This week, our music critics have picked everything from JusMoni to Manatee Commune to Thunderpussy. 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, get prepped for the end of the year with our New Year's Eve calendar.
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Fleetwood Snack, Lindseys, Malcolm Rebel, xRAWRx, Televangelish
Local dark ambient project Fleetwood Snack combine strange samples with drone effects to create chopped 'n' screwed soundscapes. Join them for their album release show with fellow local bands Lindseys, Malcolm Rebel, xRAWRx, and Televangelish.
Close your eyes and think of a manatee commune. What do you imagine? Manatees in brightly patterned button-ups, for sure. Definitely a kitchen stocked with jars of dried fair-trade sea algae. And in this commune, what do you think they listen to? In an ideal world, it would be the music of classically trained, multi-instrumentalist Grant Eadie’s electronic project Manatee Commune. Bright and ebullient, Eadie combines field recordings, sounds from nature, guitar licks, and viola melodies to create his productions. His tracks have a playfulness about them that makes them perfect for dance floors and communes alike. JASMYNE KEIMIG
The Polish Ambassador, Random Rab
Electronic-music producer David Sugalski, aka the Polish Ambassador, hails from the Bay Area. And while he may not be an official diplomat, he does bring together the sounds of hip-hop, dub, and funk with electro, breaks, lounge, and glitch to create dance-music harmony—hip-shaking and head-bob-inducing jams that are bright and fun like Sugalski's trademark neon jumpsuits. Sugalski executes live sound mixing at his concerts, using a combination of computers and MIDI instruments to reproduce tracks. LEILANI POLK
Straight No Chaser
Straight No Chaser take their name from a Thelonious Monk blues song divided not into three four-measure segments, but two six-measure sections, because Monk couldn't do anything the normal way, heaven cherish him. So Straight No Chaser are well-versed in not doing things the conventional way themselves. But they're not afraid to throw in a medley of boy-band classics, spiked with Britney Spears for flavor. They're also famous for the "12 Days of Christmas" video bit that landed in 1998, and, as of the afternoon I'm typing this, has tallied 23,120,103 views. So they're a little white bread and they make all the percussion noises with their lips, which pisses off some people, but they're talented, choreographed, and cute. Also, hey, Britney Spears. ANDREW HAMLIN
Remembering Art Neville and Dr. John
Two behemoths of New Orleans music and venerable keysmen who passed away in 2019 get a loving tribute on this night. There will never be another artist like voodoo blues rocking, R&B rolling Dr. John, an avant soul with a grizzly distinctive vocal and wide-ranging résumé that included a vast solo repertoire, collabs with the likes of Ringo Starr and Leon Redbone (who also passed in 2019), and even the theme song of the Curious George TV series. Art Neville changed the face of NOLA jazz and R&B, helping usher in the funk with his siblings-led band, the Meters, which are credited (along with James Brown) with being one of the genre’s founders. The Dr. John set will feature Jeff Fielder and Andy Stoller, while Art Neville’s set will be helmed by the Meter Maids (Wayne Horvitz, Mike Stone, Jeff Fielder, and Gerald Turner). LEILANI POLK
Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band
Playing two nights at Jazz Alley, the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band offer plenty of chances for you to shimmy and shake to their warm, slinky, percussive-fueled rhythms. Mexican American namesake Sanchez has been rapping, tapping, and slapping congas for crowds since he played his first ever set in the mid-1970s with renowned vibraphonist Cal Tjader, with whom he played until Tjader's death in 1982. Sanchez went on to release more than 30 albums as a solo conguero (backed by a full band that currently includes players on timbales, bass, trumpet, sax, trombone, bongos, and piano), and has built on his Latin-jazzy sound with elements of R&B, soul, cha-cha, and salsa music. LEILANI POLK
New Year's Eve with Curtis Salgado
Original Blues Brother Curtis Salgado will break out a solo performance of his lifetime of blues curation in honor of New Year's Eve.
New Year's Eve Gala: Charpentier
If you don’t want to spend New Year’s Day puking into your own hands, consider spending the evening listening to the St. James Cathedral Cantorei and Chamber Orchestra bust out some heart-cracking Marc-Antoine Charpentier, including Te Deum and Messe de Minuit pour Noël. Dr. Paul Thornock will conduct the choir and Joseph Adam is on the pipes. RICH SMITH
Noise Complaint - 2020: A New Year's Space Odyssey
Party crew Noise Complaint will take a whole club of people on an intergalactic and interactive journey through space and time this New Year's Eve, with 10 DJs—including Walker & Royce, Gold Chisme, HHerb, and Jaderade—spread across multiple stages keeping you in step and gliding along to the appropriately corresponding solar system visuals. KIM SELLING
NYE Dance Party with the Rev. Dr. DJ Riz Rollins
Spend the last night of the year with party people Riz Rollins and EmpRoar, who will be manning the decks until the new decade hits. You can also look forward to a midnight champagne toast and a plant-based menu.
