This week, our music critics have picked everything from the first annual Depression Fest to Brandi Carlile with Seattle Symphony to Waxahatchee. 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 & culture critics' picks for the 63 best things to do this week.
Jump to: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday



Mat Kearney
Ubiquitous pop-crafter Mat Kearney will bring his iTunes commercial-ready tracks to Seattle on this acoustic tour, which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his breakout album, City of Black & White.

Omni, Guests
Atlanta-based rock trio (and newly minted Sub Pop signees) Omni "sells its nervous energy as a logical way of dealing with the world," as Pitchfork has it. Jump around the anxious riffs of their new album, Enter Networker, at this tour stop with locals Clarko and Don Forgetti.


As I Lay Dying, After The Burial, Emmure
On their first tour after the 2013 arrest of their former lead singer, Tim Lambesis, San Diego metal band As I Lay Dying will come to Seattle to thrash with Minnesota's After the Burial and New York's Emmure.



Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward
Innovative writer and bandleader Charlie Hunter is widely considered an authority on the seven- and eight-string guitar, and will showcase his practiced abilities with his frequent collaborator Lucy Woodward in a live set.

Kenny G with the Seattle Symphony
Seattle son (and Franklin High graduate) Kenny G will return for a performance showcasing his smooth sax jazz that has managed to stay consistently popular since 1986.


Deck the Hall Ball
I have a confession: I love the 1975. I know the English group’s style is just two steps away from being unabashed boy-band pop music, but, FUCK, it works so well. “Love Me”? A great meditation on vanity and superstardom. “TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME”? I think about the line “You text that boy sometimes” every day. “Girls”? It’s pure, unadulterated pop. Lead singer Matt Healy’s litheness and cheeky, confessional lyrics give the band a surprisingly harder edge than you’d expect. And I love it. For this holiday bill presented by Seattle mainstream alt rock staple 107.7 The End, they’ll be sharing the stage with the likes of Seattle’s own the Head and the Heart and Chong the Nomad, along with Wales-brewed Catfish and the Bottlemen, Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men, and the Regrettes from LA. JASMYNE KEIMIG

DIIV, Froth
A Brooklyn band with an irritatingly obtuse name, reverb-soaked garage guitars, an (allegedly) druggy frontman, and a pleasantly retro sound that could comfortably be named by pretty much any word followed by—gaze? No thanks, we’ve got plenty. Until their new single “Dopamine” dropped: this is the nice-guy, melodic, Real Estate jangle shit we need from modern indie rock. It’s the opposite of original, but damn if it doesn’t shimmy its way across the stereo field like the perfect love child of My Bloody Valentine’s “Strawberry Wine” and Interpol’s finest work (that bass line!) It’s a hell of a track, and sometimes that’s all it takes.  KYLE FLECK

The Make-Up
After officially reuniting in 2012, Washington, DC–based post-punk outfit the Make-Up are embarking on a tour across the country. Having released four albums in the 1990s, their music is a curious blend of gospel, garage, and yé-yé pop genres that all somehow jell together to create raucous, joyous music. Whether it’s parsing through desire by talking about which shape they are in “I Am Pentagon,” or offering up hysterically rambling paranoid theories about “them” in “They Live By Night,” the Make-Up are unlike any other band out there. They are also known for wild and energetic live performances, so go and be prepared to move! JASMYNE KEIMIG

Rain Phoenix, Guests
It shouldn't come as a surprise that the sister of River and Joaquin Phoenix has music and acting chops. Join her on this tour stop in support of her latest album, River, which pays tribute to her older brother on the 26th anniversary of his death. 



Mary Chapin Carpenter & Shawn Colvin: Together on Stage
Grammy-winning country singers Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin will team up for an acoustic tour. 


Angel Olsen, Vagabon
While Angel Olsen’s fantastic third album, MY WOMAN, explored the poppier side of her folk sensibility, All Mirrors finds the singer-songwriter in a bit more of a grandiose state of mind. Where her earlier work offered the sparest sketch of a composition, on this record, Olsen’s distinctive, soaring voice is backed by a 13-piece chamber orchestra of strings and woodwinds. She actually wrote a majority of the songs in Anacortes, isolating herself to get at the meat of the songwriting process. The result is a record that has Olsen’s signature takes on love and vulnerability, but with all the drama of an evening at the symphony. JASMYNE KEIMIG

From Indian Lakes, Queen of Jeans
New York-based DIY dream-pop artist From Indian Lakes (aka Joey Vannucchi) will stop in Seattle with the wavy psychedelic sounds of his new album, Dimly Lit. He'll be joined by Philly indie-popper Queen of Jeans. 


