Cerebral alt-pop prominently featuring the violin? In Daniel Hart's hands, it's sheer magic. The Orientalist, the Dallas-based Hart's debut solo effort, comes after years of the singer-songwriter-violinist performing with plenty of big indie stars, like Broken Social Scene and homegrown heroes St. Vincent and the Polyphonic Spree. The dozen tracks of The Orientalist are bold, expansive and intelligent ("I want to take her to the sculpture garden," Hart croons during Van Gogh Sher Gil) in a way too few releases are anymore. Watching that sort of ambition unfold live should be a rare treat, as Hart takes the stage Friday at the Where House, with support from the buzzy Brenna Manzare and the Proper Husbands. Ten bucks gets you in, and the music starts after 9 p.m.
Fort Worth singer-songwriter Clint Niosi's sophomore album, For Pleasure and Spite, is so powerful as to make you catch your breath. The folk-tinged songs, laced with pain and the purifying feel of unburdening one's soul, are raw-nerved knockouts produced by James Talambas. Niosi has played a handful of release shows to celebrate the new effort, and he'll take the subterranean stage at Denton's J&J's Pizza at 8 p.m. Saturday. This free show also features Hares on the Mountain and Eyes, Wings and Many Other Things.