The District Sound

Alexi Murdoch

Sixth & I Historic Synagogue
Oct. 18

Alexi Murdoch is one of the few artists who has managed to remain a hermit in spite of achieving critical and commercial successes.

His song “Orange Sky” has been featured in countless teen dramas, like “Dawson’s Creek” and “The O.C.,” and also gained a prominent spot in possibly one of the best film soundtracks of the last decade, “Garden State.”

Murdoch writes beautiful acoustic melodies, with a single guitar forming songs that grow and swell with emotion. But it is his raspy baritone that wins over fans and critics alike.

The song “All of My Days” may be one of the most hauntingly beautiful pieces around, with an intimate quality not often expressed by today’s songwriters.

Score: Gorgeous lyrics, filled with cohesive stories and advice. A rare chance to see a master perform.

Bore: A shallow catalog means, when you go home wanting more, there may be no more to get.


The Civil Wars

The Lincoln Theatre
Oct. 23

Thank the Lord that Joy Williams met John Paul White after a songwriting session in Nashville, Tenn.

The duo behind The Civil Wars quickly penned their first hit, “Poison and Wine,” but it was their explosive second single, “Barton Hollow” that catapulted them to success.

Oh, and a tweet from Miss Taylor Swift didn’t hurt.

Reported as the first emerging act to be featured on both VH1 and CMT simultaneously, there is no doubt these two have talent. Williams’ voice cuts through the beautiful orchestration with a tone that is sultry and longing at the same time. When combined with White’s intricate, earthy guitar playing and vocals with sweeping highs and powerful lows, the formula is one for instant success.

“Barton Hollow” is a beautiful track, but to really understand the group, listen to their cover of the Smashing Pumpkins’ hit “Disarm” from last years South by Southwest Festival.

Score: Dynamic, beautiful and classic, their songs will hook you and never let go. The Old West is part of their charm.

Bore: I wish they were married.


Portugal. The Man

The 9:30 Club
Oct. 25

These Wasilla, Alaska rockers gained notoriety this summer after Lollapalooza, but not for the reason you may think.

Their van, along with all of their gear, was stolen following their amazing set, but the group recovered nearly all of it with the help of Twitter.

Reinvigorated from this brush with rock-star tragedy, Portugal. The Man has been making the rounds throughout the United States, rocking small venues with ease. The band’s albums all have an attention-grabbing synth, power-pop tone to them, with soaring vocals and lyrics that burrow in your mind.

For a truly fantastic experience, check out the second half of the deluxe edition of their 2009 release, “The Satanic Satanist,” which features acoustic renditions of the original disc.

Score: The power rock with pop overtones. Expect great solos, and some really great banter.

Bore: Guess who else is from Wasilla? Let’s hope she doesn’t decide to stop by. More realistically, be prepared for plenty of pseudo-hipsters.

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