Strand of Oaks

Wednesday offers a surprisingly strong pair of shows, and you can even see them both in full if the spirit moves you.

First, Wholly Craft, 3169 N. High St., is hosting another one of its intimate in-store concerts. The headliner is Strand of Oaks, self-described as "Timothy Showalter... an Indiana Mennonite turned Pennsylvania Hebrew Dayschool teacher who even drives the school bus for extra cash, and has sing-alongs with the pupils as they ease on down the road..." Showalter's songs are some of the most richly melodic, deeply moving acoustic ballads I've heard since I discovered Mark Kozelek. Dude makes me swoon. His lyrics and arrangements coalesce into an emotional swell that could be simply devestating if it caught you on a particularly vulnerable day. Yet he's much more hopeful than some of the sad-sack balladeers that mine this territory. His show is a must-see for fans of Sun Kil Moon and pre-suck Iron & Wine. Music starts at 7 p.m. and will be done by 9:30. Black Swans and Bird and Flower open. And did I mention this show is free?

When it wraps up, the wise thing to do would be either go home and watch your DVRed Lost or head down to Circus, 1227 N. High St., where Stardeath and White Dwarfs tops a strangely appealing bill. These Flaming Lips collaborators make space-age psychedelia in the same vein as Yoshimi, with sassy synths and mournful acoustic guitars sharing space. The mercurial Moons and newcomers The Town Monster are set to open this show, which starts exactly when the other one finishes up at 9:30 p.m. Cover is $8.