Festivals, intimate record store sets, arena shows—whatever your pleasure, we've got it all this week. Our music critics have picked everything from the intimate return of a community staple (Mount Eerie) to the leader of North London's grime surge (Skepta), and from a celebration of a gauzy, dreamy subgenre (Seagaze Festival) to live movie soundtracks from local drone ensembles (the Drone Cinema Film Festival). See them all below, and check out even more shows on our complete music calendar.
Jump to: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday
of Montreal, Christina Schneider’s Jepeto Solutions, Ben Varian
Of Montreal have been out-“of Montreal”ing all of you quirky jerks for years, so listen up. With a catalog that stretches back almost 20 years, and spawned from the sweet, chiming bosom of the Elephant 6 collective, of Montreal, anchored by songwriter and mystical thesaurus Kevin Barnes, has been shape-shifting for years without missing a beat. He’s cited influences like Sylvia Plath and the psychedelic movement of the ’60s for past records, and the 2015 studio release Aureate Gloom draws directly from the CBGB heyday, with Patti Smith and Television at the helm. Live shows with Barnes dolled up like David Bowie, and bacchanalian onstage dance shows promise to leave you wondering where the hell you are and why the hell you would ever want to leave. KATHLEEN TARRANT
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Since its founding in 1961, storied New Orleans institution the Preservation Hall Jazz Band has bred well over 50 members in their lineup, culminating with the current cast that electrifies classic jazz with the vibes, sounds, and swing of the Big Easy.
State Champs, Against the Current, With Confidence, Don Broco
Albany pop-punks State Champs, who released their second full-length album Around the World and Back in 2015, bring their fervor to Seattle with tour support from Against the Current, With Confidence, and Don Broco.
Banks with Raury
Four years after the release of her Fall Over and London EPs, I’m still waiting for LA’s Banks to start selling out arenas. Sure, playing Showbox Sodo is nothing to scoff at, but the dreamy R&B singer, born Jillian Rose Banks, has a serious shot at wider recognition in a world that’s already accepted Lana Del Ray and the Weeknd as pop idols. Her beats, at once silky and sort of narcotic, sound like what the columns of cigarette smoke in noir films look like. Maybe wider audiences just aren’t ready for songs as dark and introspective as those offered by her albums Goddess and The Altar, but denizens of Rain City ought to find a kindred spirit in her depressive, baby-making jams. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Bishop Briggs, SHAED, Zipper Club
Bishop Briggs aims to transcend the limitations of genres by utilizing elements of folk, pop, and electronica in her sound. She'll be joined by SHAED and Zipper Club.
Cris Williamson, Julie Wolf, Scott Amendola, Zachary Ostroff, Guests
Celebrate the CD release of a woman who has been gigging with the best of them for literal decades before indie labels were the market norm. Cris Williamson has been writing and performing thoughtful folksy singer-songwriter pop since 1975, when her iconic album The Changer And The Changed was released on her own label, Olivia Records, the first woman-owned woman-focused record company. Williamson is an essential part of music history, so go enjoy her show with support from Julie Wolf, Scott Amendola, and Zachary Ostroff.
Guided by Voices and Sloucher
Robert Pollard farts and out comes a song. And not just a run-of-the-mill thing, but a thoughtful, emotive, well-crafted number. So not only is the Guided by Voices frontman and primary songwriter prolific as hell, he’s damn good. His Ohio-based band purveys jangly indie rock with arty post-punk flavor and lo-fi appeal that has evolved along with Pollard’s chops, encompassing Brit-invasion, psych-rock, and power-pop influences treated to more refined production qualities as the years have passed. GBV put out 16 LPs before their first breakup in 2004, six more between 2010 and 2014 (during their first reunion), and since rebranding again last year, dropped a few more—2016’s Please Be Honest and last week’s freshly pressed August by Cake. All the while, Pollard has issued lots of solo albums, too; Pitchfork claims that August by Cake is his 100th. This might be overstatement, but I don’t have the patience to track down all of them. It does make me wonder what he does in his “free” time, and if there’s any time that he’s not creatively outputting something. LEILANI POLK
Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge with Aoife O’Donovan
Virtuosic duo Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge bend the borders of folk, bluegrass, and jazz. They'll be joined in their efforts by clear-toned acoustic singer-songwriter Aoife Donovan.
