Christopher Owens, Phoenix
CHRISTOPHER OWENS, MELTED TOYS
With his first solo record, Lysandre, Christopher Owens has stepped away from the mythology that consumed him and his old band. As the face of the indie-darling group Girls, Owens was a character study: a child born into a cult, a protégé of an eccentric oil heir, and, almost lastly, an incredible songwriter. The songs in Girls' catalog could be roughly split between cunning pop earworms and sometimes-sinister orchestral teenage symphonies. Lysandre is a radical shift. It's often very delicate, with soft flutes and gently strummed classical guitar. A recurring instrumental motif, in the form of "Lysandre's Theme," casts a haunting spell over the record, which primarily documents Owens's first nationwide tour, and the realization that playing for big indie crowds won't help you shake off years of personal trauma. The only perplexing question is why, at other moments, the music sounds like the sax-heavy '90s theme for America's Funniest Home Videos. Owens has remarked that Lysandre is an album he had to get out of his system. While it might startle some Girls fans, Lysandre certainly points to a potentially fruitful and varied career. Vera Project, 9 pm, $20 adv/$22 DOS.
PHOENIX, MAC DEMARCO
At this stage in their career, actively disliking Phoenix will take you way more effort than it's worth. Like, even though it's been three years since Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix took over the world, is anyone skipping over tracks from the album when they come on his or her radio/Pandora/Spotify? Previews of the group's upcoming album, Bankrupt!, show that the band is continuing on the path of Wolfgang's sleek and vaguely '80s synth terrain, but with more emphasis on robust experimentation than taut pop songs. Also, let me spout one outlandish, contrarian musical opinion: Phoenix's It's Never Been Like That totally outshines Wolfgang. With the exception of some five-minute-long, only-sort-of-good songs that keep the album from being perfect, It's Never Been Like That is way more interesting than anything the Strokes—or every other lauded neo-garage band—have ever put out. Paramount Theater, 8 pm, $35.