Regardless of whether you're trying to impress your boo with your sonic know-how or distract yourself from Valentine's Day entirely, there are plenty of excellent music shows to attend in Seattle this week. Our critics recommend everything from some good ol’ fashioned cockney rebellion to a celebration of black American composers to one of the most rewarding convergences of shoegaze and goth happening right now to a "carnival of love" featuring peaceful, old-world folk with a bunch of crazy instruments. For more options (Valentine's Day, music, or otherwise), check out our complete Things To Do calendar.

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Gifted Gab, DoNormaal, Remember Face
Gabby is Moor Gang's first lady, one of the city's best rappers—and her Gab the Most High (whose cover sees her styled in the manner of the Afrocentric divas of the 1990s) is her most complete work, full of her reveling in her mastery of words, voice, and flow. She is unapologetic, outspoken, raw as hell, and straight-up rap (besides her leavening touches of R&B)—no artsy alternative tags could be applied to her Bandcamp description. LARRY MIZELL, JR.

The-Dream with Guests
Terius Youngdell Nash, aka the prolific pop songwriter and R&B mainstay The-Dream, has been providing club soundtracks equally tailored to the high-heeled dance-floor seductress and “the fellas” for more than a decade, before and during which he penned chart-topping songs for a string of stars from Britney Spears to Rihanna. Those familiar with his repertoire know not to look to his hypersexual R&B for tender love confessions, but for the smoothly sung, yet bluntly posed eroticism meant to take you from the bar to the bedroom and beyond. The often hilariously explicit detail you encounter on a Dream song is one of its draws, and it’s what will keep the drinks and pheromones flowing at his show. TODD HAMM


Air Supply
Air Supply are the spray cheese in my musical diet-I know they're bad, I know they're bad for me, and I know they barely qualify as "music," but every now and again I still feel that awful, undeniable urge to indulge myself in the sheer (pardon the pun) cheesy brilliance of classic power ballads like "All out of Love," "Lost in Love," and, of course, "Making Love out of Nothing at All." (Does this count as a cry for help?) BARBARA MITCHELL

Austra, The Range, Year of Death
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." With their 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. DAVE SEGAL

DeVotchKa, Vince Mira, Circus Contraption Band, Can Can Cabaret, Jason Webley: Carnival of Love
DeVotchKa are "G*psy punk," according to the internet, or "a four-person band that plays peaceful, old-world folk with a bunch of crazy instruments, like theremin and bouzouki and violin," according to me. A stoner turned me on to them. A stoner who likes Burning Man and used to be homeless. DeVotchKa began as a backing band for burlesque shows, they get their name from the word for "little girl" in that language from A Clockwork Orange, they scored the soundtrack to Little Miss Sunshine, they have six albums to date, and they will sound beautiful. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

Joan of Arc, Magas, Scarves
Tim Kinsella is one prolific sombitch. Since the breakup of Chicago indie-rock-emo faves Cap’n Jazz in the mid-1990s, he’s put out loads of material, both as a solo artist and with an ever-changing lineup of performers in his more experimental but still accessible emo-flavored band Joan of Arc. Surprisingly, it’s been nearly four years since he released anything new with said band, but this tour falls behind the release of He’s Got the Whole This Land Is Your Land in His Hands, which dropped in January, right around Joan of Arc’s 20th anniversary. This could make for a really good (or really awful) Valentine’s Day date. LEILANI POLK


DIY Appreciation Month Show
Whether or not you engage with it, the DIY community keeps our larger creative scene alive. It’s an agar for artist growth and support that injects a sense of earnestness and urgency into art and music that is often missing later in careers. Since the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland, a tragedy that touched many in Seattle, local organizers have been increasing efforts to better the environments in which we make art. DIY Appreciation Month is here as a larger signifying event to say: time to organize, time to fundraise, time to protect our people. These spaces are critical in our development of self and in defense of those most affected by our sustained authoritarian regime, namely black people, indigenous people, people of color, queer and trans folx, and artists at or below the poverty line. So grab some cash and walk over to Vermillion to see Miscomings, Male/Female, Newlywed, and Celluloid. Whether you know who they are or care about their music, they’re a part of a larger movement necessary to keeping our social and cultural spaces alive, safe, and successful. KIM SELLING

Noname with Ravyn Lenae
If you ever fooled yourself that contemporary hiphop couldn’t be tender, soulful, and non-corny, pick up Telefone, one of 2016’s best rap albums, the debut release of Chicagoan Fatima “Noname” Warner. She sits squarely in the constellation of heartfelt, populist Midwest hiphop artists who orbit (and are technically more interesting than) Chance the Rapper. Noname’s sharp-but-susurrant murmur recalls Chano, Jean Grae, and even Lauryn Hill’s smoother moments on the mic—flowing, sometimes spilling over the banks of the beat, warm and comforting as Day One in times of crisis. First heard on Mick Jenkins’s Trees & Truths tape, then on Acid Rap’s “Lost,” Noname has had an organic ascent into a headliner. She’s a blissfully hype-light success story. Extra credit: Jamila Woods’s Noname-featuring “VRY BLK” (from Woods’s also essential HEAVN) bubbles over with a delicate, childlike joy in being melanin-rich. Purest Black Girl Magic. LARRY MIZELL JR.