RainyDawg Radio's 14th Birthday Fest
The sweetest local college radio station that could, UW's RainyDawg Radio, is expanding into its teenage years and thusly, will be throwing a two-night banger worthy of any 14-year-old music nerd. Night 1 features Kero Kero Bonito, Mark Redito, and whichever lucky duck won last week's Birthday Battle, with Night 2 featuring Injury Reserve, Milo, and Stasia Mehschel.
Bilal, SassyBlack, Ghost-Note
Since the inception of his illustrious career, Philadelphia Soulquarian Bilal Sayeed Oliver has moved with ease among the worlds of hiphop, soul, and jazz (other members of the Soulquarians collective include D’Angelo and Erykah Badu). Traces of punk and reggae also flow through his eclectic work. Starting in 2001, his classically trained tenor has graced numerous albums, from Common’s Like Water for Chocolate to Robert Glasper’s Grammy Award–winning Black Radio, on which he finds the jazz heart in David Bowie’s “Letter to Hermione.” When Bilal hasn’t been hanging out with heavy hitters, like Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar, he’s released four studio recordings, including 2015’s In Another Life featuring keyboards from Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest and production from Black Dynamite composer Adrian Younge. KATHY FENNESSY
Crybaby Studios Monthly Show
I’d reckon when most of your city’s top groups practice in your basement every day, it’s hard to NOT wanna see them play live in public, so for a while now the popular Capitol Hill practice space Crybaby Studios has been putting on locals-only shows like tonight’s rock action. Mommy Long Legs shred noisy rock and reverb-dunked 1970s/’80s punk; they’re self-described as “barf-core/fart-core.” Actually, they don’t stink TOO much like farts! Bookending MLL are Softboys (not Robyn Hitchcock’s Soft Boys), but rather local Day-Glo punks who play knowing 1970s punk, and NailPolish, who play raucous, contemporary post-punk. All of tonight’s jams will be framed by visuals from Daisy Heroin. MIKE NIPPER
Mount Eerie with Lori Goldston
Phil Elverum’s music under the Mount Eerie moniker has always been extremely intimate—an attribute inherent in his soft-spoken vocal delivery and largely acoustic guitar-based arrangements. But over the years, Elverum’s modest instrumentation has become increasingly majestic, with his expanding arsenal of instruments and resourceful recording techniques creating a lush world where even the lone sustained fuzzed-out bass notes on 2015’s Sauna take on a symphony of microtones. In the wake of the passing of his wife, Geneviève, Elverum channeled his anguish into A Crow Looked at Me, an album that explores death not through metaphors but through the literal details of life in the aftermath of loss. By eschewing the platitudes that often accompany the discussion of death, Elverum has made both his most deeply intimate album and a profound stand-alone examination of grief. BRIAN COOK
Real Estate, Tim Cohen, iji
What sets the Jersey boys in Real Estate apart from the anonymous masses of kinda disaffected, sorta heartbroken white dudes with chiming guitars and pretty voices is that these guys know how to build an actual tune. In fact, they’ve crafted two albums of immaculately rendered jangle-pop and were poised for a hat trick with the release of their third, Atlas, in March 2014. Every song is like the Platonic ideal of an indie-rock anthem: condensed, addictive nuggets of melody and atmosphere, technically adept and never over-staying their welcome. Meanwhile, Martin Courtney’s lyrics create a sort of Rorschach test for your emotions; they’re vague enough to score a breakup or acceptance into law school. Sure, it’s polite and a little fey, but damned if they don’t crank out some head-noddingly, toe-tappingly catchy music. KYLE FLECK
Shura with Cuff Lynx
Rising electro-pop singer Shura, now done with her tour stint alongside Tegan and Sara, takes the stage with support from Cuff Lynx.
Skepta with Guests
North London’s reigning champ, MC/producer/DJ Skepta, leads the charge of grime’s most recent surge of popularity in North America—as a veteran rapper and low-key athleisure icon. As the internet flattens regional scenes, the insular, spare roadman style, American club excesses, and spacey SoundCloud swag rap all make comfortable flatmates, as evinced on Skepta’s excellent 2016 album Konnichiwa, which signaled his arrival in the colonies. Kanye needed him there when he performed on the Brits, and Drake even petitioned to join his crew, the legendary grime label Boy Better Know. As hiphop’s biggest cool hunters align themselves, this particular British empire just grows. The last time mans tried touring the US, visa issues stymied his rollout—but now he’s ready to bring his raucous nobody-smiling shit-talk to Seattle, and let’s hope it’s shutdown (in a good way). LARRY MIZELL JR.
