Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
THE REVIVAL TOUR
8:30 p.m. Revolution. $15.
By now, most readers of this section of the Times will be familiar with Chuck Ragan, formerly of much-loved post-hardcore quartet Hot Water Music and roots punkers Rumbleseat. He was in town in November on the solo, but this here package tour is something he started and has been doing annually since 2008. It's an all-acoustic lineup that has included such fellow travelers as Tim Barry of Avail, Ben Nichols of Lucero, Kevin Seconds of 7 Seconds and Tom Gabel of Against Me! But it's more than just the Old Punks Unplugged Show. The tour is a way for singer/songwriters to give audiences an intimate concert that celebrates the folk traditions of collaboration and spontaneity in a generally song-focused, non-rock-star atmosphere. Also, the load-in has got to be a hell of a lot easier than having four bands' worth of gear to schlep around. This time, The Revival Tour includes Ragan, Tom Gabel, Memphis fave Cory Branan, grizzled folk-shouter Nathaniel Rateliff, Dan Adriano of Chicago punkers Alkaline Trio and a series of special guests at each tour stop, this one featuring local folk-rock standout Adam Faucett.
VALLEY OF THE VAPORS
7 p.m. Low Key Arts. $7.
The Valley of the Vapors got rolling last Sunday down in The Spa City, and the unfettered rock 'n' roll revelry continues right on through Saturday night. Wednesday's lineup includes the witchy, Farfisa-fied garage rock of The Black Belles, a Nashville quartet that has the imprimatur of Jack White stamped all over it (they're on his Third Man label). The Grayces — also outta Music City — sound kind of like The Runaways mugging The Ramones. The Jukebox Romantics make a racket that falls on the scruffier, warts-n-all edge of the pop-punk map. The Svetlanas (motto: "Soviet punk since '77) are on another map entirely, specifically, one of a place where bruising street punk, vodka shots and pickled herring are a natural combo. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Yuri Landman leads a workshop that'll teach you to make your own crazy experimental guitar. At 6 p.m., there's a Pass the Hat show (i.e. secret band, secret venue; find out by asking around). Thursday's festivities include another one of Landman's workshops and a Pass the Hat show at 4 p.m. The main lineup leans toward the gnarly punk rock side of things, with Brooklyn weirdo duo Japanther, likeminded misanthropes Unstoppable Death Machines, Little Rock classic hardcore revivalists R.I.O.T.S., NYC gutter-dwellers Filthy Savage and the catchy throwback punk of Ritz Riot. Friday has a presentation on the history of rock 'n' roll from musician and teacher Phil Ajjarapu. Kicking things off at 7:30 p.m. is Projexorcism, a bizarro multimedia project that's a bit like a verging-on-bad acid trip crossed with overlapping reels of old educational filmstrips soundtracked with all manner of schizoid sonic terror. Moody indie rockers Bagheera follow that up, with Galaxy Express (one of South Korea's top rock exports), Ume (shoegazer-y guitar-pop squall from Austin) and The White Glove Test (hometown rock heroes) rounding out the evening. Saturday, there's a 16mm film workshop starting at 10 a.m., which includes an installation and discussion. The music starts at 8 p.m. with the Appalachia-by-way-of-the-San-Joaquin-Valley sounds of The Old Tire Swingers. Closing out the whole shindig is Dikki Du & The Zydeco Krewe, which should be a good time for anybody who digs funk-flavored sounds from southern Louisiana.
8:30 p.m. Juanita's. $13 adv., $15 d.o.s.
This Canadian electro-pop wunderkind was born (in 1987!) as Valerie Anne Poxleitner, but according to a 2011 story in The National Post, she legally changed her name to Lights (bold move!). Lights' 2011 album "Siberia" was produced by her fellow countrymen Brian Borcherdt and Graham Walsh, of the Toronto band Holy Fuck. The album epitomizes teen-pop here in The Year 2012. It's a mostly electronic kaleidoscope of sounds and influences from across the pop spectrum. There are moments of twitchy dubstep, grimy basslines, thump-thumping house beats, swells of warped synthesizers, bouncy melodies and throughout it all, Lights' crystalline vocal hooks. Fun fact: right this second (actually, riiiiight ... now!) this music is playing no fewer than 23 Urban Outfitters locations around North America. The opening act is Ambassadors.