CeCe Winans
CeCe Winans is the award-winning, best-selling, be-all, end-all of gospel music. Witness her wealth of knowledge and talent at this performance that will feature both her solo work and her duet pieces with her brother BeBe.



Average White Band
The Average White Band are indubitably remembered as mid-1970s, AM-radio, horn-rock hit makers of the highest order of the FUNK! I'd reckon their jams are what folks would now, as they did then, consider a proper dance-party soundtrack! Well, Average White Band have a Seattle residency, and they've promised to be honkin' their horns as funky as they ever did. So, y'all, it's time to dig out your patchwork denim leisure suit, press your flares, and polish up your platforms, 'cause it's about time to get down and "Pick Up the Pieces"! MIKE NIPPER



Fabio Frizzi: Frizzi 2 Fulci
Among the horror-soundtrack and library-music cognoscenti, Italy’s Fabio Frizzi stands among the greatest composers of these genres, which have experienced rejuvenated popularity in the last decade. From the ’70s through the ’90s, he collaborated often with horror-film director Lucio Fulci, who’s regarded as one of the geniuses of cinematic gore. For this performance, Frizzi and his band will re-create the wide-ranging music he composed for Fulci’s harrowing movies (e.g., Zombi 2, The Beyond, and Manhattan Baby) while images from them flash behind the players. Expect florid melodic flourishes, intensely suspenseful and chthonic passages, and pulse-pounding rhythms, as well as tales about Frizzi’s experiences with the great filmmaker. DAVE SEGAL


Corbin Louis Album Release Party
Touting a blend of indie grunge and SoundCloud rap, self-described "performance poet" Corbin Louis will headline at the release party for his new album, Let's Share a Bullet, with support from local hip-hop artists La and Entendres, with Will Greenberg on the decks in between sets.


Brokeback, L.A. Takedown, Diminished Men
If you dig Tortoise—and how could you not?—you should probably find some space in your precious schedule for Brokeback, the long-running side project of Tortoise bassist Douglas McCombs. (He also plays with the Sea and Cake, Pullman, and Eleventh Dream Day.) Brokeback’s latest album, 2017’s Illinois River Valley Blues, follows in the vein of their other releases: lyrical rock instrumentals that recall Tortoise at their most pensive and pastoral. Brokeback are masters of subdued, melancholy beauty, and McCombs is backed by some great musicians: Tweedy and Steve Gunn collaborator James Elkington on guitar, drummer Areif Sless-Kitain of the Eternals, and bassist Pete Croke of Exit Verse. DAVE SEGAL

Electro-pop act Ladytron first broke out of the Liverpool scene in 1998 with a sound that evoked '70s synth and '80s new wave, and an eye towards the future. They've dipped in and out of the public consciousness over the last two decades, and have recently popped back up with a new tour and their self-titled sixth full-length album.

Say Sue Me, Zebra Hunt
Can South Koreans rock? Well, Say Sue Me sure can. Through some bizarre cultural osmosis, the Busan-based trio sound like a surf-rock group who grew up on ’80s UK independent-label pop groups such as Shop Assistants and Talulah Gosh. Even if you don’t know who those vivacious bands are, you can easily slide into Say Sue Me’s slipstream of buzzy guitars, adorable vocals by Choi Sumi, and candied melodies. Plus, they do a slowed-down, blissed-out cover of Blondie’s “Dreaming” and a spiky version of the Velvet Underground’s “Beginning to See the Light.” DAVE SEGAL


Lee Fields & the Expressions
Elmer Lee Fields has been doing this music thing since 1968 and doesn't plan on stopping. The 68-year-old singer has been nicknamed “Little JB” for his resemblance (physical and vocal) to James Brown, even providing additional vocals for that icon’s biographical movie Get On Up. Fields has been working and touring with the Expressions since 2009, bringing his blend of R&B and soul around the country and world. Songs like “It Rains Love” and “Don’t Give Up” have an old-school, soulful quality, but are just as applicable to real life today. JASMYNE KEIMIG


