May 30: Times New Viking at Black Cat. Critics have poo-pooed the Columbus, Ohio, band for basically pulling a late-period Guided by Voices maneuver on its latest record: abandoning scuzz for, um, less scuzz. That’s crap. Times New Viking is playing the same oddball pop it always had, only now it’s (gulp) pretty.
June 1: More Humans at Velvet Lounge. That this local trio arranges its twangy vocals in hypnotically close harmonies should be the first satisfyingly confounding thing you notice. Lyrics like “Welcome to the childhood home of Andy Warhol and Dan Marino” should be the second. Weird and thrilling.
July 2: R. Kelly at Verizon Center. At this point, R. Kelly’s indie-rock appeal should be plain. His unpredictability, his sense of irony, and his aesthetic contrarianism has generated tons of unironic love from hipsters; he’s probably indirectly responsible for witch house. That’s why Interview didn’t tap a peer for its recent R. Kelly item. It paired him with weirdo-folk troubadour Will Oldham.
June 15: Animal Collective at Merriweather Post Pavillion. Blah blah, ROFL ROFL, they made an album called that. But the best thing about seeing this band, no matter how big the venue, is how different they’ll probably sound from the last time you caught them live.
All summer long: Fort Reno. Though most years it skews hard toward bands in the Dischord tradition (if not in the Dischord stable), this long-running outdoor series always gives a solid sampling of the city’s indie-rock scene. Plus, once a summer, free cake.