Mermaid Book Club
(Friday, July 19)
Indie pop group Mermaid Book Club turn out their first record, after forming in 2017. “Relatable Content,” feeds off the four women’s friendship, relationships and feeling out of place.
Read a full writeup on the band in this week's Entertainer.
Wrinkles support at the ZACC Below. Show at 8 p.m. $5 entry fee for those who can afford.
Lana Rebel with Kevin Mayfield, and June West
(Friday, July 19)
You can warm up for the Red Ants Pants Music Festival next weekend by heading to Western Cider for an official "sideshow."
The two acts on the bill are entirely appropriate for the general vibe of Red Ants. First up, Lana Rebel and Kevin Mayfield of Tucson look back to classic country songwriting. Their voices (hers is light and subtle with melodic inflections; his is dry and mournful) and poetic lyrics are the focus.
You wouldn't necessarily guess it from their most recent album, "The Midtown Island Sessions," but Lana used to play bass in an metal-ish band called Last of the Juanitas that came through Missoula for the now-dormant Total Fest underground music festival. To teach herself guitar, she started out with classic country like Johnny Cash, Kitty Wells and Willie Nelson. The sound stuck with her, and she began writing her own songs.
Tunes like "Hope It Don't Rain" and "Trouble Starts Calling" will draw fans of those artists, with evocative imagery of characters often in down-and-out scenarios. (There's a share of optimism, too: "Saddle Up" implores its listener to leave the comfort of home while not forgetting what they've left behind.)
Here in Missoula, the two will have an assist from Missoula bassist John Sporman and Havre drummer Dave Martens.
Also playing the show is June West, a Missoula native who's worked out of Arizona and New York. Last year, her self-titled debut collection of soul-influenced desert-groove songs got a shout-out from the NPR All Songs Considered staff.
For this show, Western Cider has partnered with Red Ants Pants Music Festival and Statriot Designs. Admission is free but donations are welcome, and you can win passes to the festival next weekend.
Recently, the Westside cidery put a new stage area on their deck garden out back, where you can catch the music and buy yourself some Two Crows Tacos. The cidery plans on hosting more songwriters and bands now that the stage is up.
The show starts at 6 p.m. at 501 N. California St.
(Saturday, July 20)
If you'd like a more intimate festival in a small town, investigate the possibilities of the Sub Rosa Weird Fast. The fest takes place at a bar called J.D.'s Wildlife Sanctuary in Bynum, Montana, on the east side of the Rocky Mountain Front.
The line-up is a handful of like-minded Americana-adjacent yet original bands, many from Missoula or regulars here, plus some from outside. They are the Best Westerns, Caroline Keys, Miss Lana Rebel, Chris Sand, Max Hay and Godrey and Todd.
It runs from 4 to 10 p.m. Donations are suggested and the camping is free. The Facebook page includes a warning that the nearest services, not including the dinosaur museum, are more than 10 miles away, and you should prepare accordingly.
(Saturday, July 20)
Portland duo the Mutineers bring their bare bones Americana sound to town. Barry Mathusek plays guitar and organ, while Merry Young accompanies on drums.
The two harmonize on their choruses, over country guitar and two-step drumbeats. Catchy, folky stuff here.
Wailing Aaron Jennings and Insomnia Plague support at the VFW. Show at 9 p.m.
Horse Jumper of Love
(Sunday, July 21)
Slowcore group Horse Jumper of Love visit from Boston sounding very '90s. Slacker-esque jangle guitar and lyrics mesh with fuzz bass and, duh, slow drum rhythms — all bursting occasionally into a slo-mo headbanging freakout.
Writ Large and Tomb Toad support at the ZACC Below. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Show at 8 p.m. $5-10 sliding scale entry fee.
(Wednesday, July 24)
With nine Grammys and not a Missoula show on her list, the tickets to singer Norah Jones' concert ran out faster than adjectives to describe her instantly recognizable voice.
Her concert at KettleHouse Amphitheater sold out not long after it was announced all the way back in January. Secondary ticket sites don't appear to have tickets either, sparing you the temptation of shelling out hundreds of dollars above mark-up prices.
Her latest album, "Begin Again," is more of a collection of singles with collaborators with roots in electronic music, jazz (Brian Blade), or rock (Jeff Tweedy).
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8.
(Thursday, July 25)
This is being billed as a stoner rock/metal show, an actual rarity in Missoula (where every kind of music is stoner rock, yuk yuk). But, for anyone not quite in the know, metal is one of the most 4/20-friendly genres around. I’d guess Kannabyss are too, but you never know — straight-edge people can be ironic I guess.
But these two groups — who recently put out a split album on Gallatin Underground – aren’t just for the stoned. Kannabyss take a page from the Black Sabbath book of metal, with some double drums and retro guitar licks that’ll get any rock fan in the mood.
Liquid Colors run slightly jazzy, with a tight, triple-timing drummer and some funk guitar. It all culminates in heavy fuzzed-out choruses, anyway.
Crypticollider and Swamp Ritual support at the Union Ballroom. Show at 8 p.m. $5 entry.
Red Ants Pants Music Festival
(Thursday-Sunday, July 25-28)
The best music festival held in a cow pasture continues to draw more crowds. This year's line-up has big draws such as Patty Griffin, Shakey Graves, Colter Wall, Valerie June, Darrell Scott, The Steel Wheels, and more, playing over three days just outside White Sulphur Springs.
A nod is due to Missoula band Jackson Holte and the Highway Patrol, who are among the line-up at the side stage. The non-musical attractions include the hirsute spectacle of the beard and mustache competition.
For tickets and camping information, go to redantspantsmusicfestival.com.
(Friday-Saturday, July 26-27)
The ghost town of Pony, located at the end of the highway southwest of Harrison, has a two-day music fest of its own, heavy on Missoula and Bozeman bands plus some out-of-state groups.
For tickets and more information, go to the PonyFest Facebook page or https://selloutapp.com/event/festival/pony-fest-13.