Resolution is an annual end-of-the-year electronic music bash that gathers extremely popular and mainstream EDM and nü-rave artists into an arena-like space and unleashes their energy onto a throng of writhing young adults. This year's lineup includes massive figures in the scene like Adventure Club, Knife Party, Madeon, Tchami X Malaa, and many more. KIM SELLING
I don’t mean to be a fatalist here, but the spots of downtown and SLU-adjacent areas we know and love will not last forever, thanks to hungry ghost developers and rapidly expanding corporate campus tumors. For this reason, among many others, Kremwerk and Timbre Room (and Re-bar around the corner) should be supported at all costs. So even if the complex’s fifth annual NYE throwdown SHINE weren’t one of your best bets for dance music billing on the biggest party night of the year, I’d still tell you to get your ass to Minor Avenue. The venue’s three stages will be stacked with everything from upbeat house to dark techno to unrepentant disco and acid camp club music, with deck pros like Dowsk, Ennelyn, Faraday, Parker Mills, and Neight1000 at the helm till five in the goddamn morning. Make sure to get an early AM slice from Little Maria’s to round out the experience. KIM SELLING
U.S.E., Aqueduct, 52Kings
In the '00s, the 14-legged love machine that was U.S.E seemed to be on the verge of superstardom. The Seattle group's absurdly ebullient dance music was huge in Japan and had important American critics ululating with hyperbole. Indie-rock fans and electronic-music heads united in their admiration for U.S.E, whose members conjured a euphoria so overwhelming, they almost had a benevolent, cultish aura about them. Aural and lyrical love was U.S.E's drug, and people needed to score. DAVE SEGAL
New Year's Eve Bash: The Commodores
One of the most renowned Motown and R&B/funk artists of all time delivers a free concert to ring in 2020. The band is a brand unto itself, going strong for over 50 years, with seven No. 1 songs, and over 70 million albums sold.
New Year's Eve with the Motet
Colorado-based progressive funk group the Motet will be joined in their Afrobeat ecstasy by special guests at this bombastic New Year's Eve celebration.
New Year's Eve: Pandemonium
Melissa Madden Gray is the NYC-by-way-of-Australia actress, singer, and kamikaze/alt cabaret artist otherwise known as Meow Meow. She’s gained a bit of acclaim in the U.S. via her collabs with Thomas M Lauderdale (of Portland’s little big band orchestra, Pink Martini), and is worthy of your NYE attention; she has a deep, rich, slightly husky vocal quality and an elegant vibrato that soars or slinks over lush cabaret numbers. The subversive diva joins Seattle Symphony for this very special, not at all traditional but entirely cheerful program of “perfectly constructed mayhem and madness.” The post-concert party includes a glass of champagne, another live performance, and dancing to the midnight countdown and beyond. LEILANI POLK
New Year's Party with Lushy
If you want to usher in 2020 with a swanky swagger and classy clinks of cocktail glasses, head to the Musicquarium, where Seattle mainstays Lushy will commandeer the stage with aplomb. Fronted by the delightfully versatile vocalist/percussionist Annabella Kirby, Lushy possess a chameleonic charm, bringing sophisticated grooviness to rock, pop, bossa nova, exotica, and new wave with an array of originals and covers that can fill a dance floor. I recently caught Lushy at Vito’s and they inspired a gaggle of middle-aged folks to bust vigorous moves. It was cute—and kind of shocking. DAVE SEGAL
Artist Home 8th Annual NYE Celebration
For the eighth year running, Artist Home, the Seattle-based talent-buying, event-promoting, and artist-consulting collective, will host a New Year's Eve bash featuring artists with whom they've worked. Dance your way into 2020 with live sets from members of Seattle bands across the rock, soul, folk, and pop genre spectrums, including Naked Giants, Pickwick, Prom Queen, Smokey Brights, Hobosexual, Eva Walker, Fly Moon Royalty, Gypsy Temple, NightraiN, Gibraltar, Warren Dunes, Local Liars, Tekla Waterfield, Sarah Gerritsen, Hotels, Tea Cozies, Witch Trip, Invisible Shivers, the Environment, Helen Chance, King Youngblood, Glass Elevator, and Leah T. KIM SELLING
Thunderpussy, Bear Axe, Constant Lovers, Trash Fire
