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The Black Angels, Ron Gallo
A while back, I likened the Black Angels' music to “psych-rock 101.” Which means that the veteran Austin, Texas, band's songs adhere to fairly conventional structures and their instruments conform to familiar tonalities—genre trademarks that have solidified into tropes. It's as if they're trying to transmute LSD into comfort food. That approach holds on the Black Angels' latest full-length, Death Song. No question, the Black Angels are solid songwriters and competent players, but if you look to psych-rock for transcendence and/or sonic madness (and I hope you do), they will leave you wanting. DAVE SEGAL
Broken Social Scene with Belle Game
Easy listening is a term most commonly deployed as a pejorative, but I think Broken Social Scene make a convincing case for its use as an accolade. The loosely defined, sprawling indie-rock collective's equally loose and sprawling guitar rock could not possibly be easier on the ears, but that's not to the detriment of their songs, which range from tiny pop treasures à la "Anthem for a Seventeen Year Old Girl" to careening yet controlled studio riots to impeccable chill-out music just the right side of yacht rock. ERIC GRANDY
Known for their 2013 EP Stolen Dance, German duo Milky Chance are back on tour for Blossom, their second full-length album rife with electronic beats and indie-folk melodies.
Stas Thee Boss, Porter Ray, JusMoni, Jay Stone, Queens D.Light
Stas has seen some ups and downs in the love game, but she’s here to let you know, with a bottle of wine in a drained hot tub, that she’s not even about to sweat it. Stas Thee Boss, half of the late, great Seattle R&B/hiphop duo THEESatisfaction, instead keeps the jets set to nonchalant on her new album S’WOMEN—even when she’s dishing out genuine scorn on “Tried It,” she still sounds more “Mind Sex” than “Hit ’Em Up.” Stas keeps it 100 percent with flippant romanticism for today’s world: "Like glue, I get wet and hold tight when I’m drier.” TODD HAMM
Denzel Curry with Trash Talk
Carol City, Florida, rapper Denzel Curry has been touring like a maniac as of late (this is his third trip through town in the last year), but it’d be misguided to say he’s flooding the market. Curry’s amped style makes tracks from last year’s Imperial beg to be heard live, and going ham in a room full of revelers might be the most authentic DC experience you can get. In addition, he’s a profound societal reporter on the mic, and a couple of his recent deep cuts actually play with a slightly West Coast stoner sound, both of which should make a room full of blunt-chugging West Coasters even happier. TODD HAMM
Nick Hakim, Sam Evian
Nick Hakim has an album out called Green Twins. Pitchfork thinks this music should be called soul. I’m invoking the term steeped soul. Steeped in contemplation, meditation, quite possibly a bongload or few. He likes pitches to waver, and no surprise that he hunted down an actual Mellotron to infuse that waver into his keyboard noises. I can’t quite make out his lyrics most of the time, but I’m trusting from the song titles that they’ll be worth my while and generally on a level with the sounds. Horticultural consumption should add interest, but it's not mandatory. ANDREW HAMLIN
Tash Sultana, a singer-songwriter from Melbourne who has been described as a "one-woman band" for her multi-instrumental skills, will perform a set of complicated original works as well as some high-profile covers.
In 2005, a song called “Short Dick Cuizi” appeared on MySpace, a fairly blatant dis track about the French rapper Cuiziner, that went semi-viral. The authors of the track were Julie Budet and Jean-François Perrier, who shortly thereafter became Yelle. Over the past 10 years, Yelle have continued to release snarky, eclectic tracks that are all certified bangers. They’ve put out a slew of singles this year, off of their yet-to-be-announced fourth album, let’s hope. Although nearly all of their songs are in French, they’re sure to get you dancing and screaming your interpretation of their lyrics, even if you have no idea what they’re saying. ANNA KAPLAN
Battalion of Saints, Oppressed Logic, the Cryptics, Toecutter
The difference between old-school San Diego hardcore band Battalion of Saints and your average touring punk-nostalgia act is the simple fact that these dudes continue to release solid music 35-plus years after their formation. Their first recording in almost two decades—2015’s self-titled 7-inch released on underground tastemakers Southern Lord—found the band reenergized and refreshed, appealing to a whole new generation of thrashers. Local shredders Toecutter are a perfect fit to open, as they play fast, pissed-off metallic punk rock reminiscent of the Accused and Suicidal Tendencies. KEVIN DIERS
Michael Nau with Guests
Michael Nau of Cotton Jones will be in town again promoting his lush new Americana-infused album, Some Twist, and a recent EP, The Load, that was released recently featuring him singing with Columbia Records artist Natalie Prass.