Depression Fest
Ruben Mendez and Abigail Swanson have a plan to vanquish your funk. They've organized Depression Fest, which gathers together eight musical acts and six writers at Fred Wildlife Refuge with the goal of lifting your spirits at one of the most difficult times of the year for those dealing with the titular affliction. Hell, on top of the multitude of other factors causing dejection among sensitive people, even December's damnable repetition of Christmas jingles makes you want to stop going outside. So this is a magnanimous gesture on the part of Mendez (who plays guitar in the flamboyant electro-punk group DYED) and Swanson (a poet who's in the group Belva). The multimedia extravaganza will also raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. DAVE SEGAL



Ganja White Night, Boogie T, Jantsen, SubDocta
Often seen on the lineups of giant EDM fests like Lucky and Deadbeats, Belgian bass duo Ganja White Night will perform tracks with their unique "Wobble" sound.


Moon Hooch
Moon Hooch will change the way you feel about saxophones—assuming you have a problem with that smooth, smooth alto or tenor sax sound that creams up a song. (See: “Careless Whisper,” “Smooth Operator,” and anything by Kenny G.) Brooklyn trio Moon Hooch are fueled by two sax players (accompanied by a drummer), and while their arsenal includes tenors, it also features soprano, bass, and baritone saxophones, as well as contrabass clarinet, synthesizers, and electro wind instruments of their own devising. And they wield their woodwinds so far from traditional standards that you often can’t tell that a sax is being blown at all. They incorporate gadgets and pedals and deliver muscular instrumental compositions that are somehow both vaguely jazzy and dance oriented (I’ve seen their style referred to as “brass house” and that’s not a far off). Human Ottoman and Ayo Dot & the Uppercuts warm up the Thursday date of this two-night stand; Biddidat and Swindler get the honors on Friday. LEILANI POLK



Noise Complaint: Blond:ish
If the words “Burning Man,” “Ibiza,” and “Tomorrowland” resonate with you, then you should check out Barcelona’s Blond:ish (aka DJ/producer/remixer Vivie-Ann Bakos). Besides her musical accomplishments in clubland, Bakos is a catalyst in the “sustainable raving” movement. After she makes hedonists dance to her lush, festive house music on the beaches of Europe, she helps to clean them. Somehow amid all that activity, Bakos also found time to remix tracks by Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti and… Foreigner. DAVE SEGAL


Lola Kirke
Singer, songwriter, guitarist, and actress Lola Kirke will show off her quadruple threat prowess at her second Seattle show, with support from Odetta Hartman.


Ryan Caraveo
Slightly brotastic, but not egregiously so, Ryan Caraveo puts words together in a fashion that sounds confident and cool. LARRY MIZELL JR.


Alex Cameron
Taking on the persona of a failed, insecure entertainer, Australian lounge lizard Alex Cameron adds a sheen of insincerity to his 1980s-inspired songs, like “Candy May,” that makes them all the more fun to listen to. I see his music as forming a perfect complement to that of Lana Del Rey’s—there’s a certain lust for time in American history and culture that’s communicated through a layer of sleaze. But his most recent record, Miami Memory, finds Cameron taking a stab at sincerity. One line: “Eating your ass like an oyster / The way you came like a tsunami.” I’d take that sincerity with a grain of salt. JASMYNE KEIMIG

KEXP Presents: The Ballard Family X-Mas with The Moondoggies, Widower, Dumb Thumbs
Northwest indie rock and folk-pop stalwarts the Moondoggies will join forces with Widower, Dumb Thumbs, and members of the Maldives for a family band-style Christmas show.

Lemolo, Sisters, Mind of Joy
Music in this nightmare era is such a multiverse that it’s plausible for a band to be both popular and obscure, celebrated and underrated, to have a loyal hometown audience and for loads of people to have never heard or even heard of them. (It’s also, therefore, possible for a person to believe things like the above are true while being utterly wrong.) Lemolo strike me as that kind of band. I’ve never seen them play to a less than packed room, or ever sound less than great—woozy, dreamy textures under strong, luculent vocals—and yet, they still have an air of undiscoveredness about them. Maybe underdiscoveredness? SEAN NELSON

The Nightmare Before Christmas ft. Beverly Crusher and Dearheart
High energy riff-lovers Beverly Crusher, local post-emo quartet Dearheart, and punky five-piece Actionesse will bring you freaky Creepmas™ vibes. 



