Music lovers, it's another of those weeks where the best advice we can offer is to be adventurous. Here are five acts playing locally that we think are worth a look -- even if you are not familiar with the names.
1. Dev: Young singer Dev calls her style "swag-pop," which is a trendy way of saying she makes party music. See "Bass Down Low" for an example. She's playing a pre-Memorial Day party Thursday, May 24, at the Rainbow Ballroom, 1725 Broadway St. Hip-hoppers The Cataracs join her. It starts at 9 p.m. for ages 16 and up. Tickets cost $25 and $35. Details: devfresno.eventbrite.com.
2. Gayle Skidmore: San Diego-bred Gayle Skidmore says she's written more than 1,700 songs in her life. She started at age 8. She's also a classically trained pianist who can play 20 other instruments. It all comes together in an indie/folk sound that should please fans of Sufjan Stevens and Death Cab for Cutie. She's at Audie's Olympic, 1426 N. Van Ness Ave. 9 p.m. May 18. $6.
3. Tanya Morgan: Saturday, May 19, brings The Dirty Angels hip-hop tour to Fulton 55, 875 Divisadero St. Alt-rap vet Pigeon John headlines, but who you should really be paying attention to is Tanya Morgan. Don't let the name fool you -- Tanya Morgan is actually three dudes who rap. They've been called the "sons of De La Soul" and are a fresh alternative to what modern mainstream rap has become. 9:30 p.m. $10-$12.
4. Soft White Sixties: San Francisco band Soft White Sixties was named one of the top 10 bands in the Bay Area by taste-making radio station Live 105. Its sound is a bit '70s throwback rock, a bit soulful and totally infectious. Sunday, May 20, Soft White Sixties visits Audie's Olympic, 1426 N. Van Ness Ave, with local band Style Like Revelators opening. 9 p.m. $5-$8.
5. Morning Teleportation: This Portland band plays avant-garde pop/folk that fits well alongside bands such as The Flaming Lips. In fact, between Morning Teleportation's first show at The Cellar Door, 101 W. Main St., in Visalia, and its return trip on Tuesday night, May 22, the band went on tour with The Flaming Lips. 9:30 p.m. $7.
On a Sunday afternoon
Some parties feel better during the day. Especially Sunday afternoon. Especially when it's warm: Here are two:
- Soulful Sundays: This brunch and music celebration series returns May 20 for its 2012 season on the patio of Tower District restaurant Veni Vidi Vici, 1116 N. Fulton St. Sunday's event honors the music of Stevie Wonder, with DJs spinning while fans drink sangria and mimosas and eat from a special menu. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. $15.
- Fun Dip: DJs John Magic and Kay Rich start a new Sunday afternoon series called Fun Dip May 20 at The Cellar Nightclub, 446 Clovis Ave., in Old Town Clovis. It's a lot like when you'd see at a nightclub, with music and dancing, but also food and frozen yogurt. It runs 2-7 p.m.
Inner Ear Poetry Jam
7:30 p.m. May 18 / Tower Lounge, 1211 N. Wishon Ave. / $10 / (559) 485-9050
The Inner Ear Poetry Jam is Fresno's longest running poetry event. How long? Well, tonight it celebrates its 10-year anniversary. To celebrate, the Inner Ear is doing a special event at the Tower Lounge (the former Daily Planet) with a Speakeasy theme. That'll include poetry from the 1930s, jazz from the era and burlesque dancing. There's also a poetry slam with a $100 prize.
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 23 / Fulton 55, 875 Divisadero St. / $20-$25 / fulton55.com, (559) 412-7400
Veteran bluesman Tab Benoit is playing his first gig at Fulton 55 on Wednesday night, but it's hardly his first gig in Fresno. Benoit was a staple at Club Fred during its days. In fact, he built a good relationship with Club Fred's Fred Martinez. So it's no coincidence that Martinez's band, 5150, is opening Wednesday's show. Since we haven't seen Benoit in a while, you should know that he released a new album last year, "Medicine." It won him best contemporary album at the 2012 Blues Awards, where he also took home entertainer of the year.
New sounds of Visalia
9:30 p.m. today / The Cellar Door, 101 W. Main St., Visalia / Free / (559) 636-9463
Tonight, The Cellar Door in Visalia hosts a free showcase called The New Sounds of Visalia. But as it turns out, while the bands (Ocher, Slow Season and The Psycho 78s) are new, their sounds aren't that new at all. Ocher, for example, plays '90s-style indie rock and Slow Season plays classic psychedelic rock. The Psycho 78s, meanwhile, play a combo of '50s rock and horror-punk.
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6479, email@example.com or @mikeoz on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.