Frankie Cosmos will bring their energetic, earnest songs to the Laser Dome on Sunday (and Alma Mater Tacoma on Friday). jackie lee young
This week, our music critics have picked everything from Jonathan Richman to a Halloween show with Tacocat to Frankie Cosmos. 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 and culture critics' picks for the 53 best things to do this week.
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MONDAY

BLUES/COUNTRY/FOLK

Vieux Farka Touré, Bombino
Here’s more proof of the strength and popularity of African desert-blues guitarists. Mali’s Vieux Farka Touré has been blessed/burdened with the nickname “Hendrix of the Sahara,” and he lives up to the hype with fluid, spidery riffs that hypnotize and enchant in equal measure. His songs chime, ramble, and emote in an easygoing manner while still communicating the time-immemorial melancholy of the blues. It's that old uplift-through-downtrodden-ness trope into which many of history's best musicians tap. Originally supported in the US by Seattle label Sublime Frequencies, Niger’s Bombino (aka Omara Moctar) plays with a more caustic, rawer approach, both texturally and rhythmically. His piquant, glinting guitar tones and serpentine riffs make for a fresh jam-band gestalt that’s packed with virtuosity and the sort of soulfulness that comes from oppressed people—in this case, Tuareg musicians. DAVE SEGAL

JAZZ

Playback: Seattle Public Library Showcase
Seattle cellist and composer Lori Goldston will perform alongside Hound Dog Taylor’s Hand for the release of a series of podcasts about Seattle jazz musicians at this Seattle Public Library presentation.

ROCK/POP

Electric Guest, Wafia
The tinkling keys, shimmying beats, and creamy falsetto of ear-wormy “This Head I Hold” put Electric Guest on the map. Danger Mouse at the production helm of said track and the rest of 2012 debut Mondo gave them instant indie street cred, and the album itself proved a fine fusion of funky Motown and R&B with boppin’ synth-pop and easy-strutting Cali psychedelia. The LA band—composed of Asa Taccone and Matthew Compton, who are joined by auxiliary players when touring—is on the road again after a break, and they have a new single out, "Dollar." LEILANI POLK

TUESDAY

BLUES/COUNTRY/FOLK

HalloWEEN: An Americana Tribute to WEEN
Groove to the spooky Americana sounds of Pickup Truckers, Spare Rib & the Bluegrass Sauce, Chris Poage Band, and Pickled Okra as they cover Ween songs at this creepy and kooky dance party.

ROCK/POP

Jonathan Richman with Tommy Larkins
When I first saw a clip of Jonathan Richman performing “The Girl Stands Up to Me Now” on an old Conan O’Brien show, something inside me clicked. Every single dude I grew up with who started their own quirky band with their own weird, faux-earnest personality was really just doing bad Jonathan Richman drag. Except Richman is truly earnest, truly strange, and truly funny. He’s a fucking legend. From his music with the Modern Lovers to his solo stuff, Richman’s career spans several decades, influencing punk and everything that came after it. He’ll be joined onstage by drummer Tommy Larkins. JASMYNE KEIMIG

Tiffany Young
Pop artist Tiffany Young, a member of the hugely popular K-pop group Girls' Generation, has made big strides in launching her solo career over the last few years. Join her in Seattle on her Magnetic Moon North American Tour.

WEDNESDAY

BLUES/COUNTRY/FOLK

Egberto Gismonti
Piano and guitar virtuoso Egberto Gismonti brings out folk-music traditions from his native Brazil and blends them with his classical training. 

FUNK/REGGAE

Lee "Scratch" Perry, Subatomic Sound System
Grammy-winning dub and reggae pioneer Lee "Scratch" Perry is 83 years old and still going strong. The man has "doused tape with blood, urine, and whiskey to bring out the fidelity of the spirits within the recorded sounds. He's buried microphones under a palm tree and banged the tree as a kick drum. He also allegedly defecated on the ground of his hallowed Black Ark Studio in Kingston, Jamaica, and molded the feces into a network of symbols. Then he burned the studio to the ground because he was angry that people were bootlegging his music," as Stranger contributor Trent Moorman reminded us back in 2015. Catch what you can catch of him while you can after a set from Subatomic Sound System. 

