L.A.-based Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian are the core of Capital Cities, a duo whose electro-pop swirls around inside your noggin’ long after one of their songs has finished. Their retro-leaning originals, including massive hit “Safe and Sound,” are crooned with loads of harmony while their covers — “Nothing Compares 2 U,” “Staying Alive,” Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” — are corky but easy on the ears. The combo’s funky bass lines, flowing trumpet, and happy synth are custom-made for dance clubs but don’t sound too shabby in the car, either, especially while navigating snarled roadways. Last summer’s debut album, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery, is a keeper. The duo is on the road with a crack back-up band for their “Campus Consciousness” spring tour, hitting mostly colleges. They will perform on Sunday, April 13, 8 p.m. at UNC Charlotte’s Halton Arena, 9201 University City Blvd. www.haltonarena.com.
Clearly, Israel is not on too many radars when it comes to the blues, but lead guitarist, composer and producer Naftaly is redefining those parameters while putting Israeli blues on the map. Along with songwriter and lead vocalist Eleanor Tsaig, the Tel Aviv-based combo plays and sings the blues as if they’ve led hard-scrabbled, road-worn lives in Chicago or Memphis. Naftaly’s crisp guitar playing and Tsaig’s smoky croon ably inject soul into electric blues, with just a touch of funk and rock. Sinewy slower numbers are intermingled with feisty blues barn burners. Formed just a few years back and with a couple of albums released, the Ori Naftaly Band continues to make a mark on global blues stages. They will perform live on Sunday, April 6, 2014 at the Double Door Inn, Charlotte.
Bob Mould has released "Hey Mr. Grey" - a new track from his upcoming album Beauty & Ruin, set to be released by Merge Records on June 9, 2014. Listen to the track here: