Tuesday, Nov. 29 - Wednesday, Nov. 30, Suzanne Vega, Joe's Pub, $30
"Do-do-do-do/do-do-do/do-do-do-do/do-do-do-do/I am sitting / In the morning / At the diner / On the corner..." Crud. Now that song is stuck in our heads all day. Anyway, people might try to tell you that Suzanne Vega was a one hit wonder, but don't believe their lies! "99.9F°" is a pretty great song as well, and "Luka" is easily the most inappropriately cheery song about child abuse ever. Discussions of Vega's songbook seem apt, as she will play Joe's in support of her Close-Up series, which features stripped-down re-recordings from throughout her career and makes a solid argument that there's more to her than that song that you're humming to yourself right now.
Thursday, Dec. 1 (Bell House) and Friday, Dec. 2 (Maxwell's), Hot Snakes, $19
No, we’ll never get a Drive Like Jehu reunion, due to some band members laying down their instruments for good. But for the moment, we’ll take the kid-sister post-hardcore stalwarts Hot Snakes (though personally we’d love to see a Beehive and the Barracudas piece). For the unaware, Hot Snakes spawned cult punk faves Pitchfork, Cupids, Sultans, Burning Brides, and currently active Night Marchers and Obits. It seems still up in the air if drummer Mario Rubalcaba – who’s currently been ripping the skins in Off! and Rocket From the Crypt – will be on skins for the shows. But these two-off shows will be a magnet for the nerdy and historied alike.
Thursday, Dec. 1, Future Islands, Ed Schrader, Zomes, Bowery Ballroom, $14
If Future Islands’ recent LP On the Water hasn’t caught your attention yet, a live introduction couldn’t be more simultaneously bracing and yet comforting. The subdued post-punk heartthrob’s sets are becoming legendary in their own right, rife with a sweaty theatrics, blistering dance numbers and the kind of warm sentiment you could take home to mom, if only your band wasn’t a nomadic quartet bent on decrying American evasion while simultaneously putting their hearts on their sleeves.
Saturday, Dec. 3, Black Star (Mos Def & Talib Kweli), Best Buy Theater, $39.50
Thoughtful, socially-conscious rap that still thumps hard? Blame it on the Black Star. The pair of Talib Kweli and Mos Def have had plenty of bright spots in their solo careers, but many of their fans continue to think they do their best work together, Mos pushing Kweli to go hard on the mic, Kweli pushing Mos to actually focus on rap and not guest star on "House" or something. (Though Mos has been the best part of "Dexter" this season.) After years of rumors there's recently been...even more rumors that the pair will soon finally release a follow-up to their 1998 alt-rap classic Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star. It's understandable if you think this is unlikely, but considering that the pair recently released two new singles ("Fix Up" and "You Already Knew") to iTunes and dropped by "The Colbert Report" last month, maybe this time Black Star will finally shine again.
Saturday, Dec. 3, YACHT, Parenthetical Girls, Santos Party House, $15
Touring in support of this year's Shangri-La, the Portland electro-pop duo have recruited a tight, wiry backing band and have burned down stages all year, turning their philosophically minded dance tunes into punk-by-way-of Talking Heads bangers. But the highlight of each show remains the playful chemistry and coordinated dance moves of Jona Bechtolt and Claire Evans, who are often happy to explain the Yacht theory of positive living in between their coordinated jumping jacks.