ROCK/POP

Cat Power, Zsela
I came embarrassingly late to the Cat Power party. And it wasn’t even her old material, but 2012 album Sun, which my freshman college roommate put on after I came back from my first trip to New York. This reminded me of you, she told me as she pressed play on “Manhattan,” Chan Marshall’s ode to perhaps the most famous borough. It’s a lovely, soft, piano-driven number that twinkles blue and nostalgic. Her most recent release—2018’s Wanderer—is stripped down and centers Marshall’s textured, aching voice that conveys so much emotion. New York–based singer-songwriter Zsela, who has a similarly sorrowful voice, opens. JASMYNE KEIMIG

Claire George & Maiah Manser
Previously the frontwoman for Bay Area indie pop group Heartwatch, the now Seattle-based artist Claire George is a singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist who laces electronica together with pop to create an emotionally expansive yet diaphanous sound. She'll be joined by ex-Seattleite and ethereal chanteuse Maiah Manser, back for a hometown performance of her finely crafted noir-pop.

HTRK
Australian duo HTRK (vocalist Jonnine Standish and guitarist/producer Nigel Yang) exist at the intersection between morose post-punk and desultory yet erotic electronic music. Imagine Chris & Cosey collaborating with Au Pairs to get an idea of HTRK's gripping anti-torch songs. They're touring in support of their Venus in Leo album on Ghostly International. It’s a languorous collection of spare, boudoir-ready songs that split the difference between Everything but the Girl and Bark Psychosis—or maybe it's a 21st-century take on Roxy Music's Avalon. Whatever the case, it's a weird combo that works. DAVE SEGAL

Natasha Bedingfield
Stick your noggin through a metaphorical sunroof and scream the lyrics to "Pocketful of Sunshine" and "Unwritten" (plus new songs from her 2019 album Roll With Me) at the top of your lungs when Natasha Bedingfield comes to town.

Penelope Isles, Nolan Garrett
Brighton-based indie-rock quartet Penelope Isles will come to Seattle with their "crisp and woozy, blissful and biting" (per press materials) new album Until the Tide Creeps. 

WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY

OPERA

Cinderella
If you think opera is all bombast and tragic onstage death, the music of Gioachino Rossini will reveal the genre's capacity for outright bubbliness. Seattle Opera's Lindy Hume will take inspiration from English music hall comedy and Victorian decor for this extravagant-sounding production.

THURSDAY

DJ

Celebrity Skin
As the realm between the living and the dead opens up for All Hallows', take the opportunity to rub elbows with your favorite departed celebrities as personified by living drag queens Shartney Love and Americano. Resident DJs Freddy King of Pants and Sling Dion will spin those sexy-spooky cuts.

Queer Horror Story Halloween Party
DJs Ricki Leigh and Reece's Pieces will keep things sexy at this gender-inclusive, body-positive Halloween bash. 

FUNK/REGGAE

Doom Funk Halloween Pt. 3: High Pulp, General Mojo's, Cumbieros
Imbue your Halloween night with a side of funk and psychedelic jazz courtesy of local bands High Pulp, General Mojo's, and Cumbieros. 

Proud & Nasty
I know organ and keys wizard Michael Zabrek from his days way back in the ol’ FL of A, when he played in a heady Tampa Bay area jazz-funk band called Worldwide Zoo. More than a decade on, he’s settled in Seattle and has taken up with another fine band of a similar sonic persuasion, Proud & Nasty (with Adam Gross on drums, Scott Morning on trumpet, and Aaron Harmonsen on bass, plus select guests). They’ve been playing an ongoing Thursday night open jam at Sea Monster for a while now, during which attendees are invited to sign up and sit in on an improvised set. I’m told it’s a very good time. (Event-length YouTube videos confirm this.) This is a special Halloween costume party edition, and attendees are encouraged to dress up (there’s a costume contest and also a Silly String art contest?!) and come get down. LEILANI POLK

