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Like Mavis Staples and the late Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley, Bettye LaVette proves that advanced age—she’s been in the music biz for 55 years—is no barrier to maintaining quality control in the vocal-performance department. Her Tina Turner-esque rasp serves as a vibrant conduit for soul and slow-burning passion. She has a penchant for covering classic-rock artists (Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, the Who), ingeniously rearranging these familiar tunes and imbuing them with a hard-won soulfulness. What LaVette does isn’t exactly jazz, but it is very classy and enjoyable, and her burnished voice should sound amazing at Benaroya Hall. DAVE SEGAL
Cigarettes After Sex
It’s tempting to be cynical toward any band that blows up before their first album drops. Sure, Cigarettes After Sex had an EP from 2012 and a few scattered songs floating around online in the interim between their debut and this summer’s self-titled full-length, but that kind of early internet hype typically doesn’t pan out so well when the artist finally makes a proper album. Fortunately, that’s not the case here. And considering our withering attention spans in the age of media saturation, the ability of a sparse, hushed, narcoleptic pop group to actually grab people’s attention without a bunch of pandering promotional gimmicks is a testament to Cigarettes After Sex’s songwriting strength, tasteful restraint, and simple aesthetic grace. So come on aboard, there’s lots of room for you on the bandwagon. BRIAN COOK
Django Django, Ofelia K
London-brewed art-rock quartet Django Django initially grabbed my attention because they reminded me of another all-time favorite, the Beta Band, with their dual high-toned vocal delivery and effortless mix of folky percussive rhythms and psychedelic-electro sonic flotsam. And there is, indeed, a connection: Drummer/producer David Maclean is the brother of ex-Beta John Maclean. Django Django have managed to stand strong all on their own, however, with a fantastic 2012 eponymous debut followed by a less fantastic but still pretty great sophomore LP, Beyond Saturn, that found them veering further into weirdo synth-rock territories. This year’s Marble Skies hasn’t grabbed me yet—it’s more mild-mannered and slower moving than expected—but I know from experience these Brits put on a lively, made-for-dancing show. No better way to spend your Monday night. LEILANI POLK
Twin Shadow, Yuno
Twin Shadow’s new one is called Caer. No, I don’t know what it means, but hey, I’ve always loved this guy because he loves the 1980s at least as much as I do, if not more—even if, unlike me, he’s too young to remember them. The new songs come replete with the sonar-pinging synths and aerosolized vocals we ’80s kids grew up on (plus some Tom Petty name-checks to seal the deal), and lyrics about getting away from it all, even if it’s only on Saturdays, ’cause we’ll just squeeze every fricking quark out of every Saturday second. Roll down the car windows and cruise and pretend you still have a tape deck. ANDREW HAMLIN
Emerging Cuban star Daymé Arocena is a quintuple threat as a singer, composer, arranger, choir director, and band leader. She'll show off her charismatic presence with an evening of Afro-Cuban jazz and neo-soul.
Vox Mod, The Spider Ferns, Nearby
Across a few well-received records over the past several years, producer Vox Mod (aka Scot Porter) has collaborated with some of Seattle’s heavy hitters, most notably Erik Blood and Shabazz Palaces. So it’s notable that latest effort Sense of Us is essentially a solo album where Porter’s voice stars throughout. The instrumentals, though, are in line with Vox Mod’s history—mid-tempo, loop-based, acid-inspired, gradually evolving. Porter’s usual collaborative ethos will be on display at this record release show, where he’ll be joined by a host of guest vocalists, including Adra Boo (Fly Moon Royalty) and Whitney Lyman (Pollens). ANDREW GOSPE
Romaro Franceswa, Jango, Koga Shabazz, E&J, Shane Diamanti
Following 2016’s superb Balance, Romaro is back at it with Mirror, his first output since finding new management, a new label (Black Umbrella), and a new focus. It’s his first release sans the nimble OG Bean, but a quick pass-through confirms the goods. I ain’t gotta tell you to watch the kid, you’re already looking—just appreciate the growth. LARRY MIZELL JR.