Two Door Cinema Club
Irish indie rock group Two Door Cinema Club have achieved international acclaim with their three studio albums, and will perform tracks from their latest effort Gameshow.
Bing & Ruth, Zen Mother, Guests
Pianist David Moore’s ambient-modern classical ensemble Bing & Ruth’s meteoric rise from tiny RVNG Intl. band to big indie 4AD reflects an increased interest in ambient music. The genre has evolved beyond what its pioneer Brian Eno could have anticipated, and Bing & Ruth exemplify this evolution. Started in 2006 by university-trained Moore, the project was born of his desire to create “minimalist ensemble music with a certain filmic sensitivity, one that prioritized grace and texture over the style’s once-radical subtraction.” After the subtle, gradual melodies found on the 11-piece recording City Lake, Moore pared the group to seven members for their breakthrough album, Tomorrow Was the Golden Age. That work’s more succinct and melodic sound led to the band signing to 4AD to release No Home of the Mind in February. Featuring clarinet, two bassists, Moore on piano, and a tape-delay Opteron, Bing & Ruth create slow-building, breathtaking music that should appeal to fans of Stars of the Lid, Erik Satie, and Jóhann Jóhannsson. NICK ZURKO
Dead Prez, Ras Kass, King Leez. DJ Indica Jones
It's been a while since we've had some solidly militant socialist guerrilla hiphop in town, so Dead Prez is coming back around to fix that for us on the high-holiest of days, 4/20.
Jóhann Jóhannsson with American Contemporary Music Ensemble
Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson excels at combining the sweeping melodies of fellow countrymen Sigur Rós with a modern classical sound palette. He first broke through with the Pitchfork-approved Englabörn, which fused the impressionistic minimalism of Erik Satie, the spiritual stylings of Arvo Pärt, and electronic glitch textures not far away from the likes of Oval and even early Tim Hecker. While the composer continued to release one acclaimed album after another over the course of the decade, Jóhannsson has arisen as one of the most in-demand film and television composers of our time, striking up a highly fruitful relationship with the French-Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, for whom he’s composed scores for Arrival, Sicario, and Prisoners alongside James Marsh’s The Theory of Everything. Jóhannsson’s next film project is perhaps his most anticipated, as he will rejoin Villeneuve to pen the score for the director’s Blade Runner 2049. This is a must-see event for modern classical and music fans of all stripes. NICK ZURKO
Pony 4/20: SSDD, Master Bedroom, GooGoo, DJ Jermaine
Local thrashers SSDD named their band Steal Shit Do Drugs for a reason. We're not advocating that you do drugs with them, we're just saying that you can (since it's 4/20). They'll be supported by Master Bedroom and the geniuses behind Aesthetic Mess, Goo Goo and DJ Jermaine, in this birthday evening for Seattle's favorite herb.
Puget Soundtrack: Hair and Space Museum Presents THX 1138
Puget Soundtrack invites musicians to create a live score for a film of their own choosing. In this iteration, multimedia duo David Golightly and Emily Pothast (aka Hair and Space Museum) will create a live soundtrack for George Lucas' 1971 science fiction film THX 1138.
Sustainable Sounds: Break Up For Good
KEXP and Goodwill have partnered for their "Break Up For Good" series, a sustainability program that will kick off with a special night of music, featuring cover versions of break-up songs, in promotion of recycling and reuse of clothing. The bands participating in the show and program include local stunners like Acapulco Lips, Cataldo, Prom Queen, Sisters, and Goodbye Heart.
Having received accolades for his classical, jazz, and instrumental pop work, Grammy winner Earl Klugh will now take over Jazz Alley for four nights to reinstate himself as the master of the acoustic-classical guitar.
