OF MONTREAL, LA LUZ
Kevin Barnes loves to remind you that he's a very clever songwriter, and when the of Montreal frontman is at the top of his game, he can create some of the most delightful indie-pop music that you'll ever hear. With panache and surreal lyrics that can double as an SAT vocab study guide, Barnes's best albums often sound effortlessly accomplished. But if you're anything like me, your interest in of Montreal may have started to wane about four albums ago, when Barnes's bloated alter ego, Georgie Fruit, started showing up and contributing puzzlingly overwrought funk jams. Thankfully, of Montreal's latest release, Lousy with Sylvianbriar, is a return to form (of sorts). Barnes has narrowed his focus and slowed down his pace slightly, resulting in a rustic psych-lite record that's more relaxed than you might be used to, taking cues from late-'60s songwriters like Donovan and Gram Parsons. I'll be eager to see how Barnes and company's zany live antics treat such an uncluttered collection of new songs. Tonight is also a homecoming show for the barreling doo-wop/surf titans La Luz, who have been opening for of Montreal on this US tour. Neumos, 8 pm, $18.
ISKA DHAAF, YOU ARE PLURAL
You Are Plural make propulsive and shadowy music. Using an unlikely combination of cellos and Wurlitzer organ, the Olympia band tends to flicker and dash like an animal's eye-shine in a darkened forest. Rapidly scintillating, yet pulsating with a nocturnal intensity, my favorite songs of theirs are brisk, energizing, and defiantly hopeful. You Are Plural open tonight for Iska Dhaaf, a booming Seattle duo (made up of ex–Mad Rad member Nate Quiroga and Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band's Benjamin Verdoes) that spent three years solidifying their sonorous and caustic craft before finally erupting in the past few months. Celebrating the release of a new 7-inch, they will be playing an intimate set with accompaniment from a string quartet. Fremont Abbey Arts Center, 7 pm, $8–$16.