A Night at Studio 54 with Jellybean Benitez
You'll be an exclusive A-lister for the night at this retro flashback dance party featuring pioneering NYC DJ John "Jellybean" Benitez. With a style self-described as "soulful house," Jellybean has remixed and produced artists like Madonna and Whitney Houston and has lit up dance floors at legendary clubs Paradise Garage, Electric Circus, Funhouse, and, of course, Studio 54. Inducted into the Dance Hall of Fame in 2005, Jellybean still tours internationally and rocks the house with a seamlessly mixed teleportation into disco, house, and old school dance classics. BRITTNIE FULLER
Lapalux, Daedelus, FKL, Raica
Stuart Howard’s careful beat work as Lapalux is replete with detail and reference: Hiphop drums intermingle with jazzy breaks and ambient drifts, all with a pronounced knack for melody. It’s sophisticated stuff, but it also wouldn’t be entirely out of place on one of those innumerable “Chill Beats for Studying/Gaming” YouTube playlists. Lately, Howard has moved toward harsher sounds (fractured breakbeats, curdled synths), resulting in more abstract productions that approach the revered territory of Flying Lotus, whose Brainfeeder label releases much of Howard’s music. This is the first Lapalux show in Seattle in almost five years, so beat-heads should jump at the opportunity—he doesn’t come through often. ANDREW GOSPE
Khruangbin, the Mattson 2
From their tongue-twisting name (Thai for “airplane”) to their surf-meets-desert vibe, the instrumentalists of Khruangbin give the impression that they hail from Iran or Egypt or some other far-flung locale. On their new record, Con Todo el Mundo, they raid from the Nixon era's funkiest box of tricks with soulful chanting and other retro moves that impart a disco-zouk sheen to silvery tracks like "Evan Finds the Third Room." But nope, they're three modern-day Houstonians with an empathic feel for improvisation and the chops to give fellow travelers like the Budos Band and the Heliocentrics a run for the money. KATHY FENNESSY
Awesome Tapes from Africa x Chimurenga Renaissance
In the Wild West file-sharing days of the 2000s, I'd often see files with names like dope_african_shit.mp3, with no identifying info about the artist, genre, or country of origin. That kind of anonymous treatment of foreign musicians is anathema to Brian Shimkovitz, an ethnomusicologist who got hooked on West African music as a Fulbright scholar in Ghana. In 2006, he started the blog Awesome Tapes from Africa, where he digitized cassette tapes he picked up in his travels, which over the last decade has morphed into an online shop where licensed artists receive half the proceeds. Shimkovitz's African music archive dovetails with the future-contemporary sound of Chimurenga Renaissance, the side project of Shabazz Palaces' Tendai Maraire, son of a Zimbabwean music legend, outré fashion designer, and one of Seattle's true Renaissance men. GREG SCRUGGS
How Are You, Fine, Thank You
Enjoy an evening of gentle salutations from three local experimental rock and pop groups: How Are You, Fine, and Thank You.
Uriah Heep, R.I.P., Beyond Captain Orca!
To some, Uriah Heep represent the nadir of ’70s British rock. In her Rolling Stone review of the band’s 1970 debut and “Worst Album Title Ever” contender …Very ’Eavy …Very ’Umble, critic Melissa Mills infamously wrote that she would “commit suicide” if the band achieved commercial success. The Heep were and still are an easy target for critics; they’re painfully sciolistic and self-conscious, even by prog-rock standards, and their lyrics usually read like lower-tier Tolkien fan fiction. But they were also undeniably influential, in particular, the late, great David Byron, who sang with the band during their “golden era.” Byron’s operatic wail can be heard in everyone from Chicago’s Robert Lamm to Sweet’s Brian Connolly. MORGAN TROPER
THURSDAY & SATURDAYCLASSICAL
Seattle Symphony music director Ludovic Morlot leads "star soloists, dancers, puppeteers, three choirs, four grand pianos, and the Seattle Symphony" in this celebration of Stravinsky's woefully under-sung minor pieces. Dancer Anna Marra's interpretation of Perséphone, Stravinsky's haunting melodrama about the Greek goddess of nature who was dragged to the underworld against her will, should be particularly magical. The recent production at the Oregon Symphony featured life-size puppets, bunches of oversize flowers, a man-deer, and one big freaky moon. RICH SMITH
Pianist, singer, and songwriter Eliane Elias has won Grammy Awards for her distinctive style that creates a fusion of her Brazilian roots with her instrumental jazz, classical, and compositional skills.
Seagaze Festival 2018 will seep over the banks of Eastlake with four whole days of experimental free-wave weirdos blasting out post-punk, shoegaze, and psych rock.
