Singer/songwriter Lillie West helms the Chicago-based grunge-rock/dream-pop project Lala Lala (playing Rozz-Tox on January 21) from the persona of the disaffected slacker youth who is quite capable – perhaps secretly, and to her own chagrin – of putting in some serious work to untangle her life’s problems.

Owen, January 18

Mike Kinsella, who performs locally as a Moeller Nights headliner on January 18, records solo music under the moniker Owen, and the Chicago-based living legend earned his stripes over decades of peerless songwriting at the front, or co-front, of projects who would come to define then-emerging, '90s-born styles such as emo, indie rock, and math rock.

Minneapolis-based label Northern Parallels aligns a crew of DJs and producers for a January 18 showcase at Rozz-Tox. Based on recent mixes posted by featured DJ Colin Cook, one spearhead of the IowaTechno collective out of Cedar Rapids, and the melting atmospheric tracks of featured producer Mike Derer, the night looks to be a certified banger.

The passionate vocals of singer Alyssa Niemiec sit front and center in the music of Madison, Wisconsin-based rock quintet Skyline Sounds (playing Rozz-Tox on January 11), leaping from their songs in arcs of cascading melody and criss-crossing harmonies.

Buzz Osbourne of Melvins @ RIBCO 2013 photo by Matt Erickson

After thirty years in the game, one might imagine Melvins would slow down, burn out, or fade away. Having pioneered the grunge rock and sludge metal styles of the early nineties, and inspiring a wide-eyed young Kurt Cobain and his contemporaries to follow in their footsteps, the Washington-based trio (sometimes quartet) led by guitarist/singer Buzz Osbourne and drummer Dale Crover still show no signs of fatigue in 2017.

Ellen Kempner of Palehound on: NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concert in April 2016

While Palehound frontperson Ellen Kempner started the project in 2013 as an outlet for her diaristic solo songwriting, the band has since expanded to a proper rock trio that packs a punch to match her emotionally devastating lyrics.