Don't miss upstate New York twosome Diet Cig's adroit cutie-rock at Chop Suey on Sunday. Dylan Johnson
We know Valentine's Day is supposed to be the big moment of February, but there are also plenty of music shows this week to hold your attention outside of the typical traditions. We've got everything from the return of an equally cacophonous and chill PNW fixture (Mega Bog opening for Destroyer), to New Zealand's chart-topping answer to St. Vincent (Kimbra), to synth work blowing through even Dave Segal's impossibly high standards (Prettiest Eyes). Follow the links below for ticket links and music clips for all of our critics' picks, and find even more shows on our music calendar.

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MONDAY

107.7 The End Endsession with Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
107.7 The End and Elysian Brewing will co-sponsor this "Endsession" with heavy-hitting, hip-shaking bluesy Americana group Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats. The event is free and open to the public, and if you're one of the first 50 people there, you may even get to meet the band.

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TUESDAY

The Folks Project with D’Vonne Lewis, Darrius Willrich, Evan Flory-Barnes, Owour Arunga
The Folks Project, a side collective of local talents D’Vonne Lewis, Darrius Willrich, Evan Flory-Barnes, and Owour Arunga, pay tribute to the legacy of jazz culture and music that came out of the Central District, honoring artists like Quincy Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Ernestine Anderson, Floyd Sandiford, Buddy Catlett, and Anthony Ray, who you may know as Sir Mix-A-Lot.

Prettiest Eyes, Miscomings, the Carols
We don't hear a lot of synth-heavy trios with members of Puerto Rican and Mexican descent these days—which is a bit sad. But if we can have only one such outfit, then we're blessed by the presence of LA's Prettiest Eyes. Pachy García (drums/vocals), Paco Casanova (keyboards/electronics), and Marcos Rodríguez (bass) have won the approval of Oh Sees/Castle Face Records honcho John Dwyer, and you can hear why on Prettiest Eyes' 2017 album, Pools: It's a vicious, punishing specimen of punkish velocity, enhanced by an almost Birthday Party-esque ominousness (see especially “No Hands Pete”). But then Prettiest Eyes will hit you with the ebullient and noisy “Dandy,” and it's a different kind of party altogether. Based on Pools alone, I'm ranking Prettiest Eyes in the highest echelon of newish American bands. DAVE SEGAL

WEDNESDAY

Beth Hart, Marina V
“My skin is white / But my soul is black,” sings Beth Hart on her upcoming release, Black Coffee. And that’s sticking your neck out, these days. For the record, though, I believe she makes it interesting enough to listen. Working once more with blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa, Hart musters a raggedy Memphis soul stew over which she comes across proud, sweating, and straining to make something of herself in dead-end jobs. She expresses the dishwasher’s cracked hands the way multimillionaire sex symbol Rod Stewart expresses the lonely bus rider. The power of belief through the power of projection. ANDREW HAMLIN

KEXP Clash Cover Night
Get ready for a bunch of obscure references and English puns with KEXP's Clash Cover Night. Ayron Jones, Spirit Award, Emma Lee Toyoda, Low Hums, Black Nite Crash, and OCEANWIRE will perform tracks from across the Clash discography, in addition to the live premiere of the "KEXP Transistor IPA Song," celebrating the unveiling of KEXP’s Transistor IPA brewed by Scuttlebutt Brewing, which will be available for purchase during the show.

Simian Mobile Disco, Matthew Dear, DJ Kid Hops
Simian Mobile Disco have come a long way from the brash, bratty electro-house they produced a decade ago. In recent years, the duo have gotten into modular synths, even recording an all-hardware album in 2014. And this DJ set will likely showcase a similarly urbane selection of house and techno. Matthew Dear is known for his outré electro-pop outside dance-music circles, but he’s also an accomplished and technically masterful DJ. Rounding out the bill is KEXP host Kid Hops, an ace selector of reggae, dub, and drum & bass. ANDREW GOSPE

THURSDAY

Bermuda Triangle
Newest and soon to be best supergroup Bermuda Triangle is a high-energy rock trio comprised of Alabama Shakes powerhouse Brittany Howard, sunbaked singer-songwriter Becca Mancari, and Great Plains scribe Jesse Lafser. Formed unintentionally, the group is all about sharing the fun they had making this music with their audience.

