USHER, AKON
(Rose Garden, 1 Center Ct) After a brief career lull following the blowup "Yeah!" Usher has roared back to life with songs dominating the club scene, such as "OMG" and "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love." Expect a sweaty amount of hype, awesome choreography, and opener Akon (who, frankly, I don't like very much). WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY


SLEIGH BELLS, NEON INDIAN, OBERHOFER
Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Read our article on Sleigh Bells.


S. CAREY, OTHER LIVES
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Bon Iver drummer (and sometimes Gayngs member) Sean Carey has made a solo record that's a delicate and involving listen, even if his even-keeled vocals lack the emotional punch of Justin Vernon's falsetto. Still, the stately, classically tinged folk of All We Grow is as warm and inviting as a fire crackling in a hearth, and the record sounds like it was crafted with artful subtlety and a genuine love of music. Considering Carey's day job is drummer for one of the best bands in the world—I am referring to Bon Iver, whose new, incredible full-length comes out in June and will likely dominate your listening habits until 2013—his solo work feels like a welcome addition to an already overflowing bounty. NED LANNAMANN


GUITAR WOLF, CHEAP TIME, THE FLIP-TOPS
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) It's this writer/hack's humble opinion that the majority of new rock and roll actually worth a damn is being produced overseas. While the US cultivates and supports acts like Avenged Sevenfold and Shinedown, Japan exports greasy, ass-kicking rockers like Guitar Wolf. Their "jet rock and roll" sound resembles Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry—if they were both rubbed raw by a belt sander. Though Guitar Wolf may sound extremely harsh, their style is very traditional. Why is it that a band from Japan can understand and embrace something as culturally important to America as rock and roll, and execute it better than this country's own inhabitants? It's high time for rock-and-roll rapture on US soil. Whisk away "modern rock" and all other false prophets, and leave us sinners behind. We'll take our cues from Guitar Wolf. ARIS WALES


RIVAL SCHOOLS
(Peter's Room at the Roseland, 8 NW 6th) There is an unresolved restlessness to Walter Schreifels. With a pedigree of noteworthy former acts that cover everything from the heroic stage dives of yore (Youth of Today/Gorilla Biscuit) to an unhealthy Elvis Costello obsession (Walking Concert), Schreifels is a man adrift, still trying to uncover a sound he's likely to never find. Now a decade after their stellar debut, Schreifels dusts off Rival Schools to release Pedals, an overly slick and slightly uneven follow-up to 2001's stellar United by Fate. While it's not the sort of recording one waits 10 years for, Pedals does expand the vast musical palette of an artist unwilling to settle on a single path. EZRA ACE CARAEFF