This week, our music critics have picked everything from hiphop innovators Eric B. & Rakim to disco revivalists Escort to enigmatic rapper Leikeli47. 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.
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The Underhill Family Orchestra
Alabama natives the Underhill Family Orchestra will deliver four-part harmonies and riotous folk anthems.
Eric B. & Rakim
I still maintain that the greatest hiphop track ever made in the history of the art is Eric B. & Rakim’s “Follow the Leader.” Though recorded and released a little over 30 years ago, it has not lost any of its magic or beauty. The track arrived from the future and transformed the whole landscape of the genre. Rakim blasts through deep space with his galactic-powered Afro-proud raps, and Eric B.’s beats are like a shimmering garden on a planet with a purple sky and orange clouds. You will not understand what hiphop innovation means until you appreciate the sonic and lyrical achievements of Eric B. & Rakim. CHARLES MUDEDE
Jazz Lounge: Emma Caroline Baker
Jazz, soul, and R&B vocalist Emma Caroline Baker will be accompanied by guitarist George Bullock for an evening of sultry jazz classics and contemporary hits.
Ben Rector, Josie Dunne
Nashville Billboard-climbing singer-songwriter Ben Rector will bring his arena-pleasing energy to Seattle on his Magic Tour with opening support from pop up-and-comer Josie Dunne.
Ex-Maryland banjo player and current New York singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers will play a set of indie pop and Americana tracks.
Seattle-area musician/producer Brian Fennell, aka SYML, aka a former member of gentle indie-rock band Barcelona, will headline.
Probably the only musician to play on tracks by James Brown and the Beatles, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie has performed on almost as many important records as the late session drummer Hal Blaine. Purdie’s become a rhythm legend due to his ability to add punchy funkiness to a myriad of compositional situations for artists such as Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Nina Simone, Quincy Jones, the Rolling Stones, Gábor Szabó, Bama the Village Poet, and with Galt MacDermot on Hair. You need the solo LPs Soul Drums and Soul Is... Pretty Purdie, too. The man’s trademark is the “Purdie shuffle,” with its emphasis on quarters, eighths, 16ths, triplets, half notes, and 12/4 and 12/8 time signatures. (See his Drummerworld tutorial on YouTube for an entertaining demonstration.) As Pretty is pushing 80, these shows may be the last chance to witness this oft-sampled beat sorcerer in person. DAVE SEGAL
K.Flay will come to town with her hiphop background and DIY punk sensibilities.
White Denim, Son of Stan
For the past 13 or so years, Austin’s White Denim have delivered solid psychedelic rock that sounds vaguely vintage while also remaining uniquely White Denim, with heavy progressive influences in unexpected song structures and tempos, and also calling heavily on the sonic hues of blues, punk, soul, jazz, experimental rock, and even some dub in their jammy songwriting. New outing Side Effects brims with fine musical moments ranging from fuzzy to crunchy to dirt rock-y to groovy to modern proggy à la the bright rollicking romp that is “NY Money.” Good shit. LEILANI POLK
CarLarans, DJ Joy Ma, ZELLi, Kylie Mooncakes, Luchi, PSA
Seattle-based electro-R&B/hiphop artist CarLarans will fête the release of his long-awaited album RAW HNNY with support from fellow local stars PSA, LüCHI, ZELLi, Kylie Mooncakes, and DJ Joy Ma.
The Mercury's Ciara Dolan calls New Zealand singer-songwriter Aldous Harding "a freak genius." She'll come to Seattle to give you a taste of her new album Designer, which drops on April 26.
The Dawg Trio
Mandolin linchpin David Grisman’s Deadhead fandom was forever secured after his appearance on seminal Grateful Dead album American Beauty and ensuing collaborations with the late Jerry Garcia. He’s deserving of attention outside his Dead connection, however. His self-styled “Dawg music” finely and craftily mixes bluegrass, Django Reinhardt–influenced jazz, modern jazz fusion, folk, and old-world Mediterranean string band music. In the acoustic Dawg Trio, Grisman is joined by bassist son Sam Grisman and banjo slinger Danny Barnes, who’s played sideman to artists ranging from Dave Matthews to Bill Frisell. LEILANI POLK
Michael Zabrek's Proud & Nasty Acoustic
Pianist Michael Zabrek and his trio Proud and Nasty Acoustic play music inspired by Duke Ellington’s The Afro-Eurasian Eclipse.
THURSDAY & SATURDAYCLASSICAL
Mozart Symphony No. 40
Marc-André Dalbavie will join the Seattle Symphony for a performance of Mozart's mythically dramatic Symphony No. 40.