Dark Star Orchestra
Dark Star Orchestra keep the indomitable legacy of the Grateful Dead twinkling with their spot-on tribute concerts. They plunder the mother lode of the jam-band progenitors' vast output for Deadheads who miss the real deal or for those unfortunates who never had the chance to witness them live. DSO's MO is to replicate momentous Dead set lists from the group's deep archives, and then nail every facet of the music. Clearly, DSO have their inspiration's wonderfully tight/loose chops, fluid sense of time and space, and that all-important stamina to keep on truckin' through the transitive nightfall of diamonds. DAVE SEGAL

Delvon Lamarr's disORGANized Trio
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio: Definitely old-school Hammond B-3 funk! Rediscover the world through the surprisingly varied palette offered by the grand machine itself, complete with its gently psychedelic rotating Leslie speakers. ANDREW HAMLIN

Destroyer, Mega Bog
The rest of the world has started to discover Mega Bog, the project of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Erin Birgy. Until a 2015 move to New York, Birgy was a longtime fixture in the Olympia and Seattle DIY music scenes, where she played in dozens of bands and cultivated an inclusive, iterative approach to music-making. Last year’s striking Happy Together is a patchwork of soft rock, lounge jazz, and cacophonous psych excursions that doesn’t shy from complexity. An opening slot for Destroyer—the work of another creatively restless polymath, Dan Bejar—suits Birgy well. ANDREW GOSPE

Marty Willson-Piper, Edward Rogers, Devoured by Flowers
Marty Willson-Piper burst onto the scene as guitarist for the Church, an Aussie band fond of pop and neo-psychedelia whose lead singer was fond of breaking up heterosexual relationships to get to the women he wanted. Judging by online clips, the guitarist favors an acoustic strummy approach, bolstered with violin and the guitarist’s very Dylan-flavored vocals. It’s all not terribly original, but it's fun, warm, and contains at least a few sops to longtime Church fans. ANDREW HAMLIN

Tenderfoot, Cumulus, Whitney Ballen
Tenderfoot, the art-folk project of singer-songwriter Adam Kendall Woods, will return to its Pacific Northwest roots with a show promoting their debut album, Break Apart. They'll be joined by local dark pop purveyors Cumulus and Whitney Ballen.

THURSDAY-SUNDAY

Judy Collins
Since her first album in 1961, A Maid of Constant Sorrow, graceful songstress Judy Collins has released and been a part of more than 50 albums, with additional career successes as an author, filmmaker, social activist, guitar designer, and record label founder. She's been gigging for over 50 years, so this pre-Valentine's Day four-night set of romantic pop, cabaret, and folk classics will be a drop in the bucket for her. TRENT MOORMAN

THURSDAY & SATURDAY

Morlot Conducts Strauss
Seattle Symphony conductor Ludovic Morlot will aim to bring out the storied power of American composer David Lang's shifting of Richard Strauss’ "epic tone poem."

FRIDAY

Ann Wilson of Heart
Reasons to go see Ann Wilson (once and future singer of Heart): She boasted one of the purest, soaringest operatic voices in all of pop music and she might well still have it. She tried to take it when the Seattle Times’ Patrick MacDonald kept making fun of her weight, but eventually let Heart’s manager take ads out in the paper (sample counterpunch: “Get a grip, boob brain”). People called Heart “Little Zep,” as though that solved the case, never mind that Heart came on somewhat more melodic and considerably less bombastic. Then the band hit the 1980s and embraced synths and song doctors. If they were ever hip, that sealed their tomb. For hipsters, not listeners. ANDREW HAMLIN

Book of Love, Year of Death
This rare live performance from 1980s synth-pop act Book of Love is guaranteed to bring nostalgia-seekers back to a time when MTV was cool and vinyl reigned. The NYC-by-way-of-Philly act's infectiously buttery sound stemmed out of British new wave and primitive pop gloss indebted to early Depeche Mode and OMD. Core songwriter Ted Ottaviano said: "I was fascinated with Altered Images and other bands that were incorporating bells and chimes into their music. Long brass chimes, tubular bells, whatever." The band scored a club hit in 1984 with their first single, "Boy," a bell-dazzled feminist anthem, followed with more hits that sent bubblegum goths into a rapture of pop ecstasy, including "I Touch Roses" and "Pretty Girls and Pretty Boys" (one of the first songs to openly address the AIDS epidemic). BRITTNIE FULLER

