Mercies, Whammies, Presidents

I’ve been petty about something and need to come clean. I intentionally ignored Vegas singer/guitarist Brendan Scholz’s new one-man acoustic project, Mercy Music, for this reason: Scholz essentially sidelined his band Deadhand to make time for his new tunes. Since Deadhand is my favorite rock outfit, I didn’t want to encourage him. I can’t deny it anymore: Mercy Music is a sonic blessing. I love it.

Scholz launched his power-pop/folk venture in October. He recently completed a short West Coast tour and will be playing a few East Coast dates in January. Meantime, he’s recording tracks for the Hurley clothing company’s spring sampler and hopes to release a debut EP, Captain of the Men of Death, before the new year.

Tracks you can expect to hear on the EP are on Mercy Music’s Bandcamp and ReverbNation sites. There’s the irresistible melody of “Bird of Death,” the staccato-strum of “With Love,” and the Elvis Costello-grade lyrics of “Fine.” (All I know is self-destruction/Fail to keep myself in line/You’re free to the assumption/That everything will be just fine) Not everything on the EP will be solo-acoustic; Scholz has three full-band tracks in the works.

I chatted with Scholz about his influences, which range from Graham Parker to Paul Westerberg. Clearly he has elite taste for a 26-year-old! Mercy Music plays Hillary Salon in the Arts Factory at 8 p.m. Dec. 7, and is free.

Other shows for which you should scrape together cash: Newly assembled rockabilly supergroup The Whammy wallops Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel at 9:30 p.m. Dec. 8. The band features Stray Cats skinsman Slim Jim Phantom, Polecats front man Tim Polecat and Guana Batz bassman Jonny Bowler—each an all-star vet of retro-rock. The Whammy doesn’t have an album out, so catch ’em live and working out the kinks before they enter a studio in the spring. The band performs covers (from Elvis to the Cats) and originals, which means many songs will be familiar.

One of the best rap acts of all time? For my money, it’s the politically conscious, underground hip-hop group Dead Prez. The duo, consisting of and M-1, released a couple of albums on Columbia/Sony in the early “aughts” to massive acclaim. The Prez’s best-known jam is probably 2004’s “Hell Yeah,” with the lyric: Fuck welfare/We say reparations. They laid low for a while until busting out this year’s magnificent Information Age, which features club-slammin’ track “Dirty White Girl.” Dead Prez enliven LVCS at 8 p.m. Dec. 9.

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Do-si-do’s (and Don’ts)


Do-si-do’s (and Don’ts)

By Danny Axelrod

With the return of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, country music fans can expect an abundance of concerts to get in loads of boot-scooting boogying. From Dec. 6-15, the NFR has sanctioned more than two dozen music and comedy opportunities, which will appeal to both die-hard aficionados and the relatively uninitiated. With this in mind, here’s a cross-section of performances, from the most-anticipated to a few you may have otherwise missed, to assure the most out of your NFR musical experience. Keen on Contemporary: