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The War on Drugs, Phoebe Bridgers
There’s a paradox at the heart of the War on Drugs. For a band so baldly influenced by the freewheeling Americana of Springsteen, Petty, and Dylan, their music can sound strangely tense and stultifying. The most obvious cause is WoD mastermind Adam Granduciel’s reputation as a fastidious studio obsessive. Most War on Drugs songs are rich with detail: layers upon layers of guitar and synth, carefully calibrated vintage effects. But the music, though frequently gorgeous, rarely has room to breathe. Instead, it bellows—Granduciel’s work has increasingly taken on an anthemic, shouting-toward-the-cheap-seats quality. And, unsurprisingly, it’s paid off with sold-out dates like this one. ANDREW GOSPE
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Tropical Fuck Storm
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard are a collection of seven Aussies who produce music on a frequency like no other. King Gizzard put out at least two albums a year, and they’ve said they want to put out four or five in 2017 (they’re up to three already). Their music changes from record to record, but it always has something unique—including an infinitely looping album to a full-length recorded exclusively with microtonal guitars. You never quite know exactly what you’re going to get with these guys, but their live show is guaranteed to be outrageous. ANNA KAPLAN
Ms. Lauryn Hill, Nas, Hannibal Buress, Chronixx, Nick Grant
We have said more than enough already about Lauryn Hill’s personal shit. Let’s just stop the gossip and focus our attention on the fact that hiphop has only a handful of female rappers who really made it big (meaning, entered the mainstream) by selling nothing but skills, and Ms. Lauryn Hill is one of those rappers. Her name is on two albums in the hiphop canon—the Fugees’ The Score and The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. There is also the raw boom-bap of the track “Lost Ones,” which is on Miseducation and put any doubt about her skills on the mic in the grave. So none of this talking behind her back—let’s just show some respect to someone who contributed to the great adventure of hiphop. CHARLES MUDEDE
Torres with The Dove & The Wolf
It’s been two years since Sprinter lodged itself into the consciousness, which might seem like a long time in indie rock, but Torres’s breakthrough still feels vivid and essential, which is more than you can say for a lot of the 2015 hit parade. Brand-new single “Skim” is a refinement of the album’s signature combination of lacerating emotions and assured songcraft—even more direct and intense, if you can imagine such a thing, and, a couple dozen listens in, every bit as indelible. SEAN NELSON
Beat Connection Disaster Relief Show
With the ongoing onslaught of natural disasters battering our hemisphere, local electro-pop group Beat Connection have decided to host and play a benefit show for communities most ravaged by these recent events. All show proceeds will go straight to United Way of Greater Houston Area, Global Giving Hurricane Maria & Irma Relief Fund, and Topos Mexico, and all proceeds from merch sales will be donated to United We Dream Action to benefit DACA recipients.
The phenomenon of seeing the “two person band called Gillian Welch” (Welch and David Rawlings) play and sing together really does feel like a miracle. You’ve seen people do what they do before—roughly—which is to pick guitars and sing new old-timey songs in complicated, perfect harmonies, but Welch and Rawlings are less like a conventional duet than an exercise in alchemy, the migration of souls, transubstantiation. I’m sure their secret has something to do with attention to detail, attunement to instinct, or just good old-fashioned talent, but I’ve seen them many times, in 2,000-seat theaters, movie houses, and living rooms, but I’ve never come anywhere near understanding just what it is that makes them and their work so special. Lucky for me (and less fussy people) that not understanding isn’t a requirement. Sometimes you can just listen and love it. SEAN NELSON
Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions, Daydream Machine
One good thing about Hope Sandoval: If you like her earlier work with Opal and Mazzy Star and previous recordings with the Warm Inventions, her latest unit with My Bloody Valentine drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig, you’ll probably dig her new stuff, too. For example, the just-released Son of a Lady EP captures Sandoval and company’s keen grasp of melancholy melodiousness in an intimate orchestral-pop vein. Fans of Lee Hazlewood and Nico should sigh with deep pleasure over these songs and, by extension, everything Sandoval’s done since the late 1980s. DAVE SEGAL
Alt-J sound like the survivors of the electro-war waking up, hastily trying to re-invent the language of emotions through reverse engineering of forest sounds, just in time to headline an Ewok luau. JOSH BIS
Jemeel Moondoc, Nathan Breedlove, Jamael Nance / Gordon Grdina with James Falzone and Wayne Horvitz