HIP-HOP/RAP

Danny Brown, Ashnikko, Zelooperz
Detroit’s wily, perverted young prince Danny Brown is fresh off the release of his fantastic fifth album, uknowhatimsayin¿. Featuring guests like JPEGMAFIA and Run the Jewels (as well as surprise spots by artists like Blood Orange), the album is lean but retains Brown’s keen observations without losing its sense of play and humor. There’s an old-school rambunctiousness to tracks like “3 Tearz” and “Negro Spiritual” that’s a welcome change from the moody, trap-influenced sounds that have become de rigueur nowadays. He’ll be supported by London-based anime-influence hip-hop artist Ashnikko and slick Detroit rapper Zelooperz. JASMYNE KEIMIG

KEXP & Veracity Present Hellaween
On Halloween, join killer locals Perry Porter, Cosmos the Band, and TALAYA (as well as DJ Stass THEE Boss) for some spooky all-ages revelry.

ROCK/POP

EARTH
Seattle drone-rock duo Earth will take their distortion pedals to the next level for Halloween. 

Halloween Bash with Monsterwatch, Clean Lines, Flesh Produce
From their names alone, local groups Monsterwatch and Flesh Produce were made to co-headline a bill on Halloween night. The local garage rockers and experimental noise-pop bands will be joined by glam power-pop band Clean Lines.

Tacocat Halloween with DoNormaal and Sundae Crush!
Stranger music calendar editor Kim Selling has written, “It’s been pretty dark lately, huh? Weeks (months, years…) of deeply impactful, negative news plastered everywhere you look can really drag a person down. I think we all deserve to feel lighter, more mobile, more buoyed by the season. Tacocat can raise you to that level. I’ve been attending their shows for a decade now, and I can attest to the health benefits of witnessing their neon-candy punk-pop explode through an ecstatic crowd.” Join them, along with local power cuties DoNormaal and Sundae Crush for a wild night out, and don’t forget your costume—these bands will surely be decked out in some Technicolor fantasy looks.

FRIDAY

BLUES/COUNTRY/FOLK

Reckless Kelly
Grammy-nominated Austin rockers Reckless Kelly will bust out some roots rock for a Ballard audience.

CLASSICAL

Emerald City Music: In The Dark
Following the traditions of the season, Emerald City Music will delve into the spooky with a performance of the goosebump-inducing music of George Frederick Haas set in complete darkness.

HIP-HOP/RAP

Sir Mix-a Lot & Tone Loc
You know, there's something special about a man who really loves ass. I think it reveals a lot about his character—moral rectitude, family values, unshakable faith. And that's why I'm so thankful that Seattle's patron saint of hip-hop and King of Ass, Sir Mix-A-Lot, is working a bit of his magic in Snoqualmie. Roll through to pay tribute to our own titan of PNW rap. JASMYNE KEIMIG

METAL/PUNK

Tiny Moving Parts, Fredo Disco & Standards
Midwestern indie-punk trio Tiny Moving Parts will get loud with support from Chicago's Fredo Disco and Standards. 

ROCK/POP

'80s Stranger Things Party with Prom Date Mixtape
Let '80s new wave and synth-pop tribute group Prom Date Mixtape take you back a few decades for a night of high-energy dance music this Halloween. 

