The flagship bands of clean-toned American indie rock could learn something from their Australian counterparts.
Musically, the Twerps share some similarities with popular stateside counterparts like Real Estate.
The quartet from Melbourne, Australia, has a knack for snappy melodies and whispery vocals. They can write shimmery dream-pop guitar parts. They never tip over into outright aggression.
The Twerps are looser, though, and more effervescent, on their new album "Range Anxiety" (Merge Records).
They turn in a set of catchy, sometimes jangly pop that can express confusion with the modern world while also acknowledging its charms, particularly on songs like "Stranger" and "I Don't Mind," the album's lead single.
The Twerps will perform Sunday, April 5, at Stage 112, 112 N. Pattee St. The opening acts are Wrinkles (Seattle/Missoula) and No Fancy (Missoula). The music will start at 8 p.m. The show is 18 and older. Cover is $6-$8. Go to stage112.com for more information.
Another foreign group that has a way with a sad synth line, a mean guitar sound and a sarcastic lyric is up this week.
On a single track, "Orange Luz," Happyness singer Jonny Allan spits lines like, "You are so ugly when you're smiling," mixed with warnings about the unhealthy effects of eating alone.
The London trio, touring behind "Weird Little Birthday," (Bar/None) will play Saturday at the Real Lounge, 112 E. Front St. The openers are Iron Eyes and Carson Luther, 18 and older, $6-$8.
The Los Angeles band Wand are returning to Missoula on Thursday.
The group is touring behind, "Golem," a nine-song album out in March on In the Red Records.
Like their previous album, "Ganglion Reef," it matches baroque high-pitched vocal melodies straight from the 1960s with garage-rock fuzz and effects pedal madness. In case the album titles didn't hint at it already, they have some proggy tendencies, as well, such as finely written interludes on keyboard or heavily distorted guitar.
Wand's stop is on April 9, at Stage 112, 112 N. Pattee St., with local openers Holy Lands, Fuuls and Razor Whip. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the music starts at 9 p.m. Cover is $6-$8.
Charlie Parr, a Minnesotan who plays country blues, mostly in a solo format, has made Missoula a consistent tour stop for years now.
On Saturday, he'll be promoting a new album, "Stumpjumper," his first for Red House Records, due out April 28.
The 10 originals, plus a cover of Parr's favorite murder ballad, "Delia," were recorded with a sympathetic backing band in a North Carolina studio.
Helping Parr out are Emily Parr on harmony vocals; Phil Cook of Hiss Golden Messenger, a Merge Records indie-folk duo, on harmony vocals, short piano, steel guitar, banjo and electric guitar; Ryan Gustafson on electric bass, fiddle and banjo; and James Wallace on drums and piano.
"On Marrying A Woman With An Uncontrollable Temper," in particular has a bright cushion of vocals behind Parr's heavily rhythmic playing; "Lazarus" and "Frank Miller Blues" allows him to stretch his storytelling to a full seven minutes.
Even "Delia," that murder ballad, has a brightness to its sound and arrangements, and an air of contemplation.
Parr's guitar playing and wailing vocals have always stood just fine alone, but with "Stumpjumper," he has a backing band that adds a warm backdrop to his heart-breaking tunes, and propulsion on his foot-stompers.
Parr and fiddler Betse Ellis of the Wilders will perform Saturday, April 4, at the Top Hat Lounge, 134 W. Front St. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. and the music starts at 10 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance and $14 the day of the show, available at tophatlounge.com or the box office. The show is 18 and older.