Bootie Seattle: Valentine's Party!
Seattle's only all-mashup dance party throws down for a high-energy Valentine's Day bacchanalia complete with twisted love mash-ups to get you feeling all kinds of ways. Prep thyself for all the '00s club bangers and '10s Top40 hits you could possibly handle, and dress in red for the holiday.

The Helio Sequence, Headwaves, I Will Keep Your Ghost
The Helio Sequence have always been masters of texture. Guitarist/singer Brandon Summers and drummer Benjamin Weikel began their career in the deep end of the sugary-sweet pop pool, amid sparkling synths, heavily effected vocals, and whizzing bleeps and bloops. Over time, however, the Portland band’s dreaminess has darkened and become more thoughtful, its layering more restrained, its effects more minimal. On its sixth self-titled album, the band feels like it’s settling into the apex of its career, balancing just the right amount of dark to light, quiet to loud. It sounds gorgeous. KATHLEEN RICHARDS

JET & Trilogi: Beat Connection
Local group Beat Connection fall somewhere between electro-pop and club-soul on the genre spectrum, and they'll be taking the helm of JET with a personalized set for the evening, with deck support from PHNK, Tollefson, and Tony Snark B2B Monroe.

Mike Gordon
Forget that Mike Gordon is a member of Phish, which is one of the greatest rock bands of all time. But I digress. You mustn’t judge him because you have preconceived—and incorrect and likely ignorant—ideas about Phish. Instead, focus on Mike Gordon being the member with the most creatively intriguing solo output. His 2003 debut full-length, Inside In, is a cowboy-space-funk odyssey studded in pedal steel, banjo, and horn weirdness. It’s perfect from start to finish, and remains one of my all-time favorites 15 years later. Gordon’s new outing, OGOGO, is marked by his usual moments of avant-rock instrumental and vocal bizarreness, as well as his characteristic employment of unexpected time signatures while still laying down swinging, fart-ripping bass grooves (see the magnetic head-bobber “Crazy Sometimes”). My point is, whatever your opinion of Phish, you might just love Mike Gordon. LEILANI POLK

Rock N Rollers: The 5th Annual Skate Like a Girl Benefit
With Childbirth, SassyBlack, Supercrush, and Stiff Love all on board for this fem-brazen benefit show, it should be more like “Shred Like a Girl,” amirite? To be fair, Supercrush are actually two dudes, but whether we’re supporting those who slay guitars, mics, or the streets, a reciprocity will be shared from one kind of shredder to another. Stage-dive to some garage rock right off the bat with Olympia’s Still Love. Then head-bob to Seattle’s more fizzy Supercrush. Have your soul serenaded by local groove-master SassyBlack. Then finish your nonalcoholic drink with a spine-numbing performance by supergroup Childbirth. ZACH FRIMMEL

Trashies, Clarko, Casual Hex, Dragon
Gunk rock buds the Trashies are finally back and will knock around all night with local garage thrashers Clarko, Casual Hex, and Dragon.

SATURDAY

Aqueerius Party: An Eclectic Sound Event
Celebrate the misty cosmic waves of Aquarius season with this excellently stacked lineup of local QTPOC musicians, producers, and selectors. DJs for the evening include Father Fannie, Reverend Dollars, Kid Amiga, and Joy Ma, with live sets by Guayaba, Brian is Ze, Da QWEEN, Nic Masangkay, and K. Hudson.

Band Crush: Prom Queen & the Black Tones
Band Crush is a live musical mash-up, hosted by CityArts, in which two bands pick their favorite musical crush and build a set around that tribute love to each other. This iteration features sets by Prom Queen and the Black Tones.