MoPOP Pop Conference 2018
At this annual pointy-headed music-nerd conference, which was started in 2002, academics, critics, artists, and hardcore fans come together to hear panels on a broad theme relating to the art form that connects them all. This year's theme is "What Difference Does It Make? Music and Gender," with panels about everything from "Rethinking Lesbian Sound" to "Mansplaining" (featuring The Stranger's Sean Nelson), and from "Women at the Foundations of Rock Writing" to "Black Male Interiority." Thursday's keynote will be "Music, Activism, and the #MeToo #TimesUp Moment."
At the latest installment of the incredibly popular (and wonderful) late-night, lie-on-the-floor-if-you-want-to concert experience from Seattle Symphony's most risk-taking players, [untitled] 2 will feature a blend of folk traditions and wild works by contemporary Russian composers, all animated by the Dmitry Pokrovsky Ensemble.
Grounded Pres. Simone (Open to Close)
Dance out all your work week energy at this open-to-close DJ set from TUF member Simone Pierson.
Hailing from the lip-savvy land of Atmosphere, Minneapolis’s Dessa (aka Margret Wander) is blending mainstream and feminist rap in a provocative way that satiates both mind and body. For the mind, the 37-year-old strings together heartfelt anthems like “Fire Drills” and a spoken-word consciousness, and she uses her palpable lyricism to impart a more visceral listening experience. For the body, her suede-like melodies and trenchant cadence loosen you up, and before you know it, the polished, synth-driven beat is tingling down your spine. Chicago’s MONAKR will pair nicely with their arena-sized, modern rhythm and blues and pop sensibilities. ZACH FRIMMEL
Jorja Smith, Ama Lou
Jorja Smith has proven herself more than just a collaborator (and possible paramour) of Drake, who featured her on several songs on his 2017 More Life album. And despite inevitable comparisons to Amy Winehouse due to the soulful range of her voice, Smith brings a graceful intimacy and a fresh sophistication to jazz-infused R&B that is all her own. AMBER CORTES
Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko, Just Juice, Joey Cool, King Iso, Mackenzie Nicole
Hiphop legend Tech N9ne will bring his many evolutions back to Seattle for two nights with guests Krizz Kaliko, Just Juice, Joey Cool, King Iso, and Mackenzie Nicole on this tour stop.
Zony Mash, Sweeter Than The Day, The Robin Holcomb Band
Versatile and virtuosic keyboardist/composer Wayne Horvitz flaunts two of his many facets tonight. Sweeter Than the Day is his mostly acoustic group, an elegant foray into lyrical songwriting that skews toward the somberly beautiful. Somehow they coax melodies that seem both sleek and rococo. Zony Mash is where Horvitz gets down and dirty, channeling New Orleans funk (i.e., one of the most flavorful funks) with Meters-like tightness and lubriciousness. This might be my favorite Horvitz project, up there with Pigpen and Ponga. DAVE SEGAL
The Fratellis, Blood Red Shoes
I had no idea how popular the Fratellis were before this writing, but I certainly didn’t expect their Seattle date to be sold out. The Glasgow alt-rock trio—who synthesize elements of garage-rock and retro pop, post-punk revival, and doo-wop filtered through an ’00s lens—don’t have any “hits” in the US. But before listening to their vaguely groove-oriented 2018 LP, In Your Own Sweet Time, the one track I did know was the infectious, bouncy “Chelsea Dagger” (it opens with enthusiastic, beers-cheers-ing “do do do”s and continues this upbeat pace throughout the track). Apparently, it's been the goal song for the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010, seeing them through three Stanley Cup wins. So that’s likely why you might not be able to see the Fratellis here. LEILANI POLK
Savage Spring Shindig: The Boss Martians, the Ogres, the Knights of Trash, the Delstroyers
After our long winter, we deserve a Savage Spring Shindig, so a savage shindiggin' is what we’re gonna get! For headliners, we're gettin' the Ogres, who mix savage 1960s garage AND fuzzed-out instrumentals à la Mr. Davie Allan. But, shindiggers, we’re ALSO promised savage sets from locals the Boss Martians, the Northwest kings of surf, the Knights of Trash, once a Thee Milkshakes tribute band, but they've begun to drop in cool, self-penned garage jams in their sets, and the Delstroyers, who shred cool, laid-back surf with loads of reverb. MIKE NIPPER
Wild Child, Stelth Ulvang
Austin indie-pop septet Wild Child make music that is instantly likable and head-bobbable. Take “Alex”—the lead-off track on 2018 fourth album Expectations; it’s all breezy ukulele plucks and strums, easygoing bass grooves, and light sonic accoutrements (cello riffs, violin bowing, cascading polyrhythmic guitar play, handclaps, and buoyant percussion). The song is fueled by the charming masculine-feminine vocal interplay of co-leads Kelsey Wilson and Alexander Beggins, her velvety and honeyed timbre a fine complement to his earnest high-toned tenor. They also deliver on poignant balladry, dance-floor movers, and brass-laced barn burners. LEILANI POLK
MirrorGloss, Breaks and Swells, Guayaba, DJ El Mizell
Mirrorgloss's brassy vocals and punchy electronic backing earned them "Best New Band of 2014" from the Tacoma Weekly. See them with Breaks and Swells, Guayaba, and DJ El Mizell.
