xx marks the spot
With the xx, percussion is faint like a heartbeat, and the guitars flicker on and off, creating a pillowy pallet for Romy Madley Croft’s and Oliver Sim’s soulfully somber vocals. You won’t break a sweat at this English buzz band’s show, nor will your ears ring the following day. But their atmospheric sound will envelop you in a way that ensures some permutation of beautiful sadness. They’re in the States touring the lovely “Coexist.” When: 9 p.m. Saturday; Where: House of Blues, 1204 Caroline; Tickets: $30-$35.
A little bit country
Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen are hardly unfamiliar names in these parts. But their shows next week are a little different and thus deserving of some attention. While each typically performs backed by ensembles ranging from Large (Lovett) to Not-So-Large (Keen), this time the two A&M buddies will trade songs with just their voices and guitars. As both are studied and seasoned songwriters, the shows should offer opportunity for the words to resonate a little more. When: 7:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; Where: the Grand 1894 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice, Galveston; Tickets: $25-$75.
Love is in the air
Valentine’s Pheromone Party: Talk about airing your dirty laundry. The folks at Houston Social Source, a social-networking website, team up once again with comic and matchmaker Amber Rountree-Neal to host a Valentine’s Pheromone party. Pheromones are chemical factors that trigger a social response in members of the same species. Participants must sleep in the same T-shirt for three nights. When out of bed, T-shirts are stored in plastic bags in the freezer. The bagged tees are brought to the party where members of the opposite sex will sniff them. Let your sense of smell be your guide to love. Or a washing machine.When: 7 p.m. Friday; Where: Nouveau Antique Bar, 2913 Main; Tickets: $15 advance, $20 at the door.
The rest of the week
Leo Bar — Lunar New Year: The Asia Society Texas Center’s first mixer of 2013 celebrates the Year of the Snake. It features DJ Yogi-G, light bites, cocktails and admission to “Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter” in the Sarofim Gallery. When: 6 p.m. Thursday; Where: Asia Society Texas Center, 1370 Southmore; Tickets: Free.
Dilla-gence: Late record producer J Dilla’s sound influenced a legion of hip-hop artists, from A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul to the Roots and Erykah Badu. Though he died in 2006 of a rare blood disease, his sound has continued to inspire others. The local event features DJ SoulOne, live percussion accompaniment by Groove F. Drumma and host Jett I Masstyr. A portion of the proceeds benefit the J Dilla Foundation, run by his mother, which helps fund inner-city music programs and provides music scholarships. When: 8 p.m. Friday; Where: Community Artists’ Collective, 1413 Holman; Tickets: $5.
Sasha Gradiva: The little-known dance singer made her mark at the 2012 Grammys, where she arrived in a pink ball gown and (fake) machine guns strapped to her arms. It earned her headline space next to Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga (who Gradiva’s sound and image seem to be modeled after). She’ll take the club stage, likely close to midnight, performing new single “Come With Us” and other dance trifles. When: 9 p.m. Friday; Where: Meteor, 2306 Genesee; Tickets: Free.
Lily Tomlin: Those two words are all you need to know. One of the funniest and smartest people on the planet returns for one night, to portray a dozen of her famous characters. Since her first appearance on TV’s “Laugh-In” in 1969, Tomlin has been an entertainment icon. She’s earned six Emmys and two Peabody Awards, two Tonys for her solo shows on Broadway, a Grammy for her comedy album “This Is a Recording” and an Oscar nomination for her featured role in Robert Altman’s 1975 screen classic “Nashville.” Presented here by Society for the Performing Arts, Tomlin plays at 8 p.m. Saturday at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. Tickets ($50-$95) are available at www.spahouston.org and 713-227-4772.
Bootlegger’s Ball: A 1920s Prohibition Rendition — Houston Young People for the Arts Gala: Now’s your chance to recycle those Halloween flapper and gangster outfits. HYPA’s annual event celebrates the 1920s and honors some of the city’s creatives. The evening includes performances by Dem Damn Dames, Houston Metropolitan Dance Company and Will and the Hot Vikings. When: 11 p.m. Saturday; Where: Majestic Metro, 911 Preston; Tickets: $60-$150.
La Sien: The “new” Spanish pop-rock quartet has actually been at it for a few years. The group has shot more than 20 promotional videos, four official clips and collaborated with Mexico City artist Diego Loza Carbajal on a series of stickers. There also have been more than 100 live shows and a recently issued seven-song EP. When: 3 p.m. Saturday; Where: Cactus Music, 2110 Portsmouth; Tickets: Free.
Red Party: This annual soiree is one of South Beach nightclub’s most-popular events. And, yes, red attire is “strongly” encouraged. (Think of it as an early Valentine’s Day dance-stravaganza.) Adding to the sparkle is Phi Phi O’Hara, a “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 4 finalist and San Antonio native. She’s since made up with winner Sharon Needles, so don’t boo her. DJ Manny Lehman will be spinning. When: 9 p.m. Saturday; Where: South Beach, 810 Pacific; Tickets: $12 advance, $15 at the door, free before 10 p.m.
Amy LaVere:Amy LaVere is one of those artists who reveals the limitations of the “Americana” tag. Dragging along a stand-up bass, she sings in a breathy and expressive voice that gives her music a soulfulness and jazziness that fuse wondrously with the country side of her sound. She has three albums, the best and most recent being “Stranger Me” from 2011. She’ll be joined by Will Sexton. When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday; Where: McGonigel’s Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk; Tickets: $20-$22.
fun.: By the time you read this, pop band fun. may have swept this month’s Grammys with inescapable hit “We Are Young.” The guys seem like they should have been one-hit wonders, but the parade of anthemic hits continues into the new year. New single “Carry On” is already scaling the charts, and every song likely will incite a sing-along. When: 8 p.m. Wednesday; Where: Bayou Music Center, 520 Texas; Tickets: $29.50-$36.
Dustin Welch : A synthy electric pulse opens “Tijuana Bible,” the second album by Dustin Welch, which then gives way to a distorted banjo that steers it back toward the darker-than-dark roots music of his previous album, “Whiskey Priest,” which announced the arrival of a promising young talent four years ago. In addition to the raw, propulsive sound, Welch serves up some thoughtful and perfectly detailed lyrics, which is no big shocker since his old man is the great songwriter Kevin Welch. When: 8 p.m. Wednesday; Where: Under the Volcano, 2349 Bissonnet; Tickets: $7 at the door; 713-526-5282. When: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday; Where: Cactus Music, 2110 Portsmouth; free .