(Crocodile) Dexterously verbose, Afro-centric boom-bap heads coming up in the ridiculously fertile L.A. rap scene of the mid-’90s, Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel have made some of the most fully realized records ever to emerge from the post-backpacker underground. Though they’ve released a scant three albums as Blackalicious since their official recorded debut 21 years ago, each one has maintained their rep as hiphop purists, prizing technical virtuosity and craftsmanship above scene-hopping and trend-setting. Their sound combines Native Tongues-influenced wordplay and an omnivorous, densely populated aural palette, with beats equal parts Paul’s Boutique, Gil Scott-Heron, and DJ Shadow. And Gift of Gab’s mic technique remains a powerful force, a barrage of alliteration and complexly inter-locking rhymes spit in a voice brilliantly straddling the line between cartoonish and vicious. They’ve got a new album slated for a fall release: prepare your minds. KYLE FLECK
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New York transplant Jaymz Nylon is one of the city’s most prominent house-music lifers. He’s been feeding the Seattle and internet faithful highly nutritious mixes via his Adult Selections series (up to 78 at press time) and lately he’s been bringing his passion for deep, soulful house into the club realm with the Passage night at Kremwerk. If you’re into house’s myriad subsets and offshoots, Nylon is one of the most knowledgeable DJs to guide you through its groove-heavy, buttery labyrinths. Bonus: His sweltering 1993 single as Ofunwa, “It All Begins Here,” still sounds vital. Guest DJ Erin O’Connor grabbed my attention with her über-funky house mix laid down at a recent Emerald City Brunch. Check it out at soundcloud.com/eoconnor. With Joey Webb and Vagabond Superstar. Kremwerk, 8 pm, $5, 21+. DAVE SEGAL
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Local experimental label Cabin Games takes over the City Hall lawn this Thursday for its part of the city-sanctioned "Out to Lunch" series, so brave the downtown button-down flurry just this once. Outer-space-based Cabin Games signees Hightek Lowlives will be unleashing interstellar grooves on downtown's staunchly stale core with their choice blend of sci-fi-infused, wonky blips and feel-good R&B/triphop soul. There will be even more trippy beats from Richie Dagger's Crime, but be sure to stick around for headliner Steve Fisk, whose awesome weirdness is immortalized in his cross-genre-ational work. Beginning in the '80s, the Northwest legend has released records as a member of Pell Mell and Pigeonhed, as well as solo records through independent labels like K, Sub Pop, and SST. Fisk’s music ranges from found-sound experiments to minimal weirdo-core, and he’s collaborated with everyone from Girl Trouble to Ben Gibbard. On top of all this, Fisk has also worked as an engineer/producer for teeny-tiny bands like Nirvana, Low, and Beat Happening, as well as current local bands I've raved about in this column before—Special Explosion and SEACATS. City Hall Plaza, 12 pm-1:30 pm, free. BRITTNIE FULLER
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(Chapel Performance Space) The marvelous, multitalented Beth Fleenor—vocalist, clarinetist, creator of happenings—has blindfolded musicians before, just for fun, and can do jazz, rock, classical, contemporary chamber, Slavic and American folk, metal, musique concrete, ambient, noise, and pop. She's performed at maximum-security prisons. She believes that you don't have to super-control it, people just naturally make awesome, and she is living proof. JEN GRAVES
And here's all our recommended music events—tonight, tomorrow, this weekend, and beyond!