Concert Previews

Lucero will play with Shovels and Rope at 8 p.m. Thursday at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St.
Lucero will play with Shovels and Rope at 8 p.m. Thursday at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St.
Posted: March 15, 2013

With its arty, eclectic, genre-hopping debut album, An Awesome Wave, Alt-J was a shoo-in to win the Mercury Prize in November. At least, according to the U.K. betting shops, although it's unclear whether the 4-to-5 odds were set based on judgments of the album's quality or from insights into the awards panel's proclivities in selecting the best British or Irish album of the year. Alt-J, which formed at Leeds University, took its name from the Mac command for a delta, signifying change, and its songs tend to evolve, melding styles and shifting shapes. Radiohead-derived guitar rock, choral vocals with frequent a cappella interludes, occasional dubstep beats, some folky fingerpicking: An Awesome Wave is a compendium of alt- and indie-styles overlaid with prog-rock high-mindedness. On a post-Mercury victory lap, the quartet headlines the TLA on Thursday.

- Steve Klinge


Alt-J with Hundred Waters plays Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Theater of Living Arts, 334 South St. Tickets: $15. Information: 215-922-1011, www.tlaphilly.com.

Who's the idiot who left Lucero's Women & Work off his list of top albums of 2012? Oh, right. Never mind. Maybe this can help rectify that oversight: At its best on its previous albums, Lucero had shown a Replacements-like blend of bravado and wounded-heart vulnerability. The attitude is the same on Women & Work, but this time the Memphis group nods toward the R&B traditions of its hometown. The result is a thrilling blast of muscular, horn-fueled rock and soul, with roadhouse rambunctiousness balanced by moments of lonesome-nights introspection. And it all comes to a rousing finish with the gospel-infused uplift of "Go Easy."

- Nick Cristiano


Lucero, with Shovels and Rope, play at 8 p.m. Thursday at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. Tickets: $20. Information: 215-232-2100.

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