This week, our music critics have picked everything from the the
Emerald City Soul Club 14th Annual Rare Soul Weekender to
Jesca Hoop to
Young Thug. 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
64 best things to do this week.
The Midnight Hour
Ali Shaheed Muhammad is the hip-hop DJ, producer, and rapper you know best from his membership in A Tribe Called Quest. Adrian Younge is the multi-instrumentalist arranger and producer behind expansive, funk and Morricone-saturated sounds, both as a solo artist and backing up Ghostface Killah and Bilal, among others. They first collaborated on scoring and soundtracking Netflix’s dark superhero series Luke Cage. It was tight as shit. They finally came together again as the Midnight Hour and released a full-length eponymous LP last year, a fine fusion of cinematic funk, acid jazz, creamy soul, and R&B, treated with some hip-hop beat-hawking, fleshed out with brass and strings and woodwinds and guest singers. The album they recorded in February and released in April, The Midnight Hour Live at Linear Labs, provides a nice glimpse of what’s in store: a mix of high-class sophistication and down-low groove-making. LEILANI POLK
MONO have forged a remarkably consistent body of work over the last 20 years, coming off like a Japanese Explosions in the Sky. That means lengthy rock instrumentals that patiently build to emotionally fraught climaxes featuring lots of splashing, crashing cymbals and robustly chiming guitars helixing skyward. MONO create stoic anthems for the long-attention-spanned. Seattle duo Mamiffer—Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner (SUMAC, Isis, etc.)—have distinguished themselves as one of the country’s most sublime purveyors of drone-based art song with roots in eldritch folk. Their music projects a powerful sense of natural wonder and dread, with Coloccia’s stately, waif-like vocals casting the dreamiest of spells. Mamiffer have a new album dropping November 1, The Brilliant Tabernacle, and the two songs I’ve heard from it—the diaphanous pagan hymns “River of Light” and “All That Is Beautiful”—might be their most beautiful compositions yet. DAVE SEGAL
Sir Babygirl, bbyweems
Bop to bubblegum pop that defies Top 40 binaries with Brooklyn diva Sir Babygirl, named an “Artist You Need to Know” by Rolling Stone this year.
The music of FKA twigs (aka Tahliah Debrett Barnett) unearths a lot about sexuality, relationships, and desire. Barnett’s high-pitched vocals and moody, dark throbbing beats explore a side of love that’s fragmented and hard to define. To me, she perfectly encapsulates the concept of “topping from the bottom,” wanting to give yourself over to a lover, but in doing so, recognizing the power that action has. From the singles off her second full-length album Magdalene (due out November 8), twigs will dive further into these themes and feelings. A dancer by trade, her shows always promise to be spectacles of both sound and body with her Magdalene era in particular focusing on pole-dancing, Wushu, performance, and costume. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Justin Townes Earle, Jonny Two Bags
Justin Townes Earle has sort of a thing with lineages. For one, he’s named after the late, great Townes Van Zandt. For another, his father is country and folk outlaw-cum-pagan-bard Steve Earle, and while these are usually the first things people say about Justin Townes Earle, he tries to keep them out of his music and be his own man. Trouble is, he’s now a father himself. Earle’s eighth album, Kids in the Street, takes time to reflect on his newfound responsibility as well as his own sometimes-misspent youth. As always, his smooth and honey-sweet voice is as gentle and alluring as his lyrics are poignant. JOSEPH SCHAEFER
Peter Hook & the Light
Peter Hook is going to milk his legendary legacy with Joy Division and New Order for as long as he wants, and nobody can stop him—not even former bandmates Bernard Sumner, Gillian Gilbert, and Stephen Morris, who are not thrilled with their former bassist’s activities. Nevertheless, with his son Jack Bates on bass, Hook has made a solid living re-creating, in the flesh and in their entirety, albums by Joy Division and New Order. Hook is now methodically plowing through the latter group’s catalog, with this tour encompassing 1989’s Technique and 1993’s Republic. The former reveals New Order’s predilection for Balearic-beat and acid-house influences, while the latter is slick dance-pop—far from the bracing, brooding rock of New Order’s first two LPs. Before tackling these records, Hook and company will dust off some classic Joy Division tunes, many of which represent a pinnacle of bleak post-punk. Warning: Hook’s singing makes Sumner’s sounds like Ian Curtis’s. DAVE SEGAL
Alessia Cara, Ryland James
Endearingly earnest pop star Alessia Cara is back on tour in support of her second album, The Pains of Growing, with a support set by Ryland James.
Marcia Griffiths, Lady G & Rayzalution Band
Jamaican reggae icon Marcia Griffiths will grace Seattle with her smooth vocals and chill rhythms.