Silversun Pickups with Minus The Bear
I first heard Silversun Pickups when their song “Panic Switch” was the only good thing about the trailer to the movie Sucker Punch. (Does anyone remember that movie?) After purchasing that record, Swoon, I discovered that the band had a less-than-stellar reputation in critical circles. Screw the critics, I later thought, watching the band open for Metallica in Detroit. They’re energetic and driving live, even though singer Brian Aubert has a somewhat delicate voice. Every one of their records has at least a handful of excellent chrome-plated-but-plaintive rock songs, and 2015’s Better Nature is no different. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Slowdive, Cherry Glazerr
Your reunion jitters for Slowdive were for naught. The British shoegaze greats returned to the live circuit like champs in 2014, and their 2017 comeback album, Slowdive, proved that all that time off hadn't withered their ability to summon sublime atmospheres and melodies that convert melancholy into shivers of bliss. One noticeable change: Slowdive rock harder now. Previously, they showed a predilection for diaphanous billows of guitar, sedate tempos, and airy coos. But the new LP's “Star Roving,” “Everyone Knows,” and a few others roar with the bravado of Ride or My Bloody Valentine. This is not an unpleasant surprise. DAVE SEGAL
Action Bronson's towering concoctions, whether they're meals or songs, only seem over-the-top once he tells you so. The best part of his music isn't necessarily what he says as much as how he says it. You can pick any Bronson song and find some of his favorite references: '80s wrestlers, '90s athletes, his hometown of Queens, New York, and yes, food, all expertly arranged and distorted. JACKSON HATHORN
EMA, the Blow, Kirt Debique
EMA and the Blow make for a well-matched bill. Both artists represent womxn creating emotionally frank, interesting electronic music that has pop potential yet refuses to stoop to conquer. Ex-Gowns vocalist EMA’s 2017 album, Exile in the Outer Ring, finds her honing her hushed yet harrowing songwriting approach to a lethal sharpness. Abrasiveness and bleakness cohere in her memorable songs, while sometimes EMA deviates into righteous psych-rock territory, as on “Always Bleeds.” The Blow—featuring former Olympia residents Khaela Maricich and Melissa Dyne—have been making quirky and compelling bedroom electronica for more than a decade and incorporating installations and conceptual art into their live performances. They continue to ascend on this year’s Brand New Abyss, which cleverly navigates gender and relationship issues to music of tantalizing beauty and riveting weirdness; the Laurie Anderson-esque “The Woman You Want Her to Be” exemplifies the latter vein. DAVE SEGAL
A Giant Dog, Cold Soda, Thee Sgt. Major III
You’re in for a raucous Thursday night treat. A Giant Dog are rabid with dirty power chords, punk speak, and mastiff-massive energy. The Austin-bred quintet of Merge Records rockers is entertainingly fronted by femme fatale Sabrina Ellis, who channels a Peaches-manic exhibitionism that gives all of Thunderpussy’s women combined a run for their money. If that’s not enough, before them you’ll be able to crack into Cold Soda, the mellow-rock side project of the Cave Singers, which is a great way to see these beloved Seattle old-timers play some cruise-control charmers, complemented by Peter Quirk’s stage banter. Easily an evening of eudaemonia. ZACH FRIMMEL
Songhoy Blues, Down North
As Bombino is the Hendrix of Niger and Emel Mathlouthi is the voice of the Tunisian revolution, Songhoy Blues are four Malian refugees transcending the war-torn story of their homeland through their polyrhythmic and poly-genre desert boogie. Their last two albums, Music in Exile and Résistance, leave no room for confusion, the three Touré members (all unrelated) and Nathanael Dembélé are a touré de force to be reckoned with in 2017. Momentously, they’ve collaborated with Iggy Pop, Elf Kid, and Stealing Sheep, in the process warming their extremities of punk, hiphop, funk, reggae, and, of course, blues. ZACH FRIMMEL
Zombi, Author & Punisher, Panabrite
