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Critics' Picks for April 2-8

Shows by Earl Sweatshirt, Curren$y, Single Mothers and Protomartyr

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Earl Sweatshirt - EARL SWEATSHIRT PHOTO COURTESY OF BRICK STOWELL
  • Earl Sweatshirt photo courtesy of Brick Stowell
  • Earl Sweatshirt

[HIP HOP] + SAT., APRIL 4

After a tumultuous couple of weeks with Sony, we can retroactively assume that Earl Sweatshirt's "Not Ready 2 Leave" tour subtitle didn't have anything to do with the relationship with his record label. Sony didn't exactly stick the landing with I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside's rollout, posting an album title and release date where there should have just been a music video. Earl wasn't happy, but we have his second record all the same. It's even more dark, drawn-out and deliberate than Doris. He performs at Mr. Small's with Remy Banks and Vince Staples, who turned in the promising Hell Can Wait EP last year. Shawn Cooke 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $25. 412-821-4447 or www.mrsmalls.com

[HIP HOP] + SAT., APRIL 4

Curren$y doesn't make grand statements — he's a "weed rapper" and never tries to transcend that subgenre. His songs have similar urgency to a game of solitaire. However, the unveiling of his next album, Pilot Talk , has all the opulence of a Jay Z box set and the tech savvy of a 21st-century Wu Tang release. (It's a $100 USB bundle with a T-shirt and Pilot Talk 3 look book — and you can't download it on iTunes.) Lead single "Alert" indicates that his winning formula hasn't changed a bit, even if the packaging's new. Curren$y plays Altar Bar tonight with Corner Boy, Palermo Stone and Norman Dean. SC 9 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District. $25-28. 412-206-9719 or www.thealtarbar.com

[PUNK] + WED., APRIL 8

Like some of last year's most thrilling punk records (Perfect Pussy's Say Yes to Love, White Lung's Deep Fantasy), Single Mothers' Negative Qualities is an exercise in exhausting brevity. It's only a 10-song, 23-minute LP, but it hits hard. Vocalist Drew Thomson screams his way through blistering post-hardcore that takes aim at bookish college snobs, religion and anyone who's full of shit. And if that isn't punk enough for you, see the website's welcome note: "Single Mothers broke up in 2009 — and have been playing shows ever since." The band plays a show at Club CafĂ© tonight with Edhochuli and Killing Thing. SC 8 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $8-10. 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com

Protomartyr - PROTOMARTYR PHOTO COURTESY OF ANGEL CEBALLOS
  • Protomartyr photo courtesy of Angel Ceballos
  • Protomartyr

[POST-PUNK] + WED., APRIL 8

Protomartyr's battle-ready songs pack brute force, and yet the band rarely seems to take itself seriously. For instance, it announced the completion of its new album with a Facebook photo with the caption, "Horseshit artsy photo as tenuous evidence we are done recording the third album." It will likely come to us a little more than a year after the band's excellent Under Color of Official Right, which was equally pummeling, nasty and perceptive. Pittsburgh punk exports The Gotobeds open for Protomartyr tonight at Gooski's. SC 9 p.m. 3117 Brereton St., Polish Hill. 412-681-1658

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