Austra, Poolside, Gold Wolf Galaxy, Prefuse 73
AUSTRA BEAT AROUND THE (KATE) BUSH
During a summer afternoon at 2011's Capitol Hill Block Party, I staggered into the sauna known as Neumos and encountered Austra, a female-dominated Canadian group who were singing the heaven out of emotionally fraught, goth-inflected electronic tunes—while busting graceful, fluid moves. What a pleasant surprise amid the indie-rock hegemony of that day. In a Line Out review of that performance, I wrote that Austra came off "like three Kate Bushes if they were recording for 4AD circa 1984." Now with their latest album, Olympia, Austra come close to exuding the grandeur of Zola Jesus. This isn't really a dance record as much as it is a showcase for Austra's chilly, gorgeous compositional skills and vocal dramaturgy. They're a class act. With Diana. Neumos, 8 pm, $17, 21+.
TOTAL LIFE ASCENDS TO THE DRONE
Love or hate avant-rock anti-stars Godspeed You! Black Emperor, you have to respect their choice to open for them on this tour: Total Life. The solo project of Growing guitarist Kevin Doria, Total Life is a rising force on the international power-electronics/drone circuit. He wowed the crowd at this year's Debacle Fest and has released two excellent records for the great labels Debacle (Bender/Drifter) and Important (Radiator). Both albums feature epic, powerful blasts of third-ear-expanding drones that possess a meditative quality, despite the massive generator-like hum spuming forth. There's something about the rasping tones and relentless intensity of Total Life's music that makes me think it's the logical successor to the transcendently prickly ambient music of Fripp & Eno's (No Pussyfooting). Showbox Sodo, 8 pm, $25 adv/$28 DOS, all ages.
PREFUSE 73'S DISPERSED HIPHOP MUTATIONS
Prefuse 73 was once the golden boy of IDM/radical instrumental hiphop—until Flying Lotus barged in and swiped most of his glory. Prefuse (Guillermo Scott Herren) has been relatively quiet lately; his last album, The Only She Chapters, came out in 2011. That work found him retreating from his trademark hyper-rhythmic disjunctions and plying a more melodic approach, bolstered by several collabs with female vocalists (the late Trish Keenan, Zola Jesus, Niki Randa, etc.). It's kind of a lost gem in Prefuse's catalog, which spikes with some of the most intoxicating mutations of hiphop by an American producer from the last decade. His ability to translate his baffling beat science on record to the live stage has been inconsistent; the best Prefuse shows I've seen have happened when he brings a full band. Fingers crossed. With Theoretics and IG88. Crocodile, 8 pm, $15, 21+.