Top weekend shows: Soft Speaker, Nick Lowe, Cave

Nick Lowe

Soft Speaker: The co-ed quartet throws a curve on its latest release, “The Jockey” (SSPKR) in which it enlists “artists that we highly respect and admire” to interpret eight Soft Speaker tracks. There’s also one ringer, a live Soft Speaker track that captures the group’s fluid interplay, 9:30 p.m. Friday at Subterranean, 2011 W. North Av., $10 and $12; subt.net.

Nick Lowe: “The Basher,” as he was known in his pub-rocking ‘70s heyday, is a bit more suave and smooth these days. But his sly wit and songwriting acumen remain at a high level, as evidenced by his latest release, “The Old Magic” (Yep Roc), 8 p.m. Friday at Park West, 322 W. Armitage Av., $30; jamusa.com.

Cave: This heavyweight quartet hypnotizes with trance-inducing churn, as displayed on its perfect-for-long-distance-driving 2011 CD, “Neverendless” (Drag City), 10 p.m. Saturday at Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Av., $8; emptybottle.com.

greg@gregkot.com

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