This week, our music critics have picked everything from La Luz frontwoman Shana Cleveland to Record Store Day 2019 to the third annual BeatMatch competition. Follow the links below for ticket links and music clips for all of their picks, and find even more shows on our complete music calendar. Plus, check out our arts critics' picks for the 74 best things to do this week.
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CupcakKe, Lil Woadie, Thee Prophecy
CupcakKe is really fucking important! For the uninitiated, the Chicago rapper is most known for her sexually explicit songs—like the one where she talks about going “duck duck goose” on the dick and, in the accompanying NSFW music video, goes around patting dildos of all colors and sizes on their heads. Or the one where she raps, “His dick smaller than my toes / I’d rather ride Squidward nose.” But CupcakKe has got range: Her candid style reflects on all areas of her life and finds her rapping about her personal struggles, LGBT acceptance and allyship, and police brutality. She’s the Renaissance woman of modern hiphop. Come and be free! JASMYNE KEIMIG
Jane Siberry, The Royal Oui
Mercury contributor Robert Ham has praised Canadian singer-songwriter (and '90s chart-topper) Jane Siberry for "making music long past her commercial peak, releasing albums independently and with crowdfunding help." She always seems to be working on something new, regardless of how much attention she's getting from the press, whether it's electro-chamber pop or splashy jazz. Catch her in Seattle with psychedelic folk duo the Royal Oui.
Tito's Handmade Vodka 22nd Birthday Party with Matt & Kim
Anthem-loving rock duo Matt and Kim will help Tito's Handmade Vodka celebrate their 22nd birthday, with all proceeds going to FareStart.
Beethoven & Stravinsky
Indulge in the work of classical powerhouses with this dual performance of Beethoven's Septet and Stravinsky's Duo Concertant.
Tel Aviv-born, chart-topping "Nevermind" singer and producer Dennis Lloyd (who was born Nir Tibor and chose his name in an attempt to sound more international) will come to Seattle on his Never Go Back Tour.
Kristian Nairn (Hodor)
Irish DJ Kristian Nairn plays a blend of progressive and tech house influenced by artists like Eric Prydz, Daft Punk, and Valerie Collective. Oh yeah, and he played the role of Hodor in Game of Thrones.
Alright, this one's for the capital-n Nerds of the music world. DJs Dad (Eli Anderson), Average Rooms (Norm Chambers), and Veins (The Stranger's own Dave Segal) have dug real deep into the wild world of library music (a.k.a. production music) to present for y'all an evening of the "scariest, funkiest, catchiest, and craziest tracks you’ve never heard before... until now." Aubrey Nehring will be providing the surrealistic visuals to cap it all off.
Considered one of the most influential girl groups in Japan, futuristic electro-pop trio Perfume (consisting of A-Chan, Kashiyuka, and Nocchi) will bring their "4th Future Pop" world tour to Seattle for an evening of internationally renowned pop and electronica.
Shana Cleveland, frontwoman of La Luz, is going solo, baby! Not for good, but at least until the next Worm Moon, the first full moon in the month of March. Recorded during the 2017 solar eclipse, Night of the Worm Moon, which dropped in April 5, is a much different affair than the mind-melting, fuck-why-am-I-so-high-at-this-pool-party-right-now surfer rock of La Luz. Inspired by the Californian landscape, serenity, sci-fi, Afrofuturism, and other things of cosmic concern, Cleveland’s second solo album is sure to be a record of galactic implications. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Dan & Shay, Chris Lane
Singer-songwriter duo Dan & Shay have been hard at work prepping their latest self-titled album, and will play hits from their last three releases while on tour.
Switchfoot, Colony House, Tyler Motsenbocker
Somehow in their second decade of existence, San Diego group Switchfoot are back in town for a night of true throwbacks and posi vibe alt rock, with Colony House and Tyler Motsenbocker at their side.
WEDNESDAY & FRIDAYCLASSICAL
Dvořák New World Symphony
Pianist and composer George Walker will lead Dvořák's triumphant ninth symphony in a performance that will draw parallels between Walker's own experiences as a black composer breaking barriers in the music industry and Dvořák's experiences leaving his Czech homeland and coming to the United States. Walker will be joined by featured violinist Nicola Benedetti.