Brandi Carlile with Seattle Symphony, the Secret Sisters
The experience of listening to Brandi Carlile's 2018 album, By the Way, I Forgive You, is similar to that of listening to Carole King's Tapestry or Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks; it's a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, and a lot of hard truths about the human race. Carlile's talents lie in her tone, a dusky alto that swims around confessions of heartbreak and lifelong efforts to love and be loved, with the deftness of a much more senior troubadour. She'll be joined in this performance of her recent works by the Seattle Symphony, with an opening set by Americana singer-songwriter duo the Secret Sisters. KIM SELLING



Hot Buttered Rum, Guests
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.


Crack Sabbath, Specswizard
The self-proclaimed "gods of Seattle's underground grunge jazz scene," Crack Sabbath features the work of industrial and free jazz impresarios Skerik and Ron Weinstein, with help from Specswizard.


The Dream Syndicate, Eyelids
One of the most important groups of the so-called Paisley Underground, the Dream Syndicate burst out of the gate with a classic, Velvet Underground–indebted LP, The Days of Wine and Roses (1982), and a robust follow-up, Medicine Show (1984). Guitarist/vocalist Steve Wynn and company released two more albums that decade and then laid low for almost 30 years, returning in 2017 with a strong comeback record, How Did I Find Myself Here? and this year’s These Times. They may not be freaking out as noisily on these recordings as they did in the 1980s, but the Dream Syndicate remain compelling songwriters who rock smartly. If their 2014 Bumbershoot appearance is any indication, they can still scorch live, too. DAVE SEGAL

Live From Our Living Room ft. Waxahatchee, Owen, & Blushh
Waxahatchee is the project of Alabama singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield, whose indie-rock style has a vaguely Liz Phair Exile in Guyville feel, while her lo-fi experimental-folk leanings are entirely of her own appeal. She and her band (which includes twin sister Allison on keys and percussion) are leaning harder into the former on their second Merge release and fourth overall, Out in the Storm, which has a more full-bodied sound than past efforts and added gritty-melodic 1990s guitar textures, and was produced by John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth). LEILANI POLK

Marco Benevento, the Mattson 2
Marco Benevento hasn’t been active as part of the Benevento/Russo Duo in a long time. Both he and his longtime friend/bandmate Joe Russo have been busy doing their own thangs, though those thangs frequently line up. Benevento is a member of the insanely popular Grateful Dead tribute act Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, amid various other gigs, including rotating membership in post-jazz outfit Garage a Trois, and a steady and prolific outpouring of solo material, which showcase his continued evolution and explorations as a virtuosic keys man juggling a range of sound-making devices (Hammond organ, Wurlitzer electric piano, synthesizers and pedalboards and pickups of varying sorts, children’s toys, etc.). Now he’s landing in town behind his rather fine seventh studio LP, Let It Slide. He’s described its interplay of grit, grooves, and lo-fi melodies as “hot dance piano rock,” with particular highlights in the whistling and snapping “Say It's All the Same” and the dark, heady grooving “Humanz.” LEILANI POLK

The Pineapple Thief with Gavin Harrison
Catch '90s-formed southern English prog-rock legends the Pineapple Thief with King Crimson's Gavin Harrison. 



Julia Nunes, Elizabeth and the Catapult, Chase Burnett
People might scoff at YouTube fame, but in the case of Julia Nunes (and countless others), it not only pays the bills but has allowed her to crowdsource funds for her last three albums via fruitful Kickstarter campaigns. While she’s not banking millions, enough people have been paying attention that she can enjoy a career as a working musician, singing in sleekly pleasant lower intones and flexing her instrumental chops (she plays the ukulele, guitar, melodica, and piano). She has a new six-track EP, UGHWOW, which is led by the out-of-love synth pop scorcher “Used to Want.” LEILANI POLK

X (Nights 1 & 2)
They were contemporaries of SoCal punk bands like the Germs and Black Flag, but X’s relevance and influence can still be heard draped across the sounds of the rock underground. I reckon you could say, even as their music is deeply rooted in, well, roots rock, at this point they MIGHT be considered roots rock themselves. And don’t forget they were/are universally loved by the nerdy college kids, punks, AND the goths. I bet it’s safe to say 1970s Exene is prolly still an archetype. Uh, now that I think about it, a two-day party might not be enough. MIKE NIPPER