It’s been three years since Neon Reverb headliners the Drums have released a new album, but fans of the Brooklyn-based indie duo received some joyful news last week when the band announced the upcoming Abysmal Thoughts, out June 16. The outfit’s synth-heavy, guitar-driven surfer rock is a solid way to kick off the Downtown indie fest, so catch them at Backstage Bar & Billiards Thursday night. —Mark Adams
Just as good in the daytime, Night Beats hail from Seattle and are bringing their psyched-out sound to Backstage Bar & Billiards on Friday. The riffy garage band incorporates elements of blues and surf, all coated in fuzz. Try “No Cops” from the band’s latest LP, Who Sold My Generation, or “Love Ain’t Strange” from their sophomore release, Sonic Bloom, for a sample. —Jessie O’Brien
Peanut Butter Wolf
No other Neon Reverb act boasts a documentary with Kanye West, A-Trak and Beastie Boys’ Mike D singing its praises (go watch Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton ASAP). The founder of Stones Throw Records, Peanut Butter Wolf not only provides an outlet for eccentric beatmakers such as Madlib, but he’s also broken acts such as Mayer Hawthorne and Aloe Blacc. Catch him spinning some of his favorite records Friday night at Beauty Bar. —Zoneil Maharaj
Rock ’n’ rollers Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards are really noisy for being only two people. Embracing punk, blues, rock and metal, Deap Vally released their second studio album Femejism in September, bringing the heavy sound in “Royal Jelly” and snotty feminism in “Smile More.” Catch the duo Friday night at Backstage Bar & Billiards. —J.O.
Bash & Pop
Tommy Stinson of the Replacements started the short-lived Bash & Pop in 1992. It’s been 24 years since their only album, but now Stinson has returned with a new version of the band (featuring former members of Guns N’ Roses and the North Mississippi Allstars) and a new disc, Anything Could Happen. Tracks such as “On the Rocks” and “Never Aim to Please” continue the family tradition of straight-ahead rock with a smear of bubble gum and a slice of razor blade. Stinson always delivers onstage—experience it Friday night at The Bunkhouse Saloon. —Lissa Townsend Rodgers
A veteran of L.A.’s beat scene, Mndsgn is a master of chill. To listen to his music is to blast off into a spacey realm of hazy psychedelic soul, ’80s R&B and off-kilter hip-hop. Whether it’s woozy cuts like “Camelblues” or the funked-out “Use Ya Mnd (Twentyfourseven),” be prepared for a trip Friday night at Beauty Bar. —Z.M.
DJ Jonathan Toubin
Some of the best music you’ll hear at Neon Reverb won’t be played live. New York City DJ Jonathan Toubin brings his legendary Soul Clap dance party to Las Vegas, and the event closes the festival Sunday night at Oddfellows. The music is the stompingest of vintage ’60s soul cuts, designed to make even the most rhythm-free wallflower hit the dance floor and show off their best James Brown moves. —L.T.R.
March 9–12, times vary, $15/individual shows, $60/festival pass, neonreverb.com