Before there was SURVIVE, there was Zombi. The hard-hitting, Pittsburgh-based, cosmic horror-influenced duo of synth wizard/bassist Steve Moore and drummer Anthony Paterra, Zombi’s cinematic, loop-based compositions build and swell into chest-rattling climaxes, making for an enthralling experience. Taking their name from the Italian title of Dawn of the Dead, they have inspired a generation of ’80s soundtrack/synthwave nostalgists. Having toured and released albums for 16 years, Zombi are currently signed to legendary metal imprint Relapse Records; they’ll joined tonight by Author & Punisher and Panabrite. NICK ZURKO
Kesha, Savoy Motel
This has been a whirlwind of a year for Kesha—it marked a turning point in her years-long lawsuit battle with her abuser, Dr. Luke. She’s finally allowed to work with people other than Dr. Luke, but still has to release records on his Kemosabe label. Her first album without that despicable asshole came out this summer, and Rainbow shows all that Kesha is capable of on her own. The tracks on Rainbow range from soft ballads to empowering, soulful blasts of energy, where she recounts a life where she is finally free. ANNA KAPLAN
Research: John Tejada, Peverelist, Urulu
The Kremwerk team outdo themselves with this singular double-header that bridges the ever-closing gap between banging tech-house and head-nodding dubstep. Bristol bass bomber, dubstep trailblazer, and Livity Sound label head Peverelist has always injected his productions with technoid mutations to craft his unique brand of dubwise, labyrinthine dance music. LA tech-house veteran John Tejada—whose parents are classical musicians—has made a name for himself over the past two decades with his focused, atmospheric, and melody-driven productions. This is an essential show for dance-music fans. NICK ZURKO
Snakehips, STWO, Yahtzel
Blog house superheroes Snakehips' remix of "Warm Water" by Banks essentially made her entire career worthwhile, and while we wouldn't say the same of all their remixes, they're reliably groovy dance technicians KYLE FLECK
Tegan and Sara
Tegan and Sara are on tour to promote the 10th anniversary of their seminal album The Con, but for me, their most important release was the album that preceded it, called So Jealous. Being a queer teen is rough, and there are no rubrics and very few examples of representation to follow, so coming across my older sister’s CD copy of So Jealous was an important moment in my adolescence. Tegan and Sara’s razor-sharp and almost feverishly relatable pop that centered queer experience was the first of its kind in my life and was exactly what I needed at the time. Even now, 13 years later, it still resonates heavily with me. KIM SELLING
11th Annual Come As You Aren't
For the last decade or so, the Skylark has hosted Come As You Aren't, a massive concert party wherein local bands compete to be the ultimate tribute group. Whoever has the best costume and live set wins a major cash prize. This year's contestants include members of Harvey Danger and Fabulous Downey Brothers as Oingo Boingo, Harrison B as The Killers, Dagger Hands as CCR, Vibe as Whitney Houston, Gibraltar as Smashing Pumpkins, Sweet Jesus as Pink Floyd, Young Chhaylee as Al Green, and Teresa and the Wolves as Pat Benatar. Troy Nelson of KEXP will serve as MC, with Johnny Nails, Atticus George-Andrijeski, Lindsay Peyton, and last year's winners Fine Prince as judges for the ultimate crowning.
Alvvays, Jay Som
Canadian cuties Alvvays are fresh off the release of their second album, Antisocialites, and are now embarking on a North American tour to support it. To put it lightly, the record was a massive success — they’re playing five sold-out shows in a row in their hometown of Toronto, and two nights in Portland. Seattle is getting only one night, so if you want to hear their jangly indie-pop complemented by vocalist Molly Rankin’s sugary melodies, be sure to be at the Showbox tonight. ANNA KAPLAN
Decades Cover Night
Halloween parties were made for bands covering other bands! One of the best things Black Lodge does every year is the Decades Cover Night, wherein "Seattle bands will blast you with nostalgia and freakish vibes" by covering songs from roughly the last five decades. This year sounds promising, with Miscomings as the GoGos, Male/Female as Le Tigre, Softboys as Hole, Post/Boredom as White Zombie, Chris Cheveyo with his backing band as Prince, Haunted Horses and He Whose Ox Is Gored joining together as Interpol, Difficult Children as the Smiths, members of Darto as Spacemen 3, and members of Half-Breed as the Cranberries, with additional features by members of Fabulous Downey Brothers, Harvey Danger, Two-Headed Doggo, Medium Weekend, PROOFS, and FEED.