Tower of Power
Oakland’s fabulous funk and soul-jazz heavies Tower of Power return for yet another Seattle residency. Reports from the most gushing-est of fans claim that every TOP show is a killer dance party, but then they are the “Hipper Than Hip” from “Bump City” and would obviously know how to dig it deep “In the Slot”! That they keep killin’ it time and again is REALLY saying something, as Tower of Power have been active for 50 years and show no signs of getting up from all their serious getting down! MIKE NIPPER
Big Band at the End of the World
The improvisational style of the 15-piece Big Band at the End of the World—comprised of musicians, a visual artist (Anjali Grant), and a prose writer/performer (Stranger Genius Stacey Levine)—isn't just a genre choice; it's also the group's way of resisting and challenging our society's harmful institutions.
Avey Tare, Jabon
Animal Collective’s two most industrious solo outputting members (Panda Bear and Avey Tare) have both issued studio LPs in 2019. Avey Tare’s third (Cows on Hourglass Pond, recorded on reel-to-reel tape machine) takes some experimental pop turns you’d expect. Sometimes it works, floating and melodically bizarre à la first single “Saturdays Again,” which throws together a warped baying sample of a sitar, or maybe it’s cello, strummed acoustic and picked electric guitar melodies, a muffled kick-drum beat, and the perfect low-end cradle to hold it all together and bounce it right along as the artist (aka David Portner) croons hazily and sweetly on time with some occasional “doo doo doo doo”s. Other times, it feels a bit too abstract, woozy, and weird for weird’s sake, like the strums-and-synths-fueled “Blue Chill.” Still, those AC guys sure know how to throw a show. Expect trippy visuals and lots of looping. LEILANI POLK
DYED, Rosey Dust, The Carols
Unabashed acolytes of the original wave of post-punk and danceable, synth-enhanced rock from the Reagan era, DYED—Jayson Kochan (Airport, Midday Veil), Meg Huffman, Ruben Mendez (Coconut Coolouts), and Gabrielle Myer—write songs that embed themselves in your brain with alacrity and panache. They’ve opened for some great bands—including the Peacers, Lavender Flu, and X__X—proving themselves capable mood-setters. DAVE SEGAL
The Black Tones, Black Ends, Payge Turner
The Black Tones' 2018 Capitol Hill Block Party set was the kick in the ear required to understand the furor they'd been creating. Playing as a trio at Barboza, they injected classic rock, blues, and funk with extraordinary energy and personality while maximizing excitement in their dynamics. Their songs aren't innovative, but in that room, they wowed the crowd thanks to the Walkers' natural exuberance and ingenuity within familiar genre moves. That they're making great music in a guitar-heavy rock style not typically associated with African American performers—even in 2019—adds another frisson to the Black Tones experience. DAVE SEGAL
This inaugural DIY music fest celebrates the womxn, queers, and POC of Seattle's punk music scene. Look forward to two days of live sets from Seattle punk-rock stalwarts Wimps, Salt Lick, dream-punks Porch Cat, hometown hiphop hero DoNormaal, and many others.
Gang of DJs
Dave Allen, Hugo Burnham and Jon King—three original members of the influential English post-punk band Gang of Four—will take over as DJs.
Kontravoid, Sex Park, Profit Prison, Bloom Offering
This bill displays the myriad ways young musicians are keeping the dark flame of synthwave alive two decades into the 21st century. Toronto musician Kontravoid (aka Cameron Findlay) purveys an artfully punishing strain of the genre, with EBM overtones, making me think of Wax Trax! Records (ask your inked and pierced father). Portland group Sex Park’s music is a black-leathered amalgam of Depeche Mode at their starkest, early Sisters of Mercy, and Joy Division circa “Isolation.” Check out “The Bather” from their 2018 album Atrium for a prime slice. Seattle keyboardist/vocalist Bloom Offering (aka Nicole Carr) is supporting her 2019 LP, Episodes, whose tracks are as decadently danceable as they are mordant. DAVE SEGAL
Seattle prodigal son Sol continually re-emerges on the PNW scene throughout the years with surprise track bundle drops, essential humanitarian actions, and underwhelming beef with other local notables, but he always manages to make time for the occasional high-energy, sunshine-filled set in the city that raised him.