Ben Zaidi
Seattle-New York musician Ben Zaidi’s music is made for the bedroom. It immediately brings to mind the early work of James Blake or Justin Vernon—minimalist, folk-leaning electronica. But on his recent release, Abandonism, Zaidi collaborated with Seattle producer Budo. Together the two created fleshier, grander sounds that were perfectly positioned for Zaidi’s craggy and haunting voice to unfurl into—"Shambles,” in particular, will make you shiver. The singer-producer will be joined by Washington-based musicians Saint Claire and Claudine Magbag. JASMYNE KEIMIG

Marika Hackman
Striking the territory somewhere amid Lucy Dacus, Charlotte Day Wilson, and Marine Girls, Marika Hackman is sleekly dry without reducing every experience to simple humor, or going so far to the end of the poetry line that you lose the authentic emotion in her work. Each of her tracks plays more like “a day in the life” rather than a diary entry, with the observer being picked up and carried along for the essential moments within each relationship vignette. Hackman’s 2015 album, We Slept at Last, comes off as much spacier, more ethereally unsure of the realities unfolding before her. In I’m Not Your Man, released via Sub Pop, Hackman comes into her own, with fewer doubts and a couple more battle scars to prove her worth.   KIM SELLING

Miami Horror
Australian alt-electronic group Miami Horror offers up lo-fi guitars, '70s-inspired drums, and sultry vocals in their newer releases. Catch them in Seattle with indie duo Argonaut & Wasp.

Nightmare at the Rink: Scott Yoder, The Whags, Fruit Juice
Burger Records' glitter-folk balladeer Scott Yoder, funky Seattle psych-pop outfits the Whags, and Fruit Juice will carry you into your second Halloween weekend with a night of live music at the Southgate Roller Rink.

Ra Ra Riot
Never ones for restraint, New York pop-punks Ra Ra Riot boast extravagant synths and heavy reverb on their latest album Superbloom, which lead singer Wes Miles describes as "an East Coast band’s vision of California."

Under Pressure: A Bowie/Queen Halloween Dream
Glam it up to the nth degree and pay tribute to two of the sexiest musical legends as BowieVision joins forces with newly minted tribute Queen Mother for an explosive post-Halloween show.

FRIDAY & SUNDAY

ROCK/POP

Frankie Cosmos
At first, I thought the pairing of Frankie Cosmos with the Laser Dome was an interesting but strange choice. That was until I heard their most recent release, Close It Quietly. The band’s fourth album is just as precious as their previous work, composed of several under-two-minute tracks, but there’s an urgency, a gusto, that wasn't present before. Lie back and let the band’s energetic, earnest songs like “41st” and “Actin’ Weird” provide a chill soundtrack for pretty lasers to dance to.  JASMYNE KEIMIG

SATURDAY

DJ

ReDRuM — A Soft Option Halloween
Douse yourself in fake blood and finery for this dance party with Soft Option DJs. You'll get the chance to win cash and VIP prizes for future parties if your costume is wild enough to impress the judges. 

ELECTRONIC

Leash, Hugo RA Paris, Opiateth, Astrament
With Newaxeyes seemingly finished (they had a great run and were for a few years the city's most interesting band), electronics manipulator/bassist Jordan Rundle has wasted no time starting a solo project. Under the alias Leash, the Seattle musician's recorded a 20-minute release. It's not too much of a departure from Newaxeyes' output, although the tracks sound less obviously sample-based than that quartet's work. The same future-facing adventurousness that marked Newaxeyes' best material surfaces here, with Rundle excelling equally at dystopian ambient auras and rugged, jagged beat-making that sometimes takes the form of truculent tech-house. As with much of the best music of the 21st century, Leash's evocative debut isn't easily categorized. DAVE SEGAL

JAZZ

The Duke Ellington Orchestra
I’m still ashamed. The Duke Ellington Orchestra played Jazz Alley years ago, and I yelled out, “‘Harlem Airshaft!’” Rude, yes. But someone on the bandstand said, “‘Harlem Airshaft,’ okay!” and the band went right into “Harlem Airshaft.” No pause. No rustling of sheet music. The band knew “Harlem Airshaft” down cold, from memory. And that’s the legacy of Duke Ellington, who used to tell his players what key a tune would be in about two seconds before giving the down beat. For the record, “Harlem Airshaft” was a slice of life, from a band and a man devoted to doling out whole pies of such stuff. ANDREW HAMLIN

Marina Christopher
Rising Seattle jazz bassist and vocalist Marina Christopher, named Best Emerging Artist by Earshot Jazz Magazine in 2017, will perform live.