Although fate was obviously kinder to one of us, Kenny G and I had the same saxophone teacher. John P. Jessen, aka Johnny Jessen, taught sax out of the Sixth and Pine building downtown for ages. Kenny G used to play two saxophones at once, back at Franklin High School. And his early records were funk. Maybe not great funk, but funk. And we used to say, “Hey, local kid makes good.” I am not at all sure about his bossa-nova album. I am not at all sure about anything of Kenny G’s after 1989. But I sure do miss Johnny Jessen. ANDREW HAMLIN
Experience tragedy and romance of epic proportions as the Seattle Symphony takes on Mozart's mythically dramatic Symphony No. 40 during a special edition of "Untuxed," a low-key, no-intermission way to enjoy the Seattle Symphony without worrying about what the bourgeoisie will think of your hat and tails.
Research: Theo Parrish
Theo Parrish is an outlier’s outlier in the realm of tech-house DJs and producers. The Detroit-based maverick’s productions bear an un-grid-like organic quality that keeps them loose-limbed, mesmerizing, and groovy as fuck, and as danceable as they are adventurous. A track on his outstanding 1998 album First Floor, “Paradise Architects,” serves as a job description for what Parrish does in the studio. The respect Parrish has earned for his recordings extends to his deck skills and selections. Wisely, the Research crew are giving him six hours to manifest his minimalist magic. DAVE SEGAL
Mike Love, Sarah Christine
Hawaiian roots rock/reggae artist Mike Love will bring his "genre-conscious" tunes to Seattle with support from Sarah Christine.
Lil Pump, Lil Skies
You either know rapper Lil Pump for his ubiquitous track "Gucci Gang" or for his now infamous SNL antics with Kanye West, but now you'll get to see what he can do live on this tour stop with Lil Skies.
Sage Francis x B.Dolan - The Epic Beard Men
Indie-rap powerhouses Sage Francis and B. Dolan comprise the Epic Beard Men, a Rhode Island-based duo. They'll be joined by New Orleans Bounce scene progenitor Vockah Redu.
Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko, Dax, Mayday, Ubi
Hiphop legend and frequent PNW visitor Tech N9ne will bring his many evolutions back to Seattle for a night on his 2019 It Goes Up Tour with opening guests Krizz Kaliko, Dax, Mayday, and Ubi of CES CRU.
Jazz is going through something of a renaissance in the 2010s, and Chicago-based drummer Makaya McCraven is among the young(ish) artists driving it to summits not heard since the early ’70s. As with that era’s fusion greats, McCraven mixes styles with a brazen disregard for purism while displaying an athletic rhythmic dexterity. He blends funk, post-rock, and spiritual-jazz elements in freewheeling tracks that should excite fans of Eddie Henderson, Material, Codona, and Art Ensemble of Chicago. Anyone who caught McCraven’s dope Royal Room gig last year can attest to his group’s galvanizing chops. DAVE SEGAL
At his pinnacle, Buddy Guy’s probably the most amazing electric guitarist living. I say “at his pinnacle” because his albums sometimes skew uneven, and live, he tends to take breaks mid-set, turning the spotlight over to sidemen. But when he’s on, when he’s in the middle of an electric flurry, you hear an invocation, a summoning. Something invisible, formless, comes alive in the fusillades of bent notes. Something lives. Something walks. Guy’s worth following and worth shelling out for, on even the chance that some summoning might happen. ANDREW HAMLIN
Buke & Gase
Brooklyn-based pop duo Buke and Gase (Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez) are named after instruments they invented: the "buke" (a six-string former-baritone ukulele) and the "gase" (a guitar-bass hybrid). They also bring something called a "toe-bourine" onstage, which we can only assume is a tambourine played with their toes as opposed to their hands.
LA veterans Failure are unspectacular practitioners of rock that hovers in the nexus between shoegaze and psychedelia. Honestly, these workmanlike stalwarts should be supporting Swervedriver rather than the other way around. After spending the first half of the ’90s as one of Creation Records’ greatest and hardest-rocking acts (essentially a UK counterpart to Hüsker Dü and Dinosaur Jr.), Swervedriver continued to make thrilling records, although not as lofty as their early EPs and first two LPs. Lead singer/guitarist Adam Franklin’s knack for crafting melodies that soar and trigger tears remains intact even throughout Swervedriver’s last two somewhat mellower albums, I Wasn’t Born to Lose You and Future Ruins. These blokes still hit that sweet spot between power and vulnerability more often than not. DAVE SEGAL
Hot Buttered Rum, Toubab Krewe
Lively West Coast Americana string band Hot Buttered Rum has its "roots in Appalachia and its branches in California." Join them for a banjo-filled party with Mali-inspired instrumentalists Toubab Krewe.
Reggaetón artist Nicky Jam is on the song of the decade—“X” (pronounced "equis"), which also features the inimitable, never-had-a-flop-literally-ever J. Balvin. It’s reggaetón. Dancehall. Afrobeat. Pop. The only good things left in this world. Nicky arrives at the perfect time, too. We’re in the early spring. We’re stoned. We maybe had a sip of something kinda strong. All we want to do is slide up against other strangers in WaMu Theater while Nicky goes through hit after hit: “Baby,” “Te Robaré” (alongside another reggaetón/Latin trap giant, Ozuna), “Travesuras.” I think Nicky is willing summer to come early with this show. Let’s hope he can make it happen. JASMYNE KEIMIG
North Bend Jazz Walk 2019
Get ready for a whole day of jazz, with double digits' worth of different North Bend venues celebrating their seventh Jazz Walk anniversary. Food, drinks, and plenty of jazz talent will all be available for consumption.
