A.A. BONDY | T.T. the Bear's Place | February 5 | Even though tastemakers, alt-country buffs, and unsuspecting indie-rockers alike got all tight in their Wranglers over When the Devil's Loose (Fat Possum), the ex-Verbena frontman's second album wasn't exactly the darling of 2009's deluge of critical Top 10 lists. This might be a good thing, since we're not exactly gunning for the dude to put on a happy face. Besides, the strength of his songs — which dwells largely in the charred, barely-there wick of his singing voice — might be better experienced in person than on record. Only one way to find out.
10 Brookline St., Cambridge | 9 pm | $10 | 617.492.BEAR or www.ttthebears.com
EL PERRO DEL MAR | Cambridge YMCA Theatre | February 19 | If a co-worker recently forwarded you some crazy clip of two greased-up Eastern European bodybuilders precariously perching atop each other in a breathtaking stretch of slo-mo choreography, then you've already been exposed to Sweden's Sarah Assbring via "Change of Heart." If not, take our word that balancing musclemen are not necessary to enjoy the subdued smoldering of her songs. Last year's Love Is Not Pop (Control Group) secured her position as one of the most alluring new voices out there, achieving brute emotional force with little more than her feather-light singing. It's a feat to behold live — even when Sandor and Gyula stay home in Budapest.
820 Mass Ave, Cambridge | 8 pm | $15 | 617.876.4275 or www.worldmusic.org
WILD BEASTS | Great Scott | February 24 | Rare are those Smiths fans who could give a whit what they did after their auspicious debut — hooked forever by young Moz's falsetto fits and his band's airtight execution. But if you count yourself among them, get wise to Wild Beasts, whose Two Dancers (Domino) was one of the most stirring rock records of last year. Hayden Thorpe's flamboyant coo is heavy on histrionics, but never nudges the music into absurdity; if anything, he's like a release valve for the songs' pent-up energy — which never seems to run out. They don't leave Leeds for our shores too often, so if you care to hear Thorpe hooting and howling "Hooting and Howling," you'd best make this date.
1222 Comm Ave, Allston | $12 | 617.566.9014 or www.greatscottboston.com
OMARA PORTUONDO | Sanders Theatre | February 26 | Best known as the singer who gave millions of bolero virgins a serious case of piel de gallina in the revelatory 1996 documentary Buena Vista Social Club, Omara Portuondo is still as powerful a voice and as iconic a symbol of Cuban culture as she ever was — even as she edges toward her 80th birthday. This appearance will be her first since 2000, and though few divas are feistier, she's also probably older than your abuela — so hear her sing while she's still up and about. She'll be joined by young virtuoso pianist Roberto Fonseca.
45 Quincy St, Cambridge | 8 pm | $28-$42 | 617.876.4275 or www.worldmusic.org
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