Shoegaze rock is accruing momentum akin to that of the jam-band circuit, with festivals dedicated to the gauzy, dreamy subgenre, reunion tours by the original key players, and growing acceptance from major media outlets. For the second year, Seagaze Festival showcases this oft-transcendent music with 19 acts over four nights. Thursday be sure to check out the Malady of Sevendials, a family of teenage brooders evoking the hushed splendors of Cocteau Twins and A.R. Kane. Friday is stacked with reliable psych-leaning vets like Kingdom of the Holy Sun, This Blinding Light, Black Nite Crash, and the kosmische solo-guitar sojourns of God & Vanilla. Saturday, producer extraordinaire/Stranger Genius Erik Blood flies in from LA to school everyone on lush textures and luscious melodies, while the songs of fest organizer Jeff McCollough’s band, Blackpool Astronomy, whiplash you like prime-time Swervedriver. Sunday, scope Portland’s Coloring Electric Like, who rampage beautifully, like a Northwestern My Bloody Valentine. These are but a small sampling of artists who strive to swirl your brain cells into a purple haze of bliss. DAVE SEGAL
Antibalas, Polyrhythmics, DJ Darek Mazzone
Seeing NYC mainstay Antibalas play is akin to feeling like you’ve been invited to a lively tropical party that has one foot in the sun-soaked 1970s, where Fela Kuti & Africa 70 reigned with brass-splashed, percussion-fueled Afrobeat, and another in the present, fusing jazz, dub, and funk with tight prowess and much playfulness. Nigerian-British vocalist/conga player Duke Amayo leads the charge with exotic bilingual vocals, conga thumping and battering, and martial arts–inspired dance moves, while the ensemble—which ranges from 12 to 15 people in live settings—supports with guitars that fluctuate from wet wah-wah textures to grittier riffs, thick throbbing bass lines, chugging and slinking rhythms, and bright, urgent brass from a multi-piece section led by bari sax player and band founder Martin Perna. LEILANI POLK
Katie Kate with DoNormaal
Former Genius candidate Katie Kate is an exciting performer, combining rap, electronica, and R&B-lite into origami creations of encyclopedic pop music. KYLE FLECK
RJD2 & Tortoise with The 1939 Ensemble
Two Midwestern instrumental heavyweights with backgrounds in electronic music come together in this exciting Friday night bill. Tortoise purvey mostly-instrumental post-rock that is heavy on the experimentation but still mostly accessible, calling on prog, avant jazz, minimalism, dub, krautrock, and even occasional shades of exotica and funk. Seventh and latest The Catastrophist finds the Chicago five-piece dipping into 1980s retro-tech synthscapes, their dark, pressing, churning quality segueing into quieter, more studied moments. RJD2 has a groove-saturated, funk and hiphop-oriented style driven by his undisputed turntable chops; his live setup finds him solo, jumping between four of them to build his dance-hawking songs. He’s issued six albums, the most recent being 2016’s Dame Fortune, which features longtime collaborators like soul-blues crooner Son Little and fellow Columbus native, the rhyme-slinging Blueprint. LEILANI POLK
San Fermin with Low Roar
San Fermin is an eight-piece baroque pop band based in Brooklyn. They'll be joined by Low Roar.
Thunderpussy, Fauna Shade, Wild Powwers, Aan, Sleeping Lessons
Thunderpussy’s Molly Sides blends snarl, sneer, dance, provocation, and tease into a bracing power-pointed presentation. The band also sometimes bring their own dancers along! Fauna Shade conjure the aching regrets of the Jesus and Mary Chain, with some fuzzbox, though not the Chain’s full-on feedback wars, thrown in. Wild Powwers feature two ladies and one gentleman (the drummer’s especially hyper), their grunge distortion flying around so thick, I can’t quite tell where the bass sounds come out (nobody plays that instrument). Aan’s music has plenty of space, but they sound cleaner than Fauna Shade—everything threatens to float away from everything else. Sleeping Lessons create dream pop—or at least, daydream pop. (Figuring most people’s actual dreams aren’t this tasty.) ANDREW HAMLIN
Drone Cinema Film Festival
Last year’s Drone Cinema Film Festival at Grand Illusion yielded synergistic dazzlements between poetic, mesmerizing images and rigorous ambient music. Expect more of that tonight at the bigger, acoustically superior Chapel Performance Space. Created and curated by David Lynch’s assistant music editor for Twin Peaks and Wild at Heart, Kim Cascone, Drone Cinema presents transcendental experiences through sound and vision. Eight films and soundtracks by the likes of AUME, Phillipe Neau, Kat Cascone, and others will be complemented by a live set from sublime local drone ensemble bitès. If you’re into sacred minimalists like Terry Riley and La Monte Young and experimental film, immerse yourself in these heady atmospheres. DAVE SEGAL