Orgone and Monophonics
Two California bands copping 1970s-vintage soul sounds get together on one Thursday night bill. Los Angeles–brewed Orgone have a sound with an emphasis on Latin grooves and disco-funk strut brightened by trombone, percussion, and an arresting female lead singer with Betty Davis attitude and vocals that can reach a lusty howl. Monophonics from San Francisco push straight-up gritty, funky, psychedelic soul with high-drama horns and a rhythm section that just won’t quit. In sum, this is a show made for shakin’ yer ass. LEILANI POLK

Uniform with Guests
New York duo Uniform (singer Michael Berdan and producer-guitarist Ben Greenberg) bash out their industrial-thrash tunes as if they’ve been preparing for 2017’s fascist apocalypse their entire lives. Like the coiled-rage Suicide of “Frankie Teardrop” or the blunt-force Big Black of “Steelworker,” they’re as mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it anymore. On their ferocious new full-length, Wake in Fright, which shares a title with the infamous Australian film about sadistic drunks and non-simulated kangaroo hunts, Berdan spits out lyrics inspired by Requiem for a Dream author Hubert Selby Jr. while Greenberg (formerly of the Men) rips his guitar to shreds over machine-drum beats, synthetic bass, and menacing samples. It’s pummeling, relentless, and totally cathartic for those who consume noise like nectar. KATHY FENNESSY


Matt Pond PA, Flinn, Completions
I wonder if I could get into Matt Pond PA now if I listened to the first 30 seconds of a song on Spotify. This is the kind of indie-rock/chamber-pop band I soaked in easier as a teenage Barnes & Noble CD section regular, poring through jewel cases for my next favorite album. I can’t remember why I picked up the band’s 2004 record Emblems (did it have a RIYL Death Cab for Cutie note on it?), but I spent my bagel-shop-job money and immediately put it on heavy CD Walkman rotation. Then, buying music felt like an investment, so even if something didn’t hit me at first, I continued to listen over and over to find the meaning in the literary lyrics and meandering melodies. These songs are perfect for driving around when you’re not sure exactly where you’re going, for feeling vaguely listless. It’s a band whose music takes time to sink in, but when it does, it’s a comforting, melancholy gem. ROBIN EDWARDS

Sallie Ford with Jenn Champion
Portland artist Sallie Ford on the bill is almost too good to take. Ford’s album Slap Back, on which she metamorphosed from very-good-singer-songwriter-with-a-country-bent to garage-soul-psych-rocker (who still writes fantastic songs), has made the past year a lot more bearable. SEAN NELSON

WORK!: Derrick Carter
What happens when Kremwerk hosts Chicago house-music titan Derrick Carter? Droves of zealots come out to raise the roof and burn thousands of calories to the man's expertly mixed and selected sets, honed over the last quarter century or so. But he's no purist. Carter's sets usually branch out into disco, soul, jazz, and electro pop, connecting the dots with these styles and the spiritual funkiness of house music proper. DAVE SEGAL


Cloud Nothings with Itasca
At its genesis some eight years ago, Cloud Nothings was something of a butterfly net for the loose ideas that materialized during the gaps in songwriter Dylan Baldi’s college course schedule. Some great pop-punk flashes emerged from those early days, but those splatters on a canvas have undergone hard-worked revisions under the fine-grit sandpaper of time, and through no accident, Baldi and gang have become an acclaimed indie band. The sun-kissed waves that grace the cover of the group’s just-released Life Without Sound foretell of an even more substantial polishing, and Baldi’s words glisten (ever slightly) more hopefully than before. The bleak beauty of Cloud Nothings’ weighty guitar lines and Baldi’s innate knack for melody still shine through, though, and songs like door-slamming closer “Realize My Fate” are clear evidence Cloud Nothings still have the vital angst they set out with. TODD HAMM


Branford Marsalis Quartet with Kurt Elling
The great saxophonist Branford Marsalis, who is a member of jazz's royal family (the Marsalises—Ellis, Wynton, Delfeayo), is famous for participating in Sting's only decent solo album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles, leading the band on Jay Leno's show in the mid-'90s, and working with DJ Premier on jazz/hiphop collaboration Buckshot LeFonque. He is less well known for the ribbons upon ribbons of beauty extracted from Igor Stravinsky's "Pastorale"—a piece on the album Romance for Saxophone. Branford Marsalis is also known for upsetting his more famous brother Wynton. Branford loves popular culture; Wynton hates it. CHARLES MUDEDE


