Akron/Family let their freak flag fly on their new album, Akron/Family II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT, which is actually their fifth studio record. It's full of psychedelic guitar riffs, gentle ambient washes, and chants about magic forests. The bearded trio (who live in Oregon and New York) say the album was written in a cabin near a Japanese volcano and recorded in an abandoned Detroit train station. And it's not even their weirdest record. They were slapped with the freak-folk tag based on their self-titled debut album in 2005, but they've since branched out in ways that should make their peers sweat. Their albums are full of twists and turns — from free-jazz freakouts to Beatlesque pop, often within the same song. In concert, their three-part harmonies fall somewhere between the Band and Animal Collective. And they're not afraid to let jams extend past the 20-minute mark if the mood strikes. — Bill Delaney
With Delicate Steve. 8 p.m. Thursday, March 3. Grog Shop. Tickets: $10; call 216-321-5588 or go to grogshop.gs.Revolver
Named for the Beatles album and not the gun, this French trio won't soon be confused with anything particularly loud or violent. The band's 2008 debut EP, Pop de Chambre, was whispery soft — weaving the timid earnestness of Elliott Smith with the skintight harmonies of Simon & Garfunkel. Their 2009 album, Music for a While, fleshed out the arrangements a bit, incorporating the classical training of single-named band members Ambroise, Christophe, and Jérémie. At times, Revolver's transparent obsession with 1966 can be more than a little limiting, but there's no denying their hook-writing skills (see "Leave Me Alone" and "Get Around Town") or the onstage charm they've picked up from the Artsy Young Frenchmen handbook. The band's live shows have also gotten a bit more raucous lately, since they've added a drummer and more electric guitar to the mix. — Andrew Clayman
With Goodmorning Valentine, the Heights Band, and the Ridges. 8 p.m. Friday, March 4. Grog Shop. Tickets: $8; call 216-321-5588 or go to grogshop.gs.
Sandwell District, a collective of producers and DJs strewn across the U.S. and Europe, have riddled techno with a succession of killer singles over the past few years. Their aesthetic revolves around historical synthesis. In the case of Silent Servant (DJ John Mendez from Minnesota), this means unearthing the secret threads that link minimal techno to its post-punk '80s ancestry. Under a hazy drizzle of static, "Discipline"'s droning strings slither wearily through hypnotic pulsations that are simultaneously chilly and warm. This striking fusion of opposites has its roots in vintage synth-pop and industrial music. As an onstage DJ, Silent Servant attempts to reveal these secret threads in real time. "It just depends on how open-minded the crowd might be and if I have control of the night," he says. Prepare for a marathon set when he comes to town this weekend.— Justin Farrar
With Jimi Tsang and Mark Strauss. 10 p.m. Friday, March 4. Touch Supper Club. Tickets: $8 and $10; call 216-631-5200 or go to touchohiocity.com.
Singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell has led one hell of a life. He got his start playing guitar with Emmylou Harris' Hot Band in the mid-'70s. By the end of the decade he had married Johnny Cash's daughter Rosanne and launched a solo career that spawned five No. 1 country singles by the end of the '80s. After taking a break for part of the '90s, Crowell returned in 2001 with his best-ever album, The Houston Kid, an autobiographical song cycle that included a duet with his former father-in-law. He's spent the past decade making some of the strongest and most personal music of his career. He also just published a book, Chinaberry Sidewalks, which chronicles his life in the spotlight (Bob Seger had a hit with one of his songs back in the day) and out of it (Crowell and Cash divorced in 1992). At this weekend's concert, Crowell will read from his memoir and sprinkle some of his best-known songs throughout the set. Should be a killer show.— Michael Gallucci
8 p.m. Saturday, March 5. Kent Stage. Tickets: $23; call 330-677-5005 or go to kentstage.org.
We preferred the original name of Eric Elbogen's one-man band (Say Hi to Your Mom). But the more succinct moniker is a fitting reflection of the direction his music has taken over the past decade. On Say Hi's recently released seventh album, Um, Uh Oh, Elbogen twists his fractured indie rock into new shapes that expand on the basic indie pop moves found on his earlier records. Specifically, the songs on Um, Uh Oh sound bigger. There are still low-fi elements, particularly in the way many tracks seem to fall together haphazardly rather than by design. But the propelling forces behind these songs are better suited for Say Hi's live show, where Elbogen fills the vacant spaces with extra musicians. Elbogen is still a mighty pretentious dude (even though he's no longer writing about vampires, he's kinda oblique). But he's starting to grow out of it. — Gallucci
With Blair, Brian Straw, and Lowly, the Tree Ghost. 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 2. Grog Shop. Tickets: $12, $10 in advance; call 216-321-5588 or go to grogshop.gs.