By now, we probably know enough about how Jonny Craig’s mind works to recognize a deliberate connect between the bold moniker of his new band, Slaves, and the title of the group’s debut release, “Through Art We Are All Equals,” due out on Tuesday. “Every man is a slave to what we love — whether it be women, drugs, music or sports. Through art we are all equals,” he is quoted as saying. The solo artist and former Dance Gavin Dance vocalist has a way of choosing his words very carefully — as well as a way of singing them with unbridled, emotionally-wrought gusto. This huge bill also features Kyle Lucas, Cemetery Sun, Wrings, Altessa and Imagine This. 1000 K St., Sacramento. $13. www.assemblysacramento.com
Typically relying on straight-ahead blues and rock, the Torch is known to throw a few curves with its bookings, and this one is an all out forkball. Hailing from Sonoma County, the Crux is a lively and free-flowing tent-revival collective in the vein of Gogol Bordello – fueled by a raucous and deliberately gruff current of acoustic gypsy punk and folk with an unlikely shiny finish. Its most recent release, “The Ratcatcher,” is what might have happened if Tom Waits’ “Mule Variations” was instead written about unicorns. 904 15th St., Sacramento. $5. www.torchclub.net.
Call him the “Papa Bear” of the Bay Area’s indie rock scene. The John Vanderslice-owned Tiny Telephone studio in San Francisco has become a penny pincher’s destination and has hosted artists including Death Cab for Cutie, Deerhoof, the Dodos and Spoon. And that’s not to mention Vanderslice himself, a refreshingly unassuming songwriter and crafty instrumentalist with an airplane hangar full of breezy and blues/soul inspired indie rock treasures to his credit. J.V. headlines Saturday’s Davis Music Festival, which also includes dozens of acts such as French Cassettes, Two Sheds and Dead Winter Carpenters. www.davismusicfest.com.
Looking ahead: Jewel. July 17 at Center for the Arts
It wasn’t that the yodeling Alaskan singer with the famed snaggletooth was the face of just female folk in the ’90s. Jewel stands at the center of an entire musical decade. 314 W. Main St., Grass Valley. $58-$68. www.centerforthearts.org.