees), all ages.