Drab Majesty, Youryoungbody, Foie Gras, DJ Exploratuer, Sharlese
If you’re looking for one of the most rewarding convergences of shoegaze and goth happening right now, you should direct your ears toward Drab Majesty. The LA-based project’s name telegraphs their sound, which is very considerate of them. They cite Red Lorry Yellow Lorry (a British band that flourished in the 1980s—they were the impecunious person’s Sisters of Mercy) and the Chameleons as influences, and I’d add Legendary Pink Dots and Sad Lovers and Giants. Basically, Drab Majesty use mutedly chiming guitar and satisfying drum-machine programming to conjure vistas of grandly glum rock for people who view smiling with utmost suspicion. As they prove on their new album, The Demonstration, Drab Majesty are exceptional at what they do. DAVE SEGAL

Little Big Show #17: Angel Olsen, Chris Cohen, Sloucher
That voice. That million-yard torch-singer stare. That album, My Woman, a collection that starts high and bright in a 1950s high-school dance hall, travels through 1960s popscapes, touches on 1970s psychedelia, seethes for a while in a country western mode, and ends in an ageless, starless void populated only by you, a dusty piano, your eternal loneliness, and that VOICE. Live, Angel Olsen’s vocal control gives her the power to transform any venue into a bedroom or an opera hall at will. If you can’t tell, I think she’s really good and you should see her if you have $18 or whatever. RICH SMITH

Milemarker, Big Jesus, Year of Death, They Rise, We Die
When Milemarker first arrived on the scene 20 years ago, America’s DIY hardcore scene was in desperate need of reinvigoration. The proselytizing followed a set script and the music didn’t stray too far from a handful of formulas. All of the sudden, these North Carolinians showed up with Kraftwerkian synth lines, bizarre stage theatrics, and lyrics that suggested there was more to being a punk vocalist than just rallying against the system. Not much has changed in the band’s strategy over the last two decades. But while early Milemarker’s lascivious analog keyboard riffs and polysemous prose provided a much-needed kick in the ass to a stagnant scene, today’s Milemarker provide the rabble rousing and jagged edge lacking in so many electronic-infused, post-hardcore bands. BRIAN COOK

Research: Dean Grenier, Tyler Morrison, Ahold Of
Back in 1973, Elton John sang that Saturday night’s all right for fighting, but he perhaps didn’t know that it’s also optimal for the sort of hard, menacing techno made by Los Angeles producer Dean Grenier. (Helping matters: Kremwerk’s Turbosound rig, which the club is demoing tonight.) On works like 2016’s Rangeform EP, Grenier locates the transcendent grit in relentless rhythmic momentum and remorseless atmospheres. The great feat of producers like this is, they convert seemingly morbid elements into celebratory sounds that kick your ass into fifth gear. Former Seattle DJ Tyler Morrison now resides in Berlin (techno’s world capital), where he’s honed his techno chops and increased his knowledge. He knows a thing or five about getting you out of your earthbound mind. Welcome back, Big Red. DAVE SEGAL


Resonance: A Celebration of Black American Composers
I hope I won’t have to explain who Scott Joplin is, but I ran into an intelligent, cultured person this week who had never heard of Jimmy Webb. So, Scott Joplin (1868–1917) wrote brilliant ragtime compositions, which is sometimes entirely unfairly cataloged as corny old-time music. And he wrote two ragtime operas, to boot (alas, only one survives). Every other composer on the bill still breathes: George Walker, Alvin Singleton, Stranger-praised sometimes-local composer Hanna Benn, and performance artist C. Davida Ingram. This event should be worthy start-to-finish, although rely on Ingram, who rarely uses the same approach or the same (mixed) media twice, to furnish an ambitious, thrill-ride wild card. ANDREW HAMLIN


Sham 69, The Creepshow, Gallows Bound, Junto
Sham 69 emerged in the original British wave of punk with the Sex Pistols (and even briefly joined forces with them in 1979 for the Sham Pistols supergroup), racking up five top 20 singles in the UK. With the working-class attitudes of Oi!, catchy street-punk choruses, and an occasional foray into dub, the band probably inspired the cast of the 1998 film SLC Punk! more than a little. Sham 69’s most recent record, 2015’s It’ll End in Tears, sounds plucked straight out of 1978—save for the cover of “What’s New Pussycat,” which made me want to throw my phone in the toilet. The anarchic spirit of ’77-style punk feels relevant to these dystopian times, and Sham 69 still deliver on punchy, rousing protest punk despite the occasional miss, so bust out those liberty spikes and revel in some good ol’ fashioned cockney rebellion. BRITTNIE FULLER

Thundercat with Guests
He plays electric six-string bass and has one of the most distinctive tones to come out of this decade. Rubber-band elastic, wet-and-sticky electro-funk is his fallback (you’ve likely heard his collabs with Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar, and Erykah Badu, among many others), though he also throws down thick and fat thumps and plucks, fuzzy oversize jazz-fused grooves, and smooth and easy post-R&B caresses. His solo catalog spans three LPs that also showcase his soulful falsetto and fat-string work, and manage to feel both retro and fresh (the last was The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam). But if you want to see Thundercat (aka Stephen Bruner), you might have to wait until his next Seattle stop—this show has been sold out since the on-sale date. LEILANI POLK

Get all this and more on the free Stranger Things To Do mobile app—available now on the App Store and Google Play.