Aaiiee, Value Ape, Middle Ages
At all costs, get your asses to this show tonight!!! Value Ape, for y'all not yet in the know, are a no-nonsense, working-class trio that play killer raw and heavy underground jams. They come on strong sounding like an early Dinosaur Jr., if Dinosaur Jr. only ever recorded a demo. These fellers just released an LP, and tonight is their record-release party. Also on the bill are searing lo-fi ’70s punks Middle Ages and headliners Aaiiee, a long-running, melodic indie-ish band that was playing LONG before “indie” became codified as shitty “alt-rock.” MIKE NIPPER
Ex Hex, Feels
Welcome a night of wild garage from D.C. rock riffers Ex Hex, plus an opening set from LA's Feels.
Inspired by the cinematic breadth of loneliness, companionship, and the pratfalls of human relationships, Lovelytheband write and perform songs with these themes buoyed by an infectious pop sound.
The Budos Band
There are plenty of things you can do to mark your 4/20 “holiday,” but staying in shouldn’t be one of them. It’s Saturday night! Toke up and get the hell out of the house. Might I suggest an evening with Staten Island–spawned Daptone Records–repped Budos Band? The instrumental ensemble are groove-hawkers of the nth degree, synthesizing funk, psychedelic soul, and Afrobeat with hard and greasy psych rock, all built on ominous organ swells, heavy-driving low end, an urgent trumpet-and-bari-sax attack, and slinking, surging, striding, and roiling rhythms washed in hand percussive textures and rinsed in ’70s vintage warmth. It’s the sort of music you want cued up as your own personal baddest-bitch-on-the-block soundtrack, music that will make your walking down the street feel purposeful and righteous as fuck. This tour supports their 2019 fifth LP. RIYL: Anitbalas, Adrian Younge, Shuggie Otis. LEILANI POLK
MochaCulture: Inspired by Nina Simone
Enjoy an evening of music by Nina Simone performed by local artists Evan Flory Barnes, Adra Boo, Whitney Mongé, Shaina Shepherd, and Eva Walker, plus a spoken-word performance by Aviona Rodriguez Brown and live painting by Rae Akino.
Bushwick Book Club: Parable of Talents
The Bushwick Book Club will perform original music (with a 21st-century twist) inspired by Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Talents. KEXP’s DJ Riz Rollins will be curating the lineup, which will include JR Rhodes, Om Johari, Tiffany Wilson, Okanomodé, Reggie Garrett, Nikkita Oliver, and many more.
Kimya Dawson, Your Heart Breaks
Grammy winner, former Moldy Peach, and current champion of DIY and anti-folk Kimya Dawson will headline this show with legendary Seattle queer band Your Heart Breaks as they promote the release of their latest album, Drone Butch Blues.
Leikeli47, Yung Baby Tate, JAMESDAVIS
We’ve never seen exactly what Leikeli47 looks like. She only performs with something over her face—either a balaclava or some artfully reconstructed bandanna. Even her moniker, Leikeli47, reminds me of a screen name. In an interview with Vibe, she says not showing her face gives her freedom and courage. To which I say: Hell yeah. Leikeli47’s music has a lot of personality and it’s fun as hell. If you’ve never listened to her before, I suggest you start with “Girl Blunt” and turn it up as loud as possible, either while you’re rolling a blunt or when you’re craving one. Blast “No Reload” when you want to feel invincible. JASMYNE KEIMIG
New York City’s Escort make disco that sounds more like 1979 than 2019. That being said, their new City Life is about as solid a straightforward, throwback disco album (with light dub and house undertones) as you’ll find this year. If you desire swanky, breezy dance music with great, non-Auto-Tuned female vocals, Escort have you covered… in a champagne-soaked gold lamé jumpsuit. That they enlisted R&B diva Fonda Rae (Don Armando’s Second Avenue Band, King Creole and the Coconuts) and Brian Jackson (Gil Scott-Heron) to add vocal and flute vibrancy to the proceedings, respectively, shows you how savvy and well-connected Escort are. DAVE SEGAL
Show Me the Body, SMUT
New York band Show Me the Body’s aggressive sound doesn’t alienate you, it welcomes you. Their music combines elements of NY hardcore, hiphop, and noise rock into a giant stew of punk that’s oddly refreshing. In 2017, the band released a collaborative broad-ranging mixtape project called Corpus I that featured guests like Dreamcrusher, Mal Devisa, and Princess Nokia. Their latest effort Dog Whistle feels a lot more focused, both sonically and conceptually; go listen to standout tracks “Madonna Rocket” and “Arcanum.” JASMYNE KEIMIG