Dancing on the Valentine 13: Pixies & Breeders Tribute
Pay homage to the Pixies and the Breeders at this annual Valentine's show benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Come see Black Nite Crash, the Gods Themselves, Golden Gardens, Hotels, Jen Wood, Jupe Jupe, LaFonda, Pink Parts, Sloucher, Trick Candles, KEXP's DJ Atticus, and DJ Mike Steve play covers for a cathartic musical evening.

MØ, Cashmere Cat, Darius
Singer MØ and producer/DJ Cashmere Cat, from Denmark and Norway, respectively, and co-headliners on this tour, both create electro-pop well suited for the Coachella main stage or a smartphone commercial. Cashmere Cat has made great hay of his signature sound—chiming software bells, harps, and flutes atop contorted digital rap beats—collaborating with pop stars like Ariana Grande and the Weeknd. MØ has a wider range, and her solo output is more interesting than what she’s done as an EDM voice-for-hire, most notably on Major Lazer’s “Lean On.” That song was in a Google ad—go figure. ANDREW GOSPE

Nef the Pharaoh, OMB Peezy, MkF, Mo Money, UC Lil Kayla, Salsalino
Rap out of Northern Califoolya, as godfather E-40 termed it, is way too active these days—and Vallejo’s Nef the Pharaoh and Sacramento’s OMB Peezy are two of the region’s finest, both signed to 40’s Sic Wid It label, and a natural team. Both have done EPs with producer Cardo (aka Cardo Got Wings), who has a penchant for bringing the best out of up-and-comers. The Cardo-backed Neffy Got Wings and Humble Beginnings are the two best starting points to jumping on showcasing both young rappers’ gifts of descriptive grit. Nef and Peezy both draw heavily from legends they grew up on, sounding something like the second comings of Mac Dre and Lil Boosie, respectively. So I say all that to say this: Let’s get that supergroup popping—throw in Yhung T.O. and Mozzy, and you’d have NorCal’s true answer to N.W.A. Just spitballing here. LARRY MIZELL JR.

Night Shift: Silent Disco
Meet up with the wandering dance party known as Night Shift, which changes locations as well as lineups every time. This time, 10 DJs will spin tracks for "channel red" and "channel blue," and you can decide which to tune into and dance to on your provided headset.

Orphan Radio Relaunch Party
Orphan Radio will host their own relaunch party at a new location wherein local DJs and collectives will hawk their wares while alternately taking turns on the decks. Featured selectors for the evening include Vancouver's Neo Image, FKL, Raica, Aos, Kristen Dalen, DJ Zumba, US41, and Wetman.

SUNDAY

Celebrate Asia
Seattle Symphony will perform their annual Celebrate Asia concert, which has celebrated traditions of Seattle’s Asian communities for 10 years now. This year's concert will feature music by famous Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Indian composers.

Diet Cig, Great Grandpa, the Spook School
I'm too old to be Diet Cig's target demographic, but I can recognize adroit cutie-rock when I hear it. The upstate New York twosome follow in the dainty yet sometimes crunchy footsteps of acts like the Blake Babies, Juliana Hatfield Three, Bettie Serveert, and Mirah. Winsome melodies coupled with relatable relationship-centric lyrics delivered by guitarist Alex Luciano, coupled with a sincere-as-she-wants-to-be everylass, is a winning formula. Diet Cig's songs tug gently on heartstrings, add measured doses of sugar to them, and console your melancholy ass with aplomb. Plus, who isn't a sucker for a song that has a line in it about trail mix? DAVE SEGAL

Kimbra, Arc Iris
You likely know New Zealand art-pop purveyor Kimbra from her feature spot in Gotye’s relentlessly ear-wormy 2012 hit “Somebody That I Used to Know.” She has a dulcet vocal quality that delves into lower velvety timbres and higher-reaching coos when she sings, her sound mixing catchy melodies with jazzy R&B, soulful pop, and indie-dance tones. New track “Top of the World” (a single off forthcoming third album Primal Heart) has a pounding beat and pits effected singing and rhyme-slinging against femme-tribal backing chants, reminding me simultaneously of Kendrick Lamar, M.I.A., and Blondie, while “Sweet Relief” (recorded in 2016) is straight up Prince-influenced pop-funk with rubbery elastic grooves and 1980s-flecked synthesizers. RIYL: Santigold, Bat for Lashes. LEILANI POLK

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