More than just the arty high jinks of bands like Suicide occupied the New York loft scene of the 1970s. Jazz was in high voltage, too, with the likes of saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc, who commanded the avant-garde ensemble Muntu through scenes ripped straight out of HBO’s Vinyl. Decades later, he’s still at it with a discography dozens deep. In this Earshot Festival show, he appears with longtime New York colleague and now Seattle resident trumpeter Nathan Breedlove and drummer Jamael Nance. Vancouver string master Gordon Grdina opens. GREG SCRUGGS
Protomartyr, Hurry Up, Advertisement, SSDD
Protomartyr vocalist Joe Casey could be called more of a realist than a skeptic, but in 2017, isn’t it basically the same thing? The Detroit quartet’s just-released fourth album, Relatives in Descent, finds Casey lamenting, amid a typically caustic pseudo-political rant, that he doesn’t “want to hear those vile trumpets anymore.” But the band never leaves you down. On the contrary, their songs, as they build to their inevitably satisfying post-punk crescendos, lift you up like a rising tide until Casey finally erupts, as he does on “Up the Tower” with a refrain of “knock it down!” TODD HAMM
Sun Kil Moon
It's as easy to love Mark Kozelek, musician, as it is to tire of Mark Kozelek, public figure. His best work as Sun Kil Moon, especially 2014’s Benji, has coincided with the emergence of a bullying streak that’s led him to harass a female Guardian journalist at a concert and beef with the War on Drugs. His post-Benji songwriting occasionally takes on the more grating aspects of his public persona (solipsism, pettiness), but can also be deeply thoughtful and humanistic. Kozelek’s pure tenor and gorgeous nylon-string guitar work will shine with orchestral backing in one of Seattle’s best acoustic spaces. ANDREW GOSPE
TUF Benefit Show & Pop-Up Shop for Reverend Dollars
TUF member, DJ, and producer Renee Greene is a essential part of the Seattle music scene as Reverend Dollars, and has contributed immeasurable time and energy to our community as the founder of QTPOC collective Darqness Seattle and organizer of Soul-Fi. Support them at this TUF-hosted benefit show and pop-up shop that will feature live DJ sets with visuals, and art, vinyl, and other treats for sale.
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Mooky, Maniac Lok, Drae Steves, Nacho Picasso
Perhaps Cleveland, Ohio's chief contribution to the history of hiphop, the melodic rap stylings of Bone Thugs now seem almost prophetic, with more rappers singing these days than actually rapping. The Eazy-E-signed quintet have undergone many changes and bumps along the way since their smash single "Crossroads," releasing the album New Waves this year with just Krayzie and Bizzy Bone. Expect to see the original lineup in full force, combining old-school lyricism and forward-thinking harmonies that will get any crowd going. NICK ZURKO
Jesse Myers: The Minimal Piano
Within a set of solo piano pieces, musician Jesse Myers will enliven the work of contemporary minimalist American composers in a program that will also highlight new music featuring acoustic piano and electronics.
Mostly Other People Do the Killing, the Bloodroot
It takes gumption—and no little skill—to re-create Miles Davis’s consensus Best Jazz Album of All-Time, Kind of Blue, in its entirety. (Please don’t say, “So what.”) But that’s what New York quartet Mostly Other People Do the Killing did in 2014. There’s more to them than reverence for tradition, though. Not unlike the Bad Plus, MOPDTK mess with rock, pop, and classical music, finding interesting ways to make incongruity swing. They’re yet another group breathing fire into jazz, keeping it vital and relevant in the 21st century. DAVE SEGAL
RL Grime's gusty, crystallized "Amphibian" swishes solidly out of the speakers. This is the sound of the selfie, and it's time to display to potential mates that your vibe couldn't be righter. Grime's sonic ingredients set you up well—the glide of rave, the tonnage of Southern rap beats, and the game (shame) of meathead trap. Your moves are succinct demonstrations of pelvic knowledge. Next up on the system is the harder-hitting "Valhalla" off Grime's new album, Void. You let out an eighth of a twerk, and then it's the build. Feel it ascend—whap whap whap whap, tat-tat-tat-tat, ta-ta-ta-ta shuffffle. Then the moment of silence, the hesitation, and the drop. The room loses it when the beat kicks in. Vodka Red Bulls spill everywhere. People fall and flail. This is what you've worked for—this losing it. The room combusts in selfies, sex explodes, and you dance like a condor. TRENT MOORMAN
Who Is She? with Secret Superpower and Guests
Who Is She? is a supergroup of a supergroup, combining Robin Edwards of Lisa Prank, Bree McKenna of Tacocat and Childbirth, and Julia Shapiro of Chastity Belt and Childbirth into a new trio who sing about missed connection ads, Friends veterans, time lords, and the hot goss trailing around our fair city. Get their new album, out now on Father/Daughter Records, at this free and all ages party.
