WAYNE “THE TRAIN” HANCOCK On his forthcoming album, Tulsa (Bloodshot), Austin’s Wayne Hancock lays out the blueprint for his music: “Well, Lefty and Hank Williams / Lord, they sure could sing / And I wore the needle off my phonograph / Well, I went looking for them.” Though he occasionally tosses some hillbilly boogie into the mix, he mostly pays tribute to old-school honky-tonk, and I haven’t heard anybody lately who does it better. Hancock’s lyrics lack the poetic truisms of his inspirations, but his celebrations of Texas, life on the road, and the redemptive power of music have their own charms. Low Rent opens. 10:30 PM, Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 773-281-4444 or 866-468-3401, $10, 18+. –Peter Margasak

MEXICAN INSTITUTE OF SOUND Following a trail blazed in Tijuana by the Nortec Collective, who mixed old banda and norteno music with electronic beats, Mexican A and R guy Camilo Lara gives the techno treatment to a crate of mambo, cha-cha, cumbia, and Latin soul records. The results, as heard on his debut as the Mexican Institute of Sound, Mejico Maxico (Nacional), are fun if disposable, and I’ll bet the run-of-the-mill beats underneath Perez Prado’s trademark shout will sound a lot better after a few drinks. DJ Mother Hubbard spins throughout. 10 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $10 in advance, $12 at the door. –Peter Margasak

HAL RAMMEL To celebrate the tenth birthday of his Penumbra label, this Wisconsin instrument inventor and improviser has released three characteristically indescribable seven-inch singles on which he plays one of his most ingenious creations–an amplified painter’s palette fitted with wooden dowels of different lengths and thicknesses. He plucks or bows the dowels and abstracts the result with electronics, creating otherwordly music–gurgles, whistles, ringing bell-like undulations–with an internal logic that gives it a surprisingly soothing flow. He’ll be joined for this short performance by John Corbett, who’ll use turntables to manipulate the new singles. For tonight only, some of Rammel’s amplified palettes and a selection of his pinhole photography will be on display. 7 PM (exhibition opens at 6 PM), Corbett vs. Dempsey, 1120 N. Ashland, 773-278-1664. Free. All Ages. –Peter Margasak

STEEPWATER BAND I’ll give these south-siders credit for starting out the old-fashioned way: back in 1998 they were playing actual blues covers, not covers of bands that once covered bands that were influenced by bands that started out playing blues covers in 1964. Cutting out the middleman that way has given their gritty boogie-blues rock a certain depth, and their new album, Revelation Sunday (Diamond Day), offers a glimmer of hope that the way of Foghat and Free doesn’t always lead to Foreigner and Loverboy. This is a release party. Suffrajett and the Sleepers open. 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $9, 18+. –Monica Kendrick

Saturday 12

MINDERS The Minders’ new album, It’s a Bright Guilty World (Future Farmer), is stuffed with the kind of shiny, jangly music that used to get called college rock, and it’s got all that genre’s flaws as well as its virtues. Tunes like “Accidental Joy” are gleaming but unambitious, and though Martyn Leaper’s songs have all the flavor-spurt surprises you’d expect from a former member of the Elephant 6 collective, he works so hard to create his epiphanies that they wind up sounding labored. Satellite 66 and the Hot IQs open. 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $12. –Monica Kendrick

Sunday 13

ANOUSHKA SHANKAR Sitarist Anoushka Shankar was barely in her teens when she started performing live with her famous father, Ravi, in the early 90s. Before long she had a major-label contract, but as you might expect she’s struggled to find an independent musical identity. On her 2005 album, Rise (Angel), she finally began moving out of her dad’s shadow, presenting a laid-back mix of classical Indian melodies and electronic textures that’s dotted with flamenco flourishes. The disc isn’t very compelling, though: some of the backing musicians (including Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and tabla master Tanmoy Bose) sound terrific, but too often Shankar’s writing devolves into new age fluff, all drifty textures and melodic noodling. Here’s hoping a year of touring has added some bite to her music. Asian underground producer and percussionist Karsh Kale opens with a DJ set. a 6:30 PM, Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 100 N. Michigan, 312-742-1168. Free. All ages. –Peter Margasak

SILVERSUN PICKUPS Good afternoon, everybody, and welcome to another episode of I Second That Emo: Familiarity Breeds Contempt! Today’s four contestants from LA, Silversun Pickups, will have to, in the key of D major, try to not fuck up I-IV–the peanut butter sandwich of chord progressions–on “Little Lover’s So Polite,” from their new album, Carnavas (Dangerbird). The timer is set at five minutes–hit it! OK, Brian [Aubert, guitar/vocals] is definitely a guy–I wasn’t quite sure for a moment there, but that happened when we had Death Cab on too. Some bonus points for the Big Muff fuzz fest, but guys, time to smoke ’em if you got ’em. Ooh, sorry–time’s up! Thanks for playing–we have a Gilmore Girls sixth-season DVD box set for you to take home today. Page France opens and DJ Matt Fields spins throughout. 8 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $8 in advance, $10 at the door, 18+. –J. Niimi

