WHY?, ASTRONAUTALIS, DREAM TIGER
Of the many overused labels employed for describing a given album, the "career at a crossroads" tag may be the most meaningless. You could say that every record finds a band dealing with new challenges, whether it's a young group developing an identity among a host of influences, or an older outfit battling between exploring new sounds versus falling back on well-trodden sonic territory. But when Yoni Wolf spends almost all of the new Why? record taking stock of himself and his career, it's a puzzling venture that leaves one unsure of what's next for the group. Continuing to stray from Why?'s earlier hiphop sound toward straight-up indie rock, Mumps, etc. looks back on a lifetime of squalid glories, a mixture of proud, spiteful, and deflated memories. While the tone is often conflicted, it's still the same Yoni shining through, expertly fumbling around #firstworldproblems like sex, money, God, and the deep ambivalence that comes from shopping at Whole Foods. Neumos, 8 pm, $15.
THE SLACKERS, THE GEORGETOWN ORBITS
One of my favorite teenage rites of passage, and one that's lost a lot of cultural capital, is the ska phase. Not every disciple rides it out (or puts on a fedora), but ska has attracted a lot of goofy, wayward kids over the years, with its shuffling rhythms, dressed-up aesthetic, and overall inclusiveness—for socially conscious rockers and silly, upbeat groovers alike. The Cheez-Whiz third wave of late-'90s ska did its best to stamp out new converts, but maybe the ground is merely being kept fallow for another revival. (At least this rude boy can dream.) Tonight is an ideal opportunity for people looking to see their first ska show, and learn that the hallmark skank dance isn't too far off from a Harlem Shake. The Slackers are best known for penning the "Mrs. Robinson" of ska music, a coy New York City love letter entitled "Married Girl," and have been active for more than 20 years. Local group the Georgetown Orbits eschew any third-wave or Two Tone reference points, instead paying tribute to traditional Jamaican ska and roots-rock reggae. Crocodile, 8 pm, $15.