INDIE | Those Lavender Whales
w/ Valley Maker
Fri. June 23
9 p.m.
The Royal American

Even before he was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor that rocked his world, Those Lavender Whales frontman Aaron Graves wrote songs that deftly blended wizened philosophical ponderings with quirky, loveable exuberance on top of adventurous, free-spirited indie folk-pop arrangements that had a sort of DIY grandeur to them. On the group’s latest effort, My Bones are Singing, Graves’ health struggles only seem to deepen the themes and fascinations that have long been intrinsic to his music. He writes elliptically about his illness, careful to give it due attention while transcending its specifics to give these tunes universal appeal. Knowing the personal details give additional heft to the existential crisis of something like the indelible “Oh My God,” but the jittery adrenaline of the song carries its own self-contained logic. In some ways, the biographical angle of the record belies the musical leap forward Graves and his fellow Whales have taken. Shaking off the last of their ramshackle roots, the band has never sounded more sumptuous than on Bones. Utilizing far more electric guitar textures and vintage synthesizer sounds — likely due to the involvement of Chaz Bundick of Toro y Moi, who produced and recorded much of the record — many of these songs try on ambitious musical digressions, from the Beatles-tinged pop psychedelia of the bridge on “I Feel Like” to the thunderous guitar crashes that define “How to Cook Everything.” The addition of second guitarist/multi-instrumentalist (and former City Paper music writer) Patrick Wall, who appears on the record as well, has allowed the band to translate the grander sound live, too, allowing the band to prove, as their song goes, “There’s good types of growing.” ­—Kyle Petersen FRIDAY


PUNK | The Monsters from Outer Space

w/ The Gutter Saints, Stardog
Fri. June 23
9 p.m.
Tin Roof

Horror punk is still alive and well with Charleston trio the Monsters from Outer Space (MOFOS). Members Dr. Frankfurter (vocals, bass) Vlad Crudd (drums), and Rockso Wolfsblood (guitar) officially formed the band four months ago to bring locals their blend of spooky, rockabilly punk crafted in part thanks to the influence of the Misfits, Ramones, Dead Kennedys, Johnny Cash, and Blitzkid. Bill Sparkes, a.k.a. Dr. Frankfurter, was inspired to start the band after attending Riot Fest last year and realizing the absurd lack of true horror-punk bands back in Charleston. “Since horror movies and punk music have always been among my favorite things, it only seemed natural to put the two together,” he says. “Rob (Vlad Crudd) and Jay (Rockso Wolfsblood) were both interested in the ad I placed on Craigslist, and we’ve been together ever since.” MOFOS are working on a full-length album called Dead from the Beginning, which includes new versions of songs off their Wolfsbane EP in addition to 12 new tracks. The LP is due out on, duh, October 31. One look at the MOFOS’ painted, smiling faces and it’s clear that this is indeed what has been missing locally: guys who can take any ol’ day and turn it into Halloween. Boo-ya. —Kelly Rae Smith FRIDAY


REGGAE | Reggae Fusion Day Party
w/ DJ Scrib, DJ Don Breez, Walter Brown
Sat. June 24
4 p.m.
Redux Contemporary Art Center

Sweltering heat can be a drag, but no fear — summer also means celebration with Do Work Media’s upcoming Reggae Fusion Day Party, an event that fuses reggae and hip-hop. “Lovers of both genres, Do Work Media aims to provide returners and newcomers with a day party that gives them the motivation to move and groove,” says Do Work Media’s Vaughn Postema. Guests can expect free jerk chicken, two DJ performances from DJ SCrib and Don Breeze, live painting from Kolpeace, photography from Infinite Desires, vending from African Fusion and Kamasole Vintage Goods, and a special performance from hip-hop artist Walter Brown. For further updates, go to facebook.com/doworkmedia. —Kelly Rae Smith SATURDAY


POP ROCK | City on Down
Sat. June 24
8 p.m.
My Father’s Moustache

An eye roll or a groan normally accompanies the mention of pop from us avid music listeners, however, the genre is getting a makeover from City on Down. The local act is on a mission to rescue popular music from the abyss of meaningless lyrics and emotionless instrumentation, and their new EP is a great stride toward doing just that. “Come with Me” features a climbing guitar and melancholy piano that parallel the yearning captured in the lyrics. “Drunk Alone” explores the destructive nature of both affection and alcohol, and their often deadly combination. In “Toxic,” desolate piano and violin work alongside a building percussion and electric guitar to create a hopeless, lethal atmosphere where nothing (especially a relationship) can survive. “That’s really our goal, to change this idea of popular music, catchy songs, and catchy instrumentation … to add a story to it, to add something that is shared at the end of the day,” lead singer-songwriter and pianist Greg Keys says. Snag the EP at the release party this weekend or, as of Sun. June 25, download it via iTunes, Spotify, or cityondownmusic.com. —Ashton Mullinax SATURDAY