Cinematic is a term that gets bandied about a lot with popular music, often to indicate some sort of quiet dreamy sound that conjures up landscape-y imagery. “The Seer,” the new album by New York’s legendary experimental post-punk ensemble Swans, is more cinematic in the sense that it unfolds over a lengthy period (two hours) with expert pacing, pitch-perfect dynamics, great variety and a mood that simply doesn’t allow for comfort. Swans is guided by the steady hand of Michael Gira, who reactivated the band in 2010 after a 15-year run (“detour” would sound disparaging for a very different and compelling band). After two very good records — one in 2010 and the other earlier this year — Swans dropped “The Seer” on fans who may not have been suspecting something else so soon, especially the most grand and ambitious album Gira and his crew have made to date. To cite songs seems pointless since the pieces range from 90 seconds to 32 minutes. It’d be like recommending scenes from a movie. It’s an album that demands a dark room, formidable speakers and no distractions. Presumably they’ll unleash most, if not all, of “The Seer” this week in concert.
With Xiu Xiu.
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Fitzgerald’s, 2706 White Oak; Tickets: $20; 713-862-3838
Any band playing the main room at House of Blues is pushing the parameters of any standing feature called “Outskirts.” Nevertheless, Beach House’s exquisite “Bloom,” released in May, hardly resembles anything swimming in the mainstream. The Baltimore duo of Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand has put together another set of songs both sugary and bitter, nicely exemplified by “The Hours,” a song that opens with a little tip to the Beatles and moves into a dreamy and melancholic lounge pop.
When: 9 p.m. Wednesday
Where: House of Blues, 1204 Caroline; Tickets: $20-$25; 832-667-7733
David Grissom is no stranger to these parts, having spent time in Storyville and Joe Ely’s band. But the guitar ace — whose résumé is a long scroll that includes work with John Mellencamp, Lucinda Williams, the Dixie Chicks and James McMurtry among many others — doesn’t get here as often as a solo artist. To say he’s equally comfortable with rock, blues and Americana music isn’t quite apt since Grissom’s instantly identifiable guitar licks mash those genres together into some rootsy thing of its own.
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Under the Volcano, 2349 Bissonnet; Tickets: $7 at the door; 713-526-5282.
Mingo Fishtrap and the Suffers: Austin band Mingo Fishtrap describes its sound as a mash-up of “gutbucket soul, N’awlins grit-down funk and horn-fueled Motown pop.” We just call it party music. (You’ll get it once you see them live.) The band formed in 1996 in Denton and has released six albums. Joining them onstage is Houston’s the Suffers, whose own blend fuses reggae, ska and soul.
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney
Lucha X Vida: The art — and if you’ve seen a match, that’s the proper word — of Mexican wrestling has never quite been captured by U.S. purveyors of the sport. Too serious and not enough silly, Lucha libre has been celebrated in film, on TV and in restaurants. This exhibit requires each piece to incorporate something from the colorful sport, so expect lots of flashy masks. The opening-night party features DJ Gracie Chavez, body painting and a costume contest.
When: 6 p.m. Friday (runs through Sept. 28)
Where: East End Studio Gallery, 708 Telephone
Tickets: Free; 713-363-0054
Canned Acoustica VI: Houston music champion Mark Austin’s Canned Acoustica series puts an introspective twist on the usual band gig. Multiple acts, most not accustomed to the format, present acoustic sets in an intimate setting. Think of it as a supercharged listening room. This edition includes B L A C K I E ... All Caps, With Spaces, Craig Kinsey, New York City Queens, Featherface and Second Lovers. All donations go to the Houston Food Bank.
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Warehouse Live, Green Room, 813 St. Emanuel
Tickets: Four cans of food get you in the door; 713-225-5483
Grrrl Parts: This new, weekly drink-and-dance party kicks off with appearances by Whitney Mixter and Sara Bettencourt, stars of Showtimes “The Real L Word.” Manning the decks are Gab-E and Natasha Ninjason, known collectively as Grrrl Parts. The DJ duo formed in July 2008 and have shared the stage with Deadmau5, Steve Aoki, the Crystal Method and Benny Benassi.
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Where: The Drake, 1902 Washington
Tickets: $10; 713-869-8333
Houston Librofest: This multicultural event aims to highlight Hispanic writers and showcase Latino culture through storytelling, writing workshops, book giveaways, crafts and performances for children and adults. The inaugural Librofest lineup includes Gwendolyn Zepeda, Claudia Kolker, Javier O. Huerta and Sarah Cortez; along with presentations by Puppet Pizzaz, Happy the Clown and the Society for the Performing Arts.
When: 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Central Library, 500 McKinney
Tickets: Free; 832-393-1313.
Modern Love Tour: Hopefully, the recent bout of lovely weather will shine down on this poolside extravaganza, which features an impressive array of DJs. The big draws are Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey, known collectively as Uh Huh Her. The girls will put down the instruments and jump on the turntables for the day. Also in the mix are DJ Kim Anh, who has worked events for “Project Runway” and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week; and DJ Saratonin, who has opened shows for Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.
When: Noon Saturday
Where: Roak, 3320 Kirby
Tickets: $20 and up; 713-487-9471
Ethan Bortnick.: At just 11 years old, pianist and singer Bortnick makes us all feel like slackers (to say the least). He’s one of the youngest philanthropists in the world, having raised almost $30 million for various charities. He’s also the youngest performer to have a national PBS concert special, to headline Vegas and to embark on a headlining tour. A film and new music are in the works, and his local show benefits Texas Children’s Hospital.
When: 3 p.m. Sunday
Where: House of Blues, 1204 Caroline
Tickets: $35; 832-667-7733
Houston Fine Art Fair: Houston artist Trenton Doyle Hancock creates a fantastical world built on an epic tale of creatures called Mounds and Vegans. Catch him this weekend at the Houston Fine Art Fair, where he’s being honored as artist of the year and his work will be shown by Dallas’ Talley Dunn Gallery. Hancock talks about his art at 4 p.m. Sunday with curators Alison de Lima Greene and Valerie Cassell Oliver. The fair opens tonight Thursday with exhibits from more than 70 stellar contemporary galleries, including majors from Latin America, New York, California and Texas. Admission also gets you into the full slate of expert talks on collecting and other topics. 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday at Reliant Center, One Reliant Park. Tickets are $25 (one-day), $40 (three days) and $75-$125 (tonight’s party plus three days) at www.houstonfineartfair.com
Blondie and Devo: Let’s do the time warp, again. Seminal ‘70s/’80s and beyond pioneers Blondie and Devo team up for a double bill that should be heavy on nostalgic riffs and enduring pop hooks. But despite the affinity for “Whip It” and “Heart of Glass,” both acts are likely to try something new. Devo released “Don’t Roof Rack Me, Bro (Seamus Unleashed)” just last month, an ode to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s former dog. And Debbie Harry is still going strong, turning up in films, on collaborations and last year’s “Panic of Girls” Blondie album.
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Arena Theater, 7326 Southwest Freeway
Tickets: $49.50-$75; 713-772-5900
The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band: Even the name of this blues outfit seems to evoke the music — big, blustery and spiritual. And it’s not just for the stage, either. Peyton is an actual reverend and regularly performs weddings. He’s also a Kentucky colonel and lives in a log cabin. The trio’s new album, “Between the Ditches,” debuted atop the iTunes blues chart and at No. 2 on the Billboard Blues Chart. Wonder if they get wi-fi in the country.
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
Where: House of Blues, Bronze Peacock Room, 1204 Caroline
Tickets: $12 advance, $15 at the door; 832-667-7733