Seattle Jazz Showcase: Bill Anschell Standards Trio, LaVon Hardison, Tarik Abouzied/Joe Doria/Cole Schuster
Pianist Bill Anschell and his trio (composed of bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer Byron Vannoy) will play jazz standards after LaVon Hardison and Tarik Abouzied bring the funk. In between sets, enjoy sounds from saxophonist Stuart MacDonald’s Trace Generations project.

SRJO: Jazz of the Harlem Renaissance
Let the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra take you all the way back to the musical core of the Harlem Renaissance. Expect performances of music by the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra, Fletcher Henderson, Cab Calloway, and Fats Waller, and many other genre titans, with guest vocalists Reggie Goings and Jacqueline Tabor.

METAL/PUNK

Strung Out, The Casualties, The Scoffs
Late-'80s-bred punk band Strung Out will play their hardcore melodic jams with support from the Casualties and the Scoffs. 

ROCK/POP

The Deer, Temple Canyon
With elements of dream-pop and chamber music, indie-folk outfit the Deer could easily soundtrack your annual midsummer mushroom trip (not to be confused with a Midsommar mushroom trip). The visiting Texans will stop in Seattle in support of their brand-new record Do No Harm, joined by local band Temple Canyon. 

Garage Schlock: The Sellwoods, the Primate 5, the Mants
There’s guaranteed to be no reverb indie-rock wannabe cocaine poseur-ing tonight. Instead, we’re gettin’ treated to proper trashy garage sounds of just barely in-tune Silverstone guitars and drum fills that’d make free jazzers jizz jazz freely. The Sellwoods, from PDX, are, in my opinion, the current top regional garage band, as they have a way of teeterin’ and totterin’ like they’re perfectly “tight, but loose.” As for the rest of tonight’s no-counts, Seattle’s “they’re NOT monkeying around” the Primate 5, plus a fab “bug rock invasion” care of Canada's the Mants. MIKE NIPPER

La Fonda, Cold Comfort, Talktin and Easy
Sister-led sextet La Fonda will whisk you away with their dreamy jams full of '60s "surf-esque" guitars and swoony synths.

Matt and Kim, SWMRS
Anthem-loving stadium-pop duo Matt and Kim will celebrate their 10th year making music together at this tour stop.

Power Strip EP Release Party
Local experimental band Power Strip will play angsty lullaby soundscapes off their new EP with opening support from ethereal dream-pop outfit Medejin, "motivational rock" band Rachael's Children, fuzzy melodic poppers Echo Ravine, and "29-year-old teenage lima bean" Rat Paws.

San Fermin
The composition-project-turned-actual-project from Brooklyn-based composer and songwriter Ellis Ludwig-Leone, San Fermin, is on tour behind their fourth full-length studio outing, The Cormorant I. It is art pop that is bright, airy, symphonic, and cinematic (in the dramatic and more subtle swells of strings and horns and overall instrumental texturing). The album is apparently the first of a two-album story arc following a pair of characters (male and female) from childhood to death. Don’t get caught up in the details, though. Just allow yourself to get lost in the lovely, sublime melodies. LEILANI POLK

Skating Polly, Monsterwatch, The Fame Riot
Fun-as-heck Oklahoma-bred pop-punk trio Skating Polly has collaborated with members of X, the Flaming Lips, and Beat Happening. Help them celebrate 10 years of bandhood with a night out supported by local groups Monsterwatch and the Fame Riot. 

Voycheck, Floored Faces, Shame Banger
Post-hardcore rockers Voycheck will spread their noise throughout the south end with support from fuzzy garage punks Floored Faces and Shame Banger. 

