The Bravery Far from Bold

With FutureSex/LoveSounds, Justin Timberlake gained an unlikely spot as the present king of R&B, a position that he seems likely to hold for some time. The former Mickey Mouser's cultural timeliness and canniness in collaboration make him an undeniable pop juggernaut. And while the songs on FutureSex/LoveSounds ranged from excellent ("My Love") to hilariously misguided ("Losing My Way") to workably funky but dull (most everything else), one cannot deny Timberlake's ability to produce dominant hits. His current live presentation includes thrills both classically theatrical (group choreography, handfuls of glitter) and ultra-modern (an extended interlude of Timbaland cyborg jams), and could prove truly satisfying. Justin Timberlake performs on Sunday, Sept. 23, at HP Pavilion in San Jose at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $51-151; visit www.hppsj.com for more info. Sam Mickens

New York quintet the Bravery can be somebody to everybody, because the group isn't anybody in particular. There's enough blankness in the band that listeners can project many of their favorite acts from 1981 through 2001 onto the group's music. The group's latest, The Sun and the Moon, adds influences from Coldplay, U2, and the Strokes to its angst-informed mélange. The Bravery has an affinity for plasticine hooks, but it doesn't sound as good when its points are barbed — there's a self-important tinge of "suck on our diversity" in the staccato guitars and strings of The Sun. Previously fans of the New Romantics' disco-pop, the Bravery should look to Depeche Mode for advice, and stick to showcasing succinct music for the masses. The Bravery performs on Thursday, Sept. 13, at the Warfield at 8 p.m. Admission is $22.50; call 567-2060 or visit www.livenation.com for more info. —Tony Ware

Jonathan Coulton's world is populated by secret lairs, defensive henchmen, and robot housekeepers who turn out to be Terminators. His marriage of wry cerebral wit and folky songwriting is geek-rock at its nerdiest. If you need further proof, in the days before his music stirred up a buzz, Coulton held down a software-writing gig in his native Connecticut. Yet like obvious touchstones Moxy Früvous or Barenaked Ladies, Coulton possesses a sharp melodic instinct and lyrical attention to detail that makes for broad appeal when he, say, croons an ode to genetics: "DNA, you're in my heart/ DNA, in fact, you're in every part of my body." Even if you're not in on the joke, you'll find yourself singing along when Coulton is joined by fellow geeks Paul & Storm on Friday, Sept. 14, at Great American Music Hall at 9 p.m. Admission is $18-20; call 885-0750 or visit www.gamh.com for more info. John Vettese

Perhaps best known as the dynamo guitarist for Japan's Boredoms during that band's first 15 years of existence, Seiichi Yamamoto has been an integral part of his country's musical underground for more than two decades. He's been in a slew of bands, and has toured the United States with some of them, including the quirkily rocking Omoide Hatoba and the drivingly rhythmic Rovo. Having played everything from folk and jazz to punk and noise, Yamamoto is also a talented improvisational musician, and will be playing his first-ever U.S. solo show this Saturday. Word is it'll be a one-man "psychedelic guitar extravaganza." Bands Suishou no Fune (also from Japan) and estimable locals Wooden Shjips will be bringing the spaced-out drone-rock when they open for Yamamoto on Saturday, Sept. 15, at Bottom of the Hill at 10 p.m. Admission is $10; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com for more info. Mike Rowell

When talking indie band popularity these days, the old yardsticks get rubbery. Your lil' bloggin' sis is already tired of I'm From Barcelona, and that act probably sold 713 records. So should this meager mention of the perfectly peppy Euro wave-rock of Sweden's the Sounds automatically make you groan, "Oh, that Swedish thing, whatever," remember it's about good tunes, not good timing. The Sounds' Dying to Say This to You from way back in 2006 is the real, glossy, catchy, sexy thing. Hear for yourself when the group comes to town on Tuesday, Sept. 18, at the Fillmore at 8 p.m. Admission is $22.50; call 346-6000 or visit www.livenation.com for more info. Eric Davidson

 
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