The Showbox is doing it right this year! Not only is this bill a powerhouse of badass shredders, but the range of subgenres performing makes for an eclectic electricity of elation to kick in the jams for 2020. Trash Fire will light the party fuse with their dark-pulsing electro. Constant Lovers will flambé the stage with their angular, art punk as fronted by the animated Joe Cuplin. Bear Axe will absolutely slay harder than a thousand, steel-hoofed reindeer. And there’s no better way to usher in (hopefully) another year closer to shredding the patriarchy than with the mellifluous matriarchs of Thunderpussy. ZACH FRIMMEL
The Pharcyde, Grayskul, All Star Opera, DJ Indica Jones
I can’t think of a much better way to ring in the New Year, and then celebrate the first day of its existence, than with venerable 1990s-era-spawned alt hip-hop group the Pharcyde. While gangsta rap was taking off, the South Central Los Angeles group was fusing jazz into their productions and releasing a debut LP that went gold on the strength of its second single (and the song by them you know), “Passin’ Me By,” which so famously copped the instrumental organ-driven groove of “Summer in the City” by Quincy Jones along with several other tracks, including Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Are You Experienced?” and “125th Street Congress” by Weather Report. Nowadays, only two of the original four members are touring under the Pharcyde moniker, rappers Imani and Bootie Brown (both have vaguely nasally vocal qualities), and on NYE, they’ll be joined by Seattle hip-hop duo Grayskul, DJ Indica Jones, and soulful hip-hop live band All Star Opera. Everyone except for All Star Opera will be on hand for the New Year’s Day bill. LEILANI POLK
The Breakfast Club - New Years Day 2020 with John Tejada
Kudos to anyone with the energy to hit up this after-after-party on New Year's Day, with a special headlining set by Pokerflat notable John Tejada and support sets from Tara Brooks, Mary Droppinz, DAve Pezzner, Jay Tripwire, LGSP with Annabelle Lea, Nordic Soul, Kinjo B2B Konifer, Snapdragon, Ramiro, Levi Clark, Claudia Martinez, Unknown ?layer, Ailio, Tek Jones, Red Star, Julie Herrera, Jon Lee B2B Wesley Holmes, Recess, and Meow Pals, with the hosting talents of Arson Nicki.
JusMoni, Tiffany Gouché, Nappy Nina, Nisha
Combining smooth electro-funk beats with sweet-as-sugar vocals, Seattle’s JusMoni (aka Moni Tep) knows how to set the mood. On 2018’s Sweet to Me, her voice—honeyed and ethereal—transports you to another dimension on spacey, bass-heavy “Linked In.” And on “Got It on Tape” featuring Stas THEE Boss, JusMoni’s voice floats like smoke over a tight electric guitar while Stas raps deftly over the retro beat. Earlier this year, she released a three song EP, Ease & Mercy, which is just as vibey and chill. JusMoni will be joined by Los Angeles–based futuristic R&B singer Tiffany Gouché, Brooklyn-based MC Nappy Nina, and LA singer-songwriter/hip-hop artist Nisha. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Steely Dan were one of the smartest bands to consistently rack up platinum records. They got away with singing blisteringly acerbic lyrics and executing complex key changes and tricky time signatures while accruing crazy air time on commercial radio, back when that meant something. So a band dedicated to paying tribute to Steely Dan has to be sharper than your typical homage outfit. Nearly Dan's 12 members (who've played with Ray Charles, the Four Tops, the Temptations, Gladys Knight, and, most importantly, Huey Lewis) are up to the task, interpreting the hits and deep cuts with a professionalism that would impress Donald Fagen and the late Walter Becker's accountants. DAVE SEGAL
TK & the Holy Know-Nothings
Arguably OK, the debut LP from Taylor Kingman and his Portland band, the Holy Know-Nothings, possesses a gruff kind of poise, thanks to Kingman’s smart, relentlessly honest songwriting. Throughout the record, Kingman’s strengths as a songwriter transform otherwise traditional country scorchers into something more rebellious, fragmented, and poetic. Arguably OK is a fitting companion to your Haggard, Jennings, and Van Zandt records. And although the myth of the outlaw poet has waned in the new century, songwriters like Kingman prove that same gritty spirit is still around, just waiting for someone to embody it. RYAN J. PRADO
Tenth Aesthetic: Dean Grenier
Flying Fish Cove, Quilts, Joe Waine
Local indie poppers Flying Fish Cove will play their dreamy tracks with support sets by Quilts and Joe Waine.