Kris Orlowski's all snowy poetry. This show should have all the energetic shimmer of campfire sing-alongs, "real" block parties, and Christmas-light-decorated-basement shows. Bring somebody you want to make out with. ANNA MINARD
DJ Python, Yasha, FKL, DJ Zumba
Though it’s less popular here in the States, reggaeton dominates clubs and car stereos in much of the Spanish-speaking world. As DJ Python, New York producer Brian Piñeyro takes that sound, itself an outgrowth of Jamaican dancehall music injected with hiphop’s DNA, in unexpected directions. On last year’s excellent Dulce Compañia, reggaeton’s rhythmic signature—an instantly recognizable syncopated kick-and-snare pattern—underpins most tracks, but it’s the atmospheric elements Python stacks atop that pulse that make his so-called “deep reggaeton” distinct. Piñeyro’s music has elements of dub, new age, and the hazy house purveyed by labels like 1080p, but none of those comparisons quite capture what he’s created. Expect an unusually meditative night on the dance floor. ANDREW GOSPE
Sweatbox 10 Year Anniversary: Patrice Scott, D.Tiffany, Ctrl_Alt_Dlt, Jonny Romero, Roddimus, Eugene Fauntleroy
When a Detroit techno/house artist hits Seattle, it's generally a great idea to get your ass to the club. This is especially true for a DJ/producer who's drawn influence from dance music pioneers such as the Belleville 3 and Jeff Mills, as has done Patrice Scott. Scott has also taken sustenance from the warm soulfulness and emphasis on hip-twitching bass lines espoused by Chicago house avatars Frankie Knuckles and Larry Heard, channeling all these prime elements into sets that satisfy on physical and spiritual levels. Vancouver's D. Tiffany (aka Sophie Sweetland, aka DJ Zozi) creates weird, spacey techno/IDM hybrids that move with the oblong grooviness of early Aphex Twin and other artists from Warp's crucial Artificial Intelligence comps. Respect to the Sweatbox crew for a decade of decadence and cutting edge dance music championing. DAVE SEGAL
Bishop Briggs, Matt Maeson
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 Matt Maeson.
Charlotte Cardin, NIIA, Aliocha
Young singer-songwriter Charlotte Cardin has blazed through high-profile festival bookings and progressively expanding online streaming goals to successfully cross over from Canada's popular music charts to ours. She'll be joined this evening by NIIA and Aliocha.
Post Malone, 21 Savage, SOB X RBE
The nicest thing you can say about Post Malone’s “Rockstar” is that it might be better than the Nickelback song of the same name. Of course, because there’s no accounting for taste, it’s become the rapper’s biggest hit, helping launch him from an easy-to-ignore novelty (see 2015’s “White Iverson,” or, actually, don’t) to one of hiphop’s biggest names. That Post Malone’s languid, downcast music isn’t an instant mood-killer in the club probably says something about mainstream rap in our post-Drake age. Or maybe it doesn’t, since both openers here, polarizing Atlanta MC 21 Savage and rising Bay Area crew SOB x RBE, are quite good. ANDREW GOSPE
Hayley & the Crushers, Slow Elk, Razor Clam, Bearaxe
San Jose headliner Hayley & the Crushers will tear it up with their neon pink, bubblegum punk in the beachy stylings of the Ramones. Seattle’s outfit Slow Elk will surely bring the rock 'n’ roll moodiness with their Murder City Devils vibes. To boot, there are two other local bands sharp enough to open any show, Razor Clam and Bearaxe—very sharp. The all-femme, sultry-positive iconoclasts in Razor Clam will deliver with go-go dancers and their rhapsodic mood rock. Classic-rock-minded Bearaxe are fronted by Shaina Shepherd, who is an exceptional wail of sass and soul. ZACH FRIMMEL