Alejandro Escovedo offers no cultural hybrids in his music. The Los Lobos contemporary started in punk and cow-punk before developing into a fearless writer with a rock style as hard-hitting lyrically as it is musically, as he showed again on last year's Big Station.
- Nick Cristiano
Los Lobos, with Los Lonely Boys and Alejandro Escovedo, play at 8 p.m. Friday at the Music Box at the Borgata Resort and Casino, One Borgata Way, Atlantic City. Tickets: $45 and $49.50. Information: 609-317-1000.
The London four-piece post-punk all-woman band Savages makes its Philadelphia debut at Union Transfer on Sunday. That's the night after Wire, the first-generation London punk band, plays the Spring Garden Street venue. That coincidence is significant because the brittle, compressed guitar fury that Wire patented is also a Savages trademark. Lead singer Jehnny Beth, who unlike her bandmates is French, not English, also plays in the duo Johnny and Jehn with her boyfriend Johnny Hostile. She's a commanding presence from the start on the band's winningly muscular and abrasive debut Silence Yourself, which kicks into gear by demanding silence on the John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands-inspired opener "Shut Up."
- Dan DeLuca
Savages, with Johnny Hostile, play 8 p.m. Sunday at Union Transfer, 1024 Spring Garden St. Tickets: $15. Information: 215-232-2100, www.utphilly.com.
Beautiful ghosts live in the music of Julia Holter, whose most recent album, Ekstasis, pulsed with lofty, spectral vocal harmonies and intricate, spacious melodies. The Los Angeles-based singer and multi-instrumentalist's work has always had an air of academic sophistication. She studied music at CalArts with the notable composer Michael Pisaro, who is affiliated with the Wandelweiser composers group. But Holter, 28, tends to use her technical and composing prowess to craft pop songs. On Aug. 20, Domino Records will release Holter's mesmeric new album, Loud City Song. The first single, "World," is cerebral but warm, strange but welcoming. Surrounded by a colorful, awesome arrangement of horns and strings, Holter's voice vanishes into haunted wonder. It is an especially enchanted way to get lost.
- Elliott Sharp
Julia Holter, with Jessica Pratt, plays 8 p.m. Saturday at World Cafe Live, Tickets: $13-$15. Information: 215-222-1400 or worldcafelive.com.