Ken Maiuri’s Tuned In: World Party at Iron Horse in Northampton and more, this week in the Valley

Last modified: Thursday, July 24, 2014
Karl Wallinger has been making music under the name World Party since the mid-1980s. Like the Beatles, he appreciates melody and optimism; like Prince, he loves creating in his studio. That winning combination gave Wallinger’s World Party timeless hits that stuck out like sore thumbs in their garish-hit-parade day: “Ship of Fools,” “Way Down Now,” “Put the Message In the Box,” “Is It Like Today.”

Like many a creative artist before and since, Wallinger kept writing quality songs whether the pop charts cared or not — although in one case, his tune “She’s the One” was later covered by big star Robbie Williams and went gold in the United Kingdom. Around that time, Wallinger had an aneurysm that permanently affected his sight (he lost all peripheral vision on the right side); thankfully the royalties arriving in the mail were some help as the medical bills began to grow.

Five recuperatory years later, he put World Party back into action, and in 2012, released a five-disc collection called “Arkeology.” It’s not a typical box set full of hits or repackaged albums. Wallinger, as always, wanted to make something special, so he collected 70 unreleased old and new recordings, live tracks, outtakes, cover versions of his favorite pop songs and more, housing them in a useful diary, which his kids helped him create.

More new material is on the horizon, and Wallinger and World Party will play the Iron Horse in Northampton Sunday at 7 p.m. Gabriel Kelley opens.

Austin, Texas, singer-songwriter Matt the Electrician (aka Matt Sever) began performing in public at age 15, playing weekly shows at his local coffee shop. Now he’s a nationally touring musician with nine albums under his belt, including a new one, “It’s a Beacon It’s a Bell.” He appears at the Parlor Room in Northampton Friday at 8 p.m. Western Massachusetts’ own Mikey Sweet opens.

June & the Bee (Amherst siblings Emma June and Eli Ayres, plus saxophonist/singer Zoe Langsdale and additional friends) share the evening with the Woman Songwriter Collective (Lisa Marie Ellingsen, Christa Joy, Carolyn Walker, Lexi Weege and Wishbone Zoe) at the Montague Bookmill Friday at 8 p.m.

Chris Merenda and The Wheel (featuring guitarist Bruce Mandaro) bring its “twistadelic-flavored old time music” to the Luthiers Co-Op in Easthampton Friday at 9:30 p.m.

The Joe Belmont Jazz Guitar Trio (with special guest Nancy Janoson on flute) shares a bill with the Northampton Community Music Center Quartet for a night of jazz at the Arts Block Cafe in Greenfield on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Philadelphia-based Kurt Vile is going strong on a string of critically acclaimed albums, the latest of which is the mesmerizing “Wakin On a Pretty Daze.” The guitars have as much to say as Vile’s sometimes mumbly vocals, appearing in every imaginable texture, from lush acoustic picking and strumming to chunky distortion. The hypnotic and nearly 10-minute “Wakin on a Pretty Day” ambles along like a lazy hazy summer day (a cicada-like synth pops up near the end) and “KV Crimes” has a relaxed stomp, like a classic rock song on NyQuil. See Vile and his band the Violators upstairs at Pearl Street in Northampton Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Steve Gunn and zzones round out the triple bill.

Steve Sanderson, Scott Hall and Terry Flood (all members of the long-running Valley act Drunk Stuntmen) play together at the Luthiers Co-Op Saturday at 9:30 p.m.