Shonen Knife (Mississippi Studios, Friday, 11:55 pm)
The chicks in Shonen Knife must be a bazillion years old by now, but they still only play pop-punk songs about bunnies and candy. When I grow up, I want to be just like them.
Henry Wagons (Mississippi Studios, Thursday, 7:30 pm)
I'm biased because he's from my hometown of Melbourne, but he was one of my favorite local acts even when I lived there. He sings cowboy songs with a beautiful, big, booming baritone voice and is what we call an "absolute pisser" onstage. (That means he's funny.)
Titus Andronicus (Backspace, Saturday, 11 pm)
New Jersey indie-punk band that sounds like Neutral Milk Hotel mixed with Minor Threat. Their most recent album is a concept album about the civil war, which I find endearingly wanky.
Monarques (Bunk Bar, Saturday, 11:55 pm)
On record, this band plays straight-up so-sweet-you'll-get-diabetes '50s pop. But onstage, it performs it with garagey guts and grit. Like a root-beer float with actual beer. A small venue like the Bunk Bar will be the perfect place to dance up a sweaty storm, too.
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists (Crystal Ballroom, Thursday, 9 pm)
I know a lot of Ted Leo's songs are supposed to have Serious Political Themes or somesuch, but they always sound so sunny and happy to me. If you see a chick grinning like an idiot and clapping along to "Bomb.Repeat.Bomb," you'll know who it is.