Monday 14

AHLEUCHATISTAS Lots of instrumental math-rock bands make music so impenetrable it might as well be hermetically sealed, but this trio from Asheville, North Carolina–the name conflates Charlie Parker’s “Ah-Leu-Cha” and the suffix from “Zapatistas”–plays dizzyingly complex hyperspeed prog that’s also lean, direct, and even tuneful. On their third full-length, What You Will (Cuneiform), clean-toned guitar springs nimbly through the inhumanly detailed architecture constructed by the rhythm section: the bass does double duty, splitting time between surgically precise low-end wallops and labyrinthine lyrical lines, and the drums skitter atop bursts of volcanic double kick that if anything get extra power from the absence of the death-metal sludge that usually accompanies them. Inshi and Lovely Little Girls open. 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401. Free. –Peter Margasak

CAIRO GANG The Cairo Gang, a vehicle for in-demand local guitarist Emmett Kelly, plays a refined update of classic Brit folk with a post-rock wink. On the band’s self-titled debut album, released last month on Narnack, Kelly’s playing is both melancholic and mischievous, and though he rarely settles into a formal structure, the songs hardly feel like sketchbook doodles. This show is part of a monthlong Monday residency at the Hideout. Bird Show and Relaxation Record open. 9:30 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433, $5. –Bob Mehr

GARY NUMAN Yes, Gary Numan was biting David Bowie when he devised his persona–something like “I’m a robosexual alien from 81st-dimensional England, which is in fact a suburb of East Berlin, and I need to get back to Mars because I forgot my heroin, which I use as a steroid cream.” But he honed it to a cold, sharp edge, laying the template for synth punk with “Cars”–which has also become a timeless pop tune by sounding permanently dated . . . to 2,000 years from now. New Skin opens. 9 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, $20 in advance, $22.50 at the door, 18+. –J. Niimi

Tuesday 15

DIXIE CHICKS One mild moment of Bush hateration was all it took for red-state country-music fans to dump the Dixie Chicks and never look back–just last week 14 of the trio’s upcoming concerts in the south and midwest were canceled due to lagging ticket sales. But while the Dixie Chicks might not be welcome in Dixie anymore, they’ve rebounded nicely. The new Taking the Long Way (Sony), produced by Rick Rubin and prominently featuring local-boy-done-good Jonny Polonsky, is plump with tasteful, buoyant pop hooks and direct-from-happytown vocal harmonies that gently cradle the record’s intimate and defiant lyrics. Bob Schneider opens. 7:30 PM, United Center, 1901 W. Madison, 312-455-4500 or 312-559-1212, $45-$65. All ages. –Jessica Hopper

Wednesday 16

LASSE MARHAUG & KEVIN DRUMM Norwegian sound artist Lasse Marhaug toned himself down a bit when he and John Hegre formed Jazzkammer back in 1998, but he never entirely abandoned his love for sonic brutality. The duo’s brilliant new Metal Music Machine (Smalltown Supernoise), featuring members of Norwegian black metal bands Enslaved and Manngard, makes that perfectly plain, reducing metal to its building blocks–overtone-laden power chords, jackhammer beats, in-the-red caterwauling–and then raising the stakes with speaker-shredding electronic noise. Here Marhaug will team up with Chicagoan Kevin Drumm, his collaborator on 2002’s ominous Frozen by Blizzard Winds. On Drumm’s most recent recording, a split LP with 2673, high-frequency tones snake wildly through a corrosive, throbbing buzz; his gut-rumbling opening for Sunn O))) in May was a model of economy, doing plenty of damage in just 15 minutes. After his set with Drumm, Marhaug will perform as part of Fire Room, a promising new trio with Ken Vandermark and Paal Nilssen-Love; Bob Weston spins throughout. 9:30 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433, $8. –Peter Margasak

Thursday 17

SIMON JOYNER Simon Joyner’s recent Beautiful Losers: Singles and Compilation Tracks 1994-1999 (Jagjaguwar) collects 21 rarities from the Omaha songwriter, including tracks from out-of-print seven-inches and long-gone cassette compilations. Though the disc borrows its title from Leonard Cohen’s 1966 novel, all but explicitly inviting comparisons to Cohen’s early songs, Joyner’s spartan folk yarns have a lonesomeness all their own–you can almost hear a Great Plains wind slowly burying dead ladies’ men in dust. Can-Ky-Ree opens. 9 PM, South Union Arts, 1352 S. Union, 312-850-1049, $10 suggested donation. All ages. –J. Niimi