tuned in Ken Maiuri on Valley music

Last modified: Thursday, August 21, 2014
Easthampton’s Flywheel has a history of hosting underground bands that later burst into the big time — Bright Eyes, Ra Ra Riot and tUnE-yArDs are three that immediately come to mind — and now there’s another to add to the list: Merchandise.

The Tampa, Florida group played the volunteer-run venue once before, back in 2012, and embodies the same do-it-yourself spirit as Flywheel, making records at home in their shared house.

Led by vocalist Carson Cox, the always evolving Merchandise currently hits a real ‘80s nerve for anyone who swooned in front of the TV during “120 Minutes” every Sunday night — their song “Anxiety’s Door” could have been sandwiched between other dreamy, swirling and moody bands like The Cult, The Cure, The Smiths, The Jesus and Mary Chain and others.

“Little Killer” is the excellent first single from their forthcoming debut for the legendary 4AD label (“After the End,” due out Aug. 25), and it’s so anthemic, so big, it’s hard to believe the band is still playing the friendly Flywheel and not some huge venue — but it’s clear that’s what’s in Merchandise’s future, so see them in your backyard while you still can.

Merchandise headlines a quadruple bill that also includes Ukiah Drag, Demonbrother and La Caza at Flywheel in Easthampton on Friday at 7 p.m.

Boston’s Barrence Whitfield & The Savages have been busy tearing up international stages with their sweaty and dance-minded garage R&B, complete with saxophone. Whitfield is the molten core, wailing like Little Richard or Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and pogoing wildly while his crack band whips up a groovy racket around him. See the dance-friendly band at the Iron Horse on Friday at 7 p.m. Young locals The Snaz open.

The Bari Koral Family Rock Band bring their cute and sugar-sweet kid-oriented songs about all the important topics — cupcakes, ducks, butterflies, backpacks, kisses and hugs — to the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Popular local band Winterpills perform trio style (vocalists Philip Price and Flora Reed plus guitarist Dennis Crommett) at the 1794 Meetinghouse in New Salem on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

And the Kids, Great Smokey and Tapestries play a “Summer Fun Party Show” at Bishop’s Lounge in Northampton on Saturday at 10 p.m.

Eva Cappelli and the Watershops Band, Colorway, Rick Murnane, Scott Lawson Pomeroy, The Ed Vadas Trio and others play a memorial concert for Gary Biardi at Millside Park in Easthampton on Sunday at 4 p.m. It’s a benefit to raise money for two wrought-iron benches to be placed in the park, along the Manhan Rail Trail.

Ace bassist Rhees Williams and friends serve up Dub Night at the 13th Floor Music Lounge in Florence on Monday at 9 p.m.

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, still touring behind last year’s Jeff Tweedy/Pat Sansone-produced album “Wassaic Way,” bring their harmonious folk-rock to the Parlor Room in Northampton on Thursday at 7 p.m. Milton opens the show.

Vimana (a local all-star informal funk/rock/jazz collective with horns, percussion, bass, drums and double guitar) and Mystics Anonymous (Jeff Steblea’s alt-rock collective) team up for a double bill at the Arts Block in Greenfield on Thursday at 8 p.m.

Pete Donnelly is a member of The Figgs and a former member of NRBQ, and he’s written catchy melodic pop for both bands. His warm-hearted solo material (like on last year’s album “Face the Bird”) follows in the same tradition. Donnelly plays a rare area show at Mocha Maya’s in Shelburne Falls on Thursday at 8 p.m. MaryLeigh Roohan opens.