It's probably just an unfortunate coincidence that New Jersey surf-poppers Real Estate released their self-titled debut album in the same month that Jersey Shore premiered on MTV last fall. Then again, a melodic, introspective work of art and a mind-numbing reality TV show, both from the Garden State, may not be as diametrically opposed as you'd think. "All the songs on the LP were written around the same time," says singer-guitarist Martin Courtney. "It was after college, when we were all moving home. That was the vibe. And it was the summertime, so that played into it." Consider the context: Courtney and his bandmates, fresh out of school, living in the Jersey suburbs, unsure about their futures, hanging out at the beach, and kicking around the sand. Needless to say, these old pals weren't exactly super-ambitious art-school intellects when they formed Real Estate in the summer of 2008. In fact, they probably had much in common with the aimless twentysomethings on Jersey Shore. Sure, Snooki probably hasn't spent as much time listening to obscure New Zealand '80s jangle-pop as Courtney, but there's still some shared experiences: joblessness, doubts, etc. "It's kind of like going back in time to your childhood, or at least senior year of high school," says Courtney. "But it's also different. Because you're thinking, OK, I don't really want to be here anymore. I'm ready to get out." Even the Situation can relate to that. — Andrew Clayman
Real Estate, with Kurt Vile and Cloud Nothings. 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 14. Beachland Tavern. Tickets: $12, $10 in advance; call 216-383-1124 or go to beachlandballroom.com.
Lady Gaga. 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 14. Quicken Loans Arena. Sold out.
Too Far to Care, the Old 97's' 1997 big-label debut, is one of alt-country's hookiest and best albums — a perfect bookend to 2008's Blame It on Gravity. The band is back on the road this summer playing songs from its 15-plus-year career. The Old 97's have kept the same four members ever since they formed in Dallas at the top of the '90s, so they've had plenty of time to become a great live band during that time (for further proof, check out their 2005 concert album Alive and Wired). The band is putting the finishing touches on a new record that's due this fall, so you'll probably hear some of those songs at the show. But since they're not really promoting anything at this point, you'll also hear plenty of classics. — Chris DrabickThe Old 97's, with the David Wax Museum. 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 20. Beachland Ballroom.Tickets: $22, $20 in advance; call 216-383-1124 or go to beachlandballroom.com.
RINGO STARR & HIS ALL-STARR BANDIt's probably about time we start to cherish Ringo. We took George Harrison for granted for years, and now that he's gone, his absence digs deeper than John Lennon's. Yeah, Ringo was just the drummer. But he was a Beatle. And even if his contributions to their timeless songbook ("Yellow Submarine," "Octopus's Garden") are more loved by preteens than by grown-up music fans, they're still an integral part of the catalog. Starr's latest album, Y Not (released earlier this year), is a surprisingly solid and occasionally moving document of a man looking back on his scrappy Liverpool roots. The 11th incarnation of his revolving All-Star Band includes classic-rock vets Edgar Winter, Gary Wright, and Rick Derringer. They'll play Beatles classics, Ringo solo hits, and some well-heeled covers. Give the drummer some love. — GallucciRingo Starr & His All-Starr Band. 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 20. Nautica Pavilion.Tickets: $40-$85; call 800-745-3000 or go to livenation.com.
Wolf Parade, with the Mools. 9 p.m. Thursday, July 15. Beachland Ballroom. Tickets: $22, $20 in advance; call 216-383-1124 or go to beachlandballroom.com.