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Casiotone for the Painfully Alone

Valentine’s, Thursday

When Owen Ashworth, the San Francisco performer better known as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone (or CFTPA), first emerged around the turn of the century, he specialized in a style that paired canned beats and cheap/vintage keyboards (i.e., the titular Casiotone) with a droll vocal style and sometimes maddeningly straightforward titles and lyrics. The sounds have changed, somewhat—last year’s Vs. Children featured more organic instrumentation than ever—but the subject matter hasn’t. That is to say, an imagined CFTPA hits compilation might feature a first-album track like “A Normal Suburban Lifestyle is a Near Impossibility Once You’ve Fallen in Love With an International Spy” alongside 2009’s “Traveling Salesman’s Young Wife Home Alone on Christmas in Montpelier, VT.” And people say this generation doesn’t read! (July 15, 9 PM, $10, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Joseph Arthur

Joseph Arthur, Meghan Wolf

Belleayre Music Festival, Friday

A pair of true multitaskers share a bill Friday at Belleayre’s Club at Overlook Lodge. Back in the late ’90s, Joseph Arthur first caught the attention of none other than Peter Gabriel, who signed the Akron, Ohio expat to his Real World label. Scores of releases later Arthur is still exploring every nook and cranny of his creative id: His one-man-band live show finds the performer not only playing music from his 18(!) releases, but also painting between songs. Arthur is joined Friday by actress-musician Meghan Wolf, whose Theory of Gravity album has drawn comparisons to both Joan Baez and Radiohead. Not a lot of people can say that. (July 16, 8 PM, $25, Highmount Road, Highmount, 800-942-6904)

American Idols Live

Times Union Center, Saturday

We were up early listening to talk radio this morning, and heard a guy say he thought that the drama around Simon Cowell’s last season on American Idol had been a distraction from the show itself—and the contestants. Good point. You’ll find nothing but fresh-faced performers when the American Idols Live tour rolls into the TUC. And they’ll perform exactly what viewers expect: winner Lee DeWyze will sing “Hallelujah”; Siobhan Magnus will channel Gwen Stefani; and Crystal Bowersox (where do they get these names?) will emote like Melissa Etheridge and Janis Joplin. The New York Times reviewer, though, liked 8th-place finisher Katie Stevens best, for her covers of Demi Lovato and Christina Aguilera hits, yes, but more for her perky manner. Perky, apparently, is “in” this summer. (July 17, 7:30 PM, 51 S. Pearl St., Albany, $40.50, $70.50, 487-2000)

Green River Festival

Greenfield Community College, Sat-Sun

To anyone looking for an outdoor festival that combines your equal love of hot air balloons and live roots music, look no further. The Green River Festival actually began as a balloon festival 24 years ago, with the music element an afterthought, but there’s no second-guessing this year’s great lineup of performers. Saturday’s bill features NPR favorites Old Crow Medicine Show and American legend Allen Toussaint, plus Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars and Donna the Buffalo. Sunday headliners Cake bring a deep setlist of alt-radio hits and an ever-abiding sense of irony; they’re joined by Calexico, the Felice Brothers, the Low Anthem, and many more. Up, up and away! (July 17-18, times and prices vary, Greenfield, Mass., 413-773-5463)

Langhorne Slim, the Low Anthem

Bearsville Theater, Tuesday

When most people consider the musical legacy of Woodstock (the town), they usually go all paisley and think of Woodstock (the festival). Putting the acid aside for a moment, this bill should put folks back in touch with the brand of Americana Bob Dylan and the Band virtually invented on Woodstock soil—even though their 1967 house was actually in Saugerties. Langhorne Slim is one of this generation’s great torchbearers, having strummed and crooned his way into indie Americana’s inner sanctum. The Band to his Dylan is the Low Anthem, a well-oiled quartet of multi-instrumentalists, whose 2008 self-produced handmade record Oh My God, Charlie Darwin brought them overnight recognition. This is far from the first time these two acts have performed together, but it might be their most fitting venue yet. (July 20, 8 PM, $15, 291 Tinker St., Woodstock, 845-679-4406)


Also Noted

The Suggestions

At first we were afraid, we were petrified—then we realized it was just tonight’s (Thursday) Alive at Five concert, featuring disco queen Gloria Gaynor (5 PM, free, 434-2032). . . . Critically lauded bluegrass act Chatham County Line plays within spitting distance of the Chatham town line on Friday, at the new Club Helsinki in Hudson; the Minivans open (9 PM, $15, 828-4800). . . . Also on Friday, it’s the return of a few names we haven’t seen in a while: Paranoid Social Club and the reunion of power-pop trio the Suggestions share a bill at Putnam Den (10 PM, $7, 584-8066). . . . If you get to Saratoga a bit early on Friday, stop by the Tang Museum at Skidmore for a performance from Matthew Carefully and all his toys, part of the Tang’s Upbeat on the Roof series (7 PM, free, 580-8080). . . . If you like a ukelele lady, you’ll really like-a Australian group the Ukeladies, performing at Mass MoCA this Saturday (8 PM, $16, $10 students, 413-662-2111). . . . The Music Haven Concert Series in Schenectady’s Central Park welcomes Louisiana-based Cajun/honky-tonk act Red Stick Ramblers on Sunday; the Capital Region’s own Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys open (7 PM, free, 382-5152). . . . The Counting Crows’ “Traveling Circus and Medicine Show” tour comes to Mountain Park in Holyoke, Mass. on Wednesday, along with Augustana and rapper NOTAR; in addition to playing their own sets, the three acts will mix and match members throughout the evening, hence the “circus” thing (7 PM, $35-$65, 413-586-8686).


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