Mark Hummel's Blues Harmonica Blowout
Mark Hummel is a harp man who started playing in 1970, has been featured on more than 30 recordings (including 2013 Grammy-nominated Blind Pig cut “Remembering Little Walter”), and has led his band, the Blues Survivors, since 1976 amid juggling sideman gigs in the studio and on the road. He’ll drop a new album shortly after he lands in Seattle, Mark Hummel’s Wayback Machine, in which he explores the Bluebird Records sound of the 1930s and ’40s. You’ll likely hear cuts off Wayback Machine at the 29th annual edition of his touring blowout, which started with four harmonica players led by Hummel, and is now a who’s who of mouth organ talent. The “Superstars of Blues” who’ll be joining him are Magic Dick (original harp man from the J. Geils Band, currently touring with guitarist and singer Shun Ng), Lee Oskar (founding member of War, currently a member of the Lowrider Band), and Jerry Portnoy (Muddy Waters Blues Band, Eric Clapton). They’ll be backed by Hummel and his Blues Survivors (Bob Welsh on piano and guitar, drummer Wes Starr, and bassist RW Grigsby), plus guitarist Duke Robillard (Roomful of Blues founder, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Bob Dylan). LEILANI POLK
Seventh Annual Big Ass Boom Box Festival
Early January is the live-music doldrums, so this free mini-festival of local bands, now in its seventh year, is a welcome respite. The lineup—which includes U.S.E., La Fonda, Powerbleeder, Moon Darling, Racoma, Güero Brown, Alicia Amiri, Antonioni, Bad Saint, and others—is sure to please those seeking local rock and electronic music as usual.
The Four Seasons
An exploration of color and beauty, Vivaldi's masterwork The Four Seasons will be paired with the uptempo The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by renowned Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla.
The Paperboys will blend the Mexican folk style of son jarocho with Irish jigs and bluegrass for a truly genre-bending musical experience.
3rd Annual Mamma Mia!
Shimmy and shake to the biggest, sparkliest hits of the '70s, with a special feature of tracks from the ABBA discography, thanks to DJ Disco Vinnie.
Cashmere Cat has made great hay of his signature sound—chiming software bells, harps, and flutes atop contorted digital rap beats—collaborating with pop stars like Ariana Grande and the Weeknd. ANDREW GOSPE
Peyote Ugly, Velvet Q, Dot Comet
Space out to synth-psych trio Peyote Ugly's trippy jams after sets from Velvet Q and Dot Comet.
Young Scientist, Marc Barreca
Young Scientist likely haven’t played a Seattle date since Ronald Reagan’s first term, so this is a big deal. The original lineup featured Marc Barreca, James Husted, and Roland Barker (who later went on to play with Ministry), and they formed this city’s first electronic-music group. They released the astounding Results, Not Answers in 1979, which German label Bureau B blessedly reissued this year. It’s the closest anyone from here in the last century ever got to the kosmische atmospherics of Harmonia, Klaus Schulze, and mid-’70s Tangerine Dream. Seek out “Brainless” for an extended journey to the center of a burning cortex. It’s such a transporting blend of eerie, icy drones and pulse-pounding arpeggiations. Let’s hope Young Scientist—who’ll be wielding modular synths and computers—can summon that same magic, this time without Barker. Barreca will also be supporting his great new ambient opus, From the Gray and the Green. DAVE SEGAL
Beartooth, Motionless in White
Hardcore punk group Beartooth will journey from Columbus on this joint tour with Motionless in White.
Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven, Buffalo Jones
It’s the annual stop of nasally, craggy-voiced singer, songwriter, and guitarist David Lowery with his two bands. One is influential DIY garage/alt rock makers Camper Van Beethoven, which formed in 1983, featured members on harmonica and fiddle, and drew heavily on elements of folk and roots rock, punk, jangle pop, ska, and world music in an era when most other like bands generally remained within favored genre ranges. The other is twangy post-grunge alt rock side project Cracker, which Lowery formed in 1990 with guitarist John Hickman. (Remember “Low”? The video has Lowery losing a boxing match to Sandra Bernhard.) Cracker became his full-time gig when Camper V broke up later that year, though a reunion happened in 1999, and Lowery has juggled duties in both ever since. No new records from either group since 2014, though Lowery has 18 LPs' worth of material between the two, so they’ll have plenty to bust out in Seattle. LEILANI POLK
UbuludU, Psnake, Hound Dog Taylor's Hand
Always a solid bet for killer shows up north, Darrell’s Tavern is hosting what looks to be a night of heavy cerebral jams! Openers Psnake deliver noisy, rockin’ indie rock while Hound Dog Taylor’s Hand are enigmatic instrumentalists who often employ improvised madness to drift in and out of sonic chaos. BTW, HDTH is former Yardbirds guitar player Jimmy Page’s favorite local band. Headliners UbuludU serve up self-described “power fusion,” a fair assessment, as I hear something like a later-1990s-style instrumental band; they’re sorta metal and sorta prog with hopes of aural expansion!! MIKE NIPPER
Seattle musician Rylie, mostly known up until now for being Chris DeGarmo's daughter, will debut tracks from her new pop record.