Seventy-six years into his life, Italian DJ Giorgio Moroder may be at the pinnacle of his career. It’s difficult to think of another electronic artist who can say the same. For sure, Moroder has had many peaks. The pioneer of Italian disco, Moroder produced international hit singles for many artists in the 1970s and ’80s. He even has a cowriting credit on David Bowie’s “Cat People.” Electronic dance music would likely not exist if not for him. Recently, though, he’s released a hit album, 2015’s Déjà Vu, and has seen synthwave artists like Perturbator splice his sonic vocabulary with video-game soundtracks. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares
Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares caused a sensation in the mid 1980s when 4AD boss Ivo Watts-Russell issued a 1975 compilation of their music on his cult label. Why? Because these Bulgarian women sang (mostly a cappella) the saddest, most beautiful songs you’ve never heard before in your godforsaken life. The pieces sound ancient and as precious as your favorite house of worship’s stained glass, eternal and holy, even to the most skeptical atheist. You will sob for reasons you can’t explain, as these voix Bulgares make Cocteau Twins’ Liz Fraser sound like Charli XCX. If there’s a heaven, le Mystère des Voix Bulgares are serenading the hell out of it. (The choir now consists of 23 female vocalists, one or two male soloists, and five musicians.) DAVE SEGAL
Louis Armstrong: A New Orleans State of Mind
There are many who believe, and this belief is not incorrect, that the jazz and American icon Louis Armstrong did his best work in the 1920s. After that decade, it was downhill. Sure, he became more popular in the following decades, but the music he made was inferior. Tonight, the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra performs the jazz of Armstrong’s peak period. CHARLES MUDEDE
Record Store Day
Record Store Day is a scourge to most small indie labels. For several months, major labels clog the vinyl pressing plants with their massive orders for records that commonly can be found used for under $10, thus delaying schedules for less powerful companies doing smaller runs. Mix in crass music-biz opportunism and consumers who care nothing about the releases except for their resale value, and you have a shitshow that seems to worsen every year. You know the drill. However! A small percentage of RSD releases are actually worth hearing, as best as we can gauge (we'll get to those soon) and the frenzied, extravagant shopping obviously boosts the financial health of brick-and-mortar stores. That is no small thing. RSD may be a "one step forward, two steps backward" affair, but it doesn't look like it's going to hit the run-off groove in the foreseeable future. Let's try to make the best of the situation, shall we? See the list of participating Seattle establishments (some of which will have in-store concerts) here. DAVE SEGAL
The Zombies: Odessey & Oracle 50th Anniversary
Do you want to witness one of the 20 greatest rock albums re-created in its entirety by blokes old enough to be your father/grandfather? Yes, you bloody do. As long as core members Rod Argent (keyboards/vocals) and Colin Blunstone (vocals) are involved, a Zombies show is a can’t-miss, even half a century on from the group’s peak. After hundreds of listens, Odessey and Oracle still sounds like a paragon of poignant psychedelic pop, rendered in orchestral splendor and adorned with indelible melodies that are to cry for, sung in the honeyest of tones by the angelically melancholy Blunstone. DAVE SEGAL
Arlo Guthrie will stop by Tacoma to play a concert on tour for the 50th anniversary of Alice's Restaurant, and in honor of the countless classics he penned throughout his prolific career as America's country-crossing bard.
DAKHABRAKHA Perform the Live Film Score of "Earth"
Ukrainian quartet DAKHABRAKHA, a name that means “give/take” in the old Ukrainian language, play what they describe as “ethno chaos.” Accompanied by traditional instrumentation of Indian, Arabic, African, Russian, and Australian origin, the quartet will perform the original score to the film Earth.
Emerging chart queen Emily King layers electronic riffs with soft yet strong vocal harmonies for a lush glimpse into the future of pop music.
Windhand, Hell, Un
There are so many metal bands bowing at the altar of Sleep that it can be difficult to make the whole “maybe this record is supposed to play at 45 rpm?” thud-and-lurch strategy sound inspired, no matter how big the kick drum or how many Orange full stacks you add to the mix. But Richmond’s Windhand breathe new life into Southern metal by mercifully avoiding obvious classic-rock scales, doomy atonality, and throwaway vocals. Instead, they offer simple but striking riffs supplemented by the melodic counterpoint of Dorthia Cottrell’s airy voice. And yes, they’ve dialed in a particular tonal sweet spot in their arsenal of vintage guitars, diode fuzz pedals, and wall of amplifiers. Can we please round up all the Black Wizard Mountain Witch bands and have Windhand give ’em a tutorial on doing this style effectively? Thank you. BRIAN COOK