Despite having served as mentor, muse, and collaborator to almost everyone in "serious" country music, from Gram Parsons to Ryan Adams, and having released one of the finest albums in her career (Red Dirt Girl) on the heels of an overlooked landmark record with Linda Ronstadt (Western Wall), what is really important about Emmylou Harris is The Voice. Her presence is not that of a diva, but the humble and humbling visitation of an angel. GRANT COGSWELL
Lemolo with Carina Lewis and Sophia Duccini
Music in this nightmare era is such a multiverse that it’s plausible for a band to be both popular and obscure, celebrated and underrated, to have a loyal hometown audience and for loads of people to have never heard or even heard of them. (It’s also, therefore, possible for a person to believe things like the above are true while being utterly wrong.) Lemolo strike me as that kind of band. I’ve never seen them play to a less than packed room, or ever sound less than great—woozy, dreamy textures under strong, luculent vocals—and yet, they still have an air of undiscoveredness about them. Maybe underdiscoveredness? Regardless, these two shows at the austere Homestead come at the end of a tour and promise the debut of new songs. SEAN NELSON
Léon with Wrabel
Swedish songstress Léon uses '70s dance club vibes and layered personal narratives to empower pop tracks that would otherwise be bland with a less empassioned performer. She'll be joined by Wrabel. KIM SELLING
Nick Murphy, Charlotte Cardin, Heathered Pearls
Nick Murphy has returned to his actual name after years of making swirling electro-soul under the name "Chet Faker." With a new album and an extensive tour, he'll continue to soundtrack elitist music festival after-parties the world over for years to come.
Screaming Females, Street Eater
New Jersey trio Screaming Females play heavy, tuneful rock that would slot fortuitously into a mixtape sandwiched among songs from PJ Harvey’s early career, Sleater-Kinney, and the Breeders. Led by the emboldening vocals of Marissa Paternoster, Screaming Females’ songs reflect solid, relatable power-chord flexing, offering controlled catharsis, as their last album, 2015’s Matt Bayles–produced Rose Mountain, proves. Berkeley’s Street Eaters rampage with spiteful, X-Ray-Spex-like melodicism, as evidenced on this year’s righteous The Envoy. DAVE SEGAL
Tei Shi, Twelve'Len
The first thing you notice about Valerie Teicher is her voice—fluid and flexible, it commands your attention but never demands it. That instrument is the centerpiece of the songwriter and producer’s work as Tei Shi, an electro-R&B project whose placeless pop reflects Teicher’s itinerant background. (Born in Buenos Aires, she’s spent time in Bogotá, Vancouver, and New York.) Teicher’s stylish, urbane music recalls neo-R&B acts like Tinashe or MØ, with whom she recently toured. This sort of sound perpetually has legs—here’s guessing this is the last time she plays a room this small in Seattle. ANDREW GOSPE
Unity in Community Fall Concert
Thanks to excellent local organization API Chaya, the coming of autumn will glow with a night of music, dance, and community support. Poet and political figure Nikita Oliver will headline, with an opening song and blessing from Patricia Allen, dance by the Au Collective, queer Filipinx rapper Kimmortal, RISE from API Chaya's Creative Arts Healing Group, and poetry and theater by Shruti Purkayastha.
Arcade Fire, Phantogram
Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a Johnny-come-lately, you know the Canadian art-rock choir that is Arcade Fire is sharp-looking, sharp-witted, and showmxn-sharp AF. In 2017, Régine Chassagne, Win Butler, and the gang are pulling out all the stops and it’s Everything Now or never. Opus after opus, they up their ante and illuminate the status quo in bigger and debatably better ways for their orchestral ocean of noise. Rumors for this tour include a 360 degree stage (like when they played with U2), trompe l’oeil lighting, and opening their set with 2017’s title track “Everything Now”—coproduced by Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter. ZACH FRIMMEL
Kaki King and Lost Lander
A routine singer-songwriter Kaki King is not. Her toolbox of guitar techniques includes fanning, finger tapping, flamenco, and other uncommon methods. Put another way, she knows how to get more sounds out of a guitar than almost anyone, and it’s served her pretty well: King has contributed to the Into the Wild and August Rush soundtracks, as well as to albums by the Foo Fighters and Miley Cyrus, plus a collaborative EP with the Mountain Goats. Solo, King’s versatility makes predicting her sound kind of tricky. She’s as adept at pop songs as she is at experimental loops. Always, though, her playing is pyrotechnic. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Warning, the Body, Worm Ouroboros
Heavy metal is most commonly employed as an outlet for anger, but it occasionally serves as a vehicle for anguish, too. Tonight is dedicated to the latter. The Bay Area’s Worm Ouroboros almost completely excise the obligatory distorted crunch of their gloom-draped offerings in favor of a shimmering and delicate moribund grace. On the other hand, the Body are pure tortured destruction, with guitarist Chip King shrieking against the backdrop of his seismic guitar rumble and drummer Lee Buford’s war-march drums. UK’s doom-metal cult legends Warning simultaneously tap into Worm Ouroboros’s morose melodies and the Body’s punishing lurch. BRIAN COOK
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