Gregg Belisle-Chi, Jim Knapp's Scrape Orchestra, Mike Dumovich
New York guitarist Gregg Belisle-Chi writes artful songs that combine elements of chamber orchestra music and early Low. He’s in town supporting his third album, Book of Hours (out in May), whose eight songs come across as an apotheosis of slowcore and the contemplative, austere jazz of ECM Records—although “Gloria” sounds like a bizarre, muted outtake from Miles’s On the Corner, and is therefore awesome. A poignant stillness courses through the album; fans of Bill Frisell and Nels Cline should love the hushed splendor of Book of Hours. DAVE SEGAL
Girlpool, Hatchie, Claud
I feel like I grew up with Girlpool. I first listened to them in my late teens when I started experimenting with high-waisted jeans and being more open and vulnerable. Girlpool pair with this stage of life surprisingly well. Consisting of Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad, the band’s folk-inspired sound has always skewed toward the “hushed and twee” as Stranger music critic Dave Segal expertly observed. But their latest release, What Chaos Is Imaginary, sounds big and expansive. There are even synths. It’s like we all evolved. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Mom Jeans., Mover Shaker, The Co Founder, King of Heck, Snooze
California power-pop-rock stoners Mom Jeans. will play for the teens (and all other ages) with support from gloomy Michigan rockers Mover Shaker, Bellingham's the Co Founder, and King of Heck.
SASAMI, Slut Island
Los Angeles–based SASAMI knows what’s she doing. Having spent years studying music theory and playing keys in another LA band, Cherry Glazerr, Sasami Ashworth is ready to strike out on her own. Her self-titled debut is an intimate affair, lovingly homemade and a bit reflective. Exactly what you want to hear when you’re feel edgy—it calms you down. “Pacify My Heart” starts quiet and slowly builds into a giant distortion-laden song, where “Not the Time” is playful and fuzzy. SASAMI is joined the punky, jumpsuit-clad Slut Island—you should listen to their song “HPV.” JASMYNE KEIMIG
WEEED, SSDD, Beverly Crusher, Xurs
Stranger contributor Zach Frimmel has described Bainbridge Island’s WEEED as "a guided meditation interrupted with chaos." They'll be joined by fellow experimental rockers/punks SSDD, Beverly Crusher, and Xurs.
Pacific MusicWorks: International Woman of Mystery
Pacific MusicWorks will honor the life and legacy of Venetian artist Antonia Bembo, a prodigious singer and composer who worked in Paris under the protection of King Louis XIV. Featured soloists include soprano Danielle Sampson, violinist Linda Melsted, cellist Annabeth Shirley, and harpsichordist Henry Lebedinsky.
Seattle Classic Guitar Society: Irina Kulikova
A gifted classical guitarist, noted Russian musician Irina Kulikova will play a program of her favorites.
West Coast Connect — Cumbiatón
Talented DJ J-Na$ty from local music collective Women.Weed.Wifi will be a part of this West Coast-centric dance party that centers on femme DJs, womxn of color, people of color, and LGBTQIA communities all set to the tune of some excellent Afro-Latinx music.
Third Annual BeatMatch
Multitalented musician Chong the Nomad participated in last year’s BeatMatch, and now look at her—she’s played the Capitol Hill Block Party and Upstream festivals, graced the cover of The Stranger, and been featured in an ad for Universal Audio. This bracketed tournament pits 16 local electronic-music producers flaunting their most exceptional rhythms and melodies before judges and a live audience. They’ll be competing for a cash prize and a slot at the 2019 Block Party. Witness up-and-coming beatmakers hungrily bust out their finest joints before they blow up. DAVE SEGAL
Murs, Locksmith, Cojo, Grandmasters
LA rapper Murs, aka Nicholas Carter, once broke the Guinness World Record for longest continuous freestyle rap with a 26-hour, nonstop marathon of bars-spitting and verse-slinging he performed during a live stream on Twitch.tv. He’s associated with another well-regarded West Coast hiphop maker, Tech N9ne, who signed Murs to his Strange Music label in 2014; last year’s A Strange Journey into the Unimaginable was his third release on the Strange imprint and his 11th overall. His flow is deliberate and well-enunciated, yet rhythmic, buoyant, and confident, and his production qualities have plenty of head-bobbing, ass-shaking moments; see Strange Journey’s “Melancholy,” which, contrary to its title, feels like a look-on-the-bright-side good time. LEILANI POLK
Boy Harsher, Special Interest, YourYoungBody, DJ Manimal
Massachusetts duo Boy Harsher are synthy, retro, and sexy in a way that’s achingly melancholic. I can easily imagine their song “Pain” inhabiting a film like Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. Their music draws pretty heavy inspiration from an era—the 1980s—but its sensibilities lie in the 21st century. And Boy Harsher are in good company. New Orleans–based synth punk outfit Special Interest bring an edgy, dancey element to the party. And our very own YourYoungBody will supply the evening with some dark, moody vibes. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Many years have passed since the '70s Kansas classic Point of Know Return, so, natch, they're back to revamp the glory of its release as well as all their other rock hits.