Lee Ranaldo, Hound Dog Taylor's Hand, Itasca
You're probably hitting Barboza to see what ex-Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo is up to these days. Sadly, his recent releases lack the textural and compositional adventurousness of his most famous outfit. What you liked about Sonic Youth, Ranaldo largely has dissipated; now he's angling for more conventional singer-songwriter glory, which isn't his forte. (For that, hear From Here to Infinity and Scriptures of the Golden Eternity.) Seattle trio Hound Dog Taylor's Hand continue to reign as the region's most gripping jazz-rock group with their new Inheritance Powder EP. Not as inflammatory as previous output, this free Bandcamp release reveals new facets of melodic beauty while retaining HDTH's capacity for nuanced explosiveness. They always rise to the occasion live, too. DAVE SEGAL
Shadows: Toro Y Moi, Sango, Romaro Franceswa, Qreepz, Chong the Nomad
The creatives behind Upper Left offer an avant-garde take on Halloween with Shadows, a showcase for beats that go bump in the night. Local production guru Sango is our city’s answer to J Dilla, with a prodigious output of head-nodders and foot-stompers alike. His Rio-inflected beat concoctions have single-handedly influenced a Brazilian music genre all the way from Seattle. Toro y Moi is best known for his chillwave crooning, but for a taste of his eclectically groovy DJ sets, check out his repeat appearances on Boiler Room. GREG SCRUGGS
The Black Heart Procession, Sam Coomes
San Diego’s Black Heart Procession come on like Gordon Lightfoot’s chronicling and Leonard Cohen’s musing, and while not full-on goth, they suffer in noir style, long-spent, long-defeated, left to lament their defeats and dejections and rejections in the shimmering of sustained guitar, muffled drums. Sam Coomes is of course half of Quasi, and who knows what he’ll come on brandishing—the Rock-Si-Chord, with its fuzz-muff take on a harpsichord sound that proves just right for soul, or something simpler? Has he given up on the Cult of the Physical and taken up software synths? ANDREW HAMLIN
Burnt Money, Madrich, Smash Bros
I was in Seattle at the end of July, the best possible time to enjoy the Town’s ungentrifiable charms—blue sky, water, and trees. I was at Lake Washington, enjoying those trees, when a cat hit me with a CD, which made me feel right at home again. It was the debut from Burnt Money, the new group from local underground stalwarts Lakehouse Entertainment (apropos enough), the ever-#based collective led by Benadrill, Seattle’s preeminent skater/rapper/entrepreneur. The homie, ever curious, popped it in the CD player as we drove off. God knows he’s chucked many a bad mixtape from the driver’s side window. This one, though? It stayed put and got turned up. What else you need to know? Oh yeah, this show is free. There's that. LARRY MIZELL JR.
From the sunny eastern shores of New South Wales come Hockey Dad. The Australian duo’s clap-along rhythms and jangly guitar licks joyfully belie their icy name—which happens to reference a mid-era Simpsons episode—alone making them a natural pick for your trans-Pacific summer playlist. But HD’s debut full-length, Boronia, goes beyond the beach foam and sand-in-your-shorts fun their Dreamin' EP provided, at times diving into a more jammy pool of indie pop (“Grange,” “Two Forever”) while continuing to weave melancholy lyrics for contrast. Hockey Dad thrive in a rowdy mode, full of big, happy guitars and punchy drums, where growing up may be inevitable but the snooze button is always within arm’s reach. TODD HAMM
Spend an evening dancing in the dark surrounded by plants and light installations. Light artists include Brandon Eller, Liquid Light Wizard, MOKEDO, and Robin Mallory, with DJ sets provided by Nora Posch and Sharlese Metcalf of False Prophet.
Mary Lambert, Mal Blum
Queer pop artist Mary Lambert, who performed with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis on "Same Love," will perform tracks off her latest EP Bold, along with guest musician Mal Blum. She's got a nice blend of snark and sincerity, so if you like smart lyrics and sunny hooks, go check her out.