1. Andrew Jackson Jihad and Cheap Girls, June 5, Jack Rabbits
Severely underrated Phoenix duo Andrew Jackson Jihad specializes in a gritty, gratifying folk-punk approach that’s on excellent display on their new album Christmas Island, recorded with punk production icon John Congleton. They play with Cheap Girls, who breathe new life into heartland rock.
2. My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, June 10, Underbelly
These industrial rock pioneers came up alongside fellow genre progenitors Ministry and KMFDM, yet they’ve never shied away from experimentation or controversy, skewing toward sultry disco, sleazy house and spooky go-go spiked with shocking, sexed-up vivacity.
3. Foxy Shazam and Larry & His Flask, June 13, Freebird Live
Cincinnati band Foxy Shazam lives up to its ab-fab name with rhinestone-studded glam rock and over-the-top onstage theatricality. Don’t miss opener Larry & His Flask, who will thrash through punked-up bluegrass.
4. The Rough & Tumble, June 17, Burro Bar
Nashville duo Scott Tyler and Mallory Graham seem sweeter than cherry pie — in 2013, they released two songs per month as part of a “Holiday Awareness Campaign.” Their heartfelt, harmonious take on slightly askew Americana strikes just the right balance between precious and profound.
5. David Dondero, June 28, Shanghai Nobby’s
This nomadic troubadour swings through Northeast Florida nearly every year, yet his road-weary, emotionally resonant narratives never get old. Dondero himself hates the honor, but don’t pass up the chance to get intimate with a man named as one of NPR’s 10 Best Living Songwriters.
6. The Duval Luau with Guantanamo Baywatch and Wet Nurse, July 5, Underbelly
Replace your red, white and blue with thrashed grass skirts and ironic Hawaiian shirts to celebrate ’Murica with campy Portland surf-rock lunatics Guantanamo Baywatch and sugary Orlando garage-poppers Wet Nurse.
7. Ray LaMontagne and Jenny Lewis, July 15, The Florida Theatre
The most high-profile show on this list should also deliver the most diverse night of entertainment: LaMontagne’s coarse-grained soul has matured into a heady mix of psychedelia and R&B, while the heavenly voice of former-child-TV-star-turned-folk-chanteuse Jenny Lewis is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
8. Jeremy Messersmith, July 18, Jack Rabbits
Elegant voice, sophisticated production, heart-on-sleeve songwriting — consider this Minnesotan the crown prince of baroque pop, or the “Pied Piper of Wuss Rock,” as Messersmith calls himself.
9. Ellis Paul, Aug. 8, The Original Café Eleven
If we’re talking music royalty, Ellis Paul is the undisputed king of hyper-literate, Boston-style folk music, which pays equal homage to the genre’s storied past and its progressive present. Very few have done more to advance it into the future.
10. Connection Festival with Kermit Ruffins & the BBQ Swingers, Treme Brass Band, Less Than Jake, Surfer Blood, Whole Wheat Bread, Orquestra el Macabeo, La Quilombera and more, Sept. 12-14, Downtown Jacksonville
This Downtown festival might fall after the unofficial end of summer on Labor Day. But putting together a tasty blend of New Orleans traditionalists, Florida punks and Puerto Rican salsa savants should give off plenty of September heat.