Mark Pickerel and the Peyote 3, Ian Moore and the Mescal 4
Best known as the original drummer for the Screaming Trees, Mark Pickerel has worked with big names like Brandi Carlile, Neko Case, and Nirvana. Now he fronts his own band, the Peyote 3. Join them after opening sets from Texan guitarist Ian Moore and the Mescal 4.
Record Store Day 2019
Excellently divisive music-nerd holiday Record Store Day acts as an annual reminder of how Seattle is still very much a music-obsessed town. For those of you who aren’t saving your pennies for Spectrum’s Highs, Lows, & Heavenly Blows, Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 as a day of celebration and discounts for vinyl enthusiasts. Depending on whom you ask, it’s either a booster shot to music retailers or a headache for smaller labels that have to compete with major labels to get their releases pressed on time. Many Seattle shops participate by offering special releases and sales, and some even have in-store performances. DAVE SEGAL
You don't need a deep—or any—knowledge of Swedish folk music to get into Uppsala band Väsen’s output. They deploy guitar, viola, percussion, and nyckelharpa (a keyed fiddle that looks as if it can produce microtones and has similarities to a hurdy-gurdy) to create kinetic, melodically rich songs that could get you whirling your dervishes in seconds. We often think of folk music as something more to be admired, like a primitive sculpture in a museum, than to get enthusiastic about, but at their most dynamic, Väsen’s tracks burst with vitality and often carry the surprising dynamics of the best prog rock. (Yes, that’s a compliment, bub.) DAVE SEGAL
In the Spotlight: Schoenberg & Bach
Schoenberg’s Woodwind Quintet and Bach's Goldberg Variations will be performed in the same program by Seattle Symphony musicians to draw attention to the similarities in how these pieces create massive musical frameworks from the humblest of beginnings.
Seagaze: Savage Republic, Rending Sinew
Though rarely acknowledged, California’s Savage Republic cut one of the greatest rock albums of the 1980s with 1988’s Jamahiriya. You know how some bands’ music just naturally exudes a heroic militancy, even without the help of lyrics? That description epitomizes this Savage Republic LP and the rest of their output throughout the era. With their radiant, heat-haze guitar attack, roiling, ritualistic rhythms, and strident vocals, Savage Republic have created a powerful body of work that’s bafflingly flown under the radar of most people. After a long hiatus, they returned 12 years ago with 1938, and their last LP, 2014’s Aegean, proves they’re as uncompromising and thrilling as ever. Make a beeline to this show after you see Mdou Moctar. DAVE SEGAL
Earl Sweatshirt, Liv.e, MIKE
I honestly have a hard time forgiving—or rather, moving past—Earl Sweatshirt’s previous releases with rap collective Odd Future. Though I did listen to his debut Earl mixtape in high school, his graphic descriptions of violently assaulting women irked me enough to stop listening. The Los Angeles native acknowledged that the incel community fucked with him and OF “super tough” in a Pitchfork interview earlier this year. He says that his latest release, Some Rap Songs, which deals with themes racism and other personal stuff, is a much better reflection of who he is and where he’s coming from. The sound is experimental and risky in a way that isn’t really fucking misogynist. Glad you figured it out, bro. JASMYNE KEIMIG
HEALTH, Youth Code
Back in the late ’00s, HEALTH were one of the most exhilarating groups in LA’s overcrowded rock scene. At 2010’s Bumbershoot, they put on a fantastic show (“a vital blast of apocalyptic weirdness,” as my review on Line Out put it), but I lost track of their recording career after 2009’s bombastic industrial-rock stunner Get Color. Just now catching up with 2015’s Death Magic, it’s apparent HEALTH have changed. Here they sound like a more butch Pet Shop Boys or a less angsty Nine Inch Nails, though flashes of their past brutality do occasionally surface. Narcotized melody has usurped galvanic noise as the dominant force in HEALTH’s music. Some may view this as progress, others as a misguided march toward “maturity.” DAVE SEGAL
Mdou Moctar, Marisa Anderson
Coming from a small village in a remote region of the Azawagh desert in Niger, Mdou Moctar and his band have become a huge hit across the globe. Playing left-hand electric guitar and combining the traditional polyrhythms of takamba and modern adaptations of Tuareg guitar music with lyrics sung in the style of old nomadic poems, Mdou Moctar sounds original and fresh. He at once captures the sound of wide-open sand-blown spaces and also makes me want to thrash around in my Vans. JASMYNE KEIMIG