Warren Dunes, Erin Rae and the Heart Beets, Black Ends
Seattle's rock scene traditionally has been dominated by white men, but it's safe to say that two of the city's best bands are currently fronted by women of color: the Black Tones and Black Ends. Guitarist/vocalist Nicolle Swims leads Black Ends, a group—including bassist Ben Swanson and drummer Jonny Modes—who came into their own with this year's misleadingly titled EP Sellout. Swims sings like Chrissie Hynde getting down to brass (in pocket) tacks while wresting deviant guitar riffs and textures over rhythms that, unlike most rock bands', swerve in surprising ways. I've compared Black Ends to excellent bands such as Throwing Muses, Quix*o*tic, Raincoats, and Oh-OK, which is not something I do every year. Anything but predictable, Black Ends' newest song, “What,” is a horn-augmented, acoustic-guitar-powered ballad sauntering in the vicinity of Neil Young's “Old Man.” DAVE SEGAL

VARIOUS

Three Singing Sisters
In this family affair, three Salt Lake City sisters will perform a mixed genre program of Broadway classics, Neapolitan songs, opera arias, and popular music for solos, duets, and trios.

SUNDAY

HIP-HOP/RAP

Immortal Technique, Chino XL, Poison the Pen
Known for his highly political lyrics, Peruvian American hip-hop artist Immortal Technique, who first came on the scene in 2001, will come through town with fresh material on his The Middle Passage Tour. He'll be joined by Chino XL and Poison the Pen. 

JAZZ

Gary Hammon: “In Case You Didn’t Know”
Tenor saxman Gary Hammon is known for his ability to preserve the style hallmarks of the Blue Note era. Tonight he'll perform his latest work, In Case You Didn’t Know, along with pieces rooted in the jazz legacy of Seattle’s Central District.

SRJO: Jazz of the Harlem Renaissance
Let the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra take you all the way back to the musical core of the Harlem Renaissance. Expect performances of music by the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra, Fletcher Henderson, Cab Calloway, and Fats Waller, and many other genre titans, with guest vocalists Reggie Goings and Jacqueline Tabor.

ROCK/POP

Peelander-Z, The Subjunctives
Childhood nostalgia plays a big role in the manic blitzkrieg that is a Peelander-Z show. To be reductive, the Japanese group plays the kind of simple pop-punk that tends to come out of high-school practice rooms. Their stage gimmick reaches back to puberty, as well. The band performs as a color-coordinated Sentai-style superhero team—Power Rangers is the most common example of this trope in the United States. But Peelander-Z’s live show is no joke. In addition to choreographed theatrics, they play with reckless abandon, sometimes hurting themselves while jumping from amplifiers or second-story balconies. JOSEPH SCHAEFER

(Sandy) Alex G, Tomberlin, Slow Pulp
A prolific young songwriter builds a following on Bandcamp and indie-rock “fame” swiftly follows. That’s more or less the trajectory of (Sandy) Alex G, 26-year-old Domino signee Alex Giannascoli, who’s put out records at a frightening rate since his teens. His story recalls that of Car Seat Headrest, the local KEXP darling and favorite of rock fans who want to party like it’s 1987. Giannascoli’s music is also a throwback, sure—it’s hard not to be when we’re talking dudes with guitars in 2019—but his doglegged song structures, offbeat production choices, and reticence to explain the meaning of his often elliptical lyrics make his work come off as a personal document instead of an homage. ANDREW GOSPE

Subhumans, Neighboring Brats, Bad Breeding, Coffin Break
Forty years on, England’s Subhumans are still bashing out their killer, and classic, political hardcore jams. This tour is in support of their recent LP, Crisis Point, in which they once again hit us with some spot-on punk vitriol. Tagging along for tonight’s action is California’s Neighboring Brats, who play cool, sing-along-able, um, SoCal HC anthems, while the UK’s Bad Breeding shred killer progressive dirges and hardcore. Also, I reckon I oughta remind y’all to get there early so’s to catch the always exciting punk rock from local punks Coffin Break. MIKE NIPPER

Swervedriver, Milly
British alt-rock band Swervedriver (definitely not to be confused with the British neo-Nazi band Screwdriver), who formed in the shoegaze-rich region of Thames Valley in the '90s, will head up a nostalgic show in Columbia City after an opening set from LA-base lo-fi rocker Milly.