Amendola vs. Blades with Skerik, Jeff Parker, and Cyro Baptista
The Cali-based duo featuring Wil Blades (Hammond organ and clavinet) and drummer Scott Amendola arrives in town behind the release of their new LP, Everybody Wins, which is your standard-issue fine-quality brand of heady, jazzy funk with some unexpected time signatures and NOLA and Latin flavors. (The dark, On the Corner–vibing, dub-and-psych-infused foray that is “Metropolitan Hustle” is a particular highlight.) This show has the added bonus of featuring a few of the guests who appear on the album—guitarist Jeff Parker (Tortoise), Seattle’s own boundary-pushing saxophonist Skerik (Les Claypool, Garage A Trois), and pioneering Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista (Herbie Hancock, Trey Anastasio). It’s gonna be tasty, tasty. LEILANI POLK
Chick Corea, Seattle Symphony
Chick Corea is the innovative composer and keysman who spent the early part of his career—beginning in 1968—playing sideman to Miles Davis (he appeared on Filles de Kilimanjaro, In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, and On the Corner, among others), and then through much of the ’70s exploring his own avant interests with jazz fusion/prog rock innovators Return to Forever (bandmate Al Di Meola lands in town October 2). He’s enjoyed a prolific (more than 70 albums released as band leader), venerable career, with more than 60 Grammy noms and 22 wins. For this date, he joins Seattle Symphony for a presentation of George Gershwin’s most famous orchestral jazz opus, Rhapsody in Blue. The program will also touch on solo piano selections by Gershwin, Mozart’s Overture to Don Giovanni, and Chick Corea’s own Piano Concerto No. 1. LEILANI POLK
Bishop Briggs, Miya Folick, Jax Anderson
Bishop Briggs aims to transcend the limitations of genres by utilizing elements of folk, pop, and electronica in her sound.
Carnage Bargain is a great album title, and thankfully, LA quartet the Paranoyds live up to that cleverness on this action-packed record. Released this year by Suicide Squeeze, Carnage Bargain clicks instantly with tart, hook-laden songs that balance sinewy guitars with Laila Hashemi’s assertive vocals. The album’s 10 tracks flit among riot-grrrl, power-pop, garage-rock, and glam-metal touchstones with finesse and cool. Their most exciting track, “Laundry,” lasts only 68 seconds. Perverse! For fans of Suzi Quatro, Blondie, X, the B-52s, the Breeders, and Kim Gordon’s droll vocal delivery. DAVE SEGAL
Tom Morello has such a singular tone and style (crunchy, off-kilter, heavy-metal-/punk-rooted riffs peppered with screaming, scratching, wah-wah, and bomb-dropping effects achieved via pedals and amps and his own techniques) that you can recognize his playing wherever it may land—Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, Street Sweeper Social Club, the Nightwatchman, Prophets of Rage, even with Bruce Springsteen, who tapped him for seven years and two albums. The Atlas Underground is his latest outing, made up of collaborations with the likes of Bassnectar, Big Boi, Killer Mike, Gary Clark Jr., and others, who, Morello has said “set my creativity into uncharted territory.” Based on the singles released so far, it’s heavy on the EDM and hiphop influences. This tour finds him playing this LP in its entirety, with possible “special appearances by surprise guests.” LEILANI POLK
Guitar virtuoso Trace Bundy, dubbed by his fans as the “Acoustic Ninja,” uses harmonics and looping to create and perform intricate guitar arrangements.
The Funky Knuckles, Motus, Cytrus
The Funky Knuckles bring the sound of Dallas to Seattle with high-energy soul and jazz that has been honed into a unique sound blend over the last seven years through weekly residencies and big-name collaborations. They’ll be joined by local soul outfit Motus and psy-trance artist Cytrus.
The Aquabats, PPL MVR, “TBD”
You know that camp song, the one that never ends? “This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friends!” The Aquabats are the band equivalent to that song. Annoying to many, but childishly charming to some. And, like the song, they never really end. The ‘Bats have kept up their ska-playing superhero act for about a decade now, surprisingly, and through all the trends and music-biz ups and downs, they’ve stayed on course, fighting off villains and assaulting their enamored fans with flying vegetables at live shows. You love them or you hate them—either way, the Aquabats remain true to themselves. “Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, but they continued singing it forever just because…” MEGAN SELING
Twin Peaks, Post Animal, OHMME
Twin Peaks have been known to deliver kicking indie rock with heavy twang, garage, punkish, and power-pop tendencies, but have taken a bit of a turn with fourth and latest studio LP Lookout Low. First single “Dance Through It” is an easy grooving number with a breezy refrain carried on a swinging keyboard melody and brightened and bolstered by bursts of brass that also give a boost to second single “Ferry Song,” its buoyant shuffle imbued with a distinctive Music from Big Pink–era Band feel. Twin Peaks are never quite what I expect, and this warm and pleasant outing is no different. Fellow Chicago bands support—psych rock sextet Post Animal and avant-garde duo OHMME (singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist duo Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart). LEILANI POLK
Lophiile, Samurai Del
Local Lakewooder Ty Acord makes original beats and remixes under his pseudonym Lophiile, a project that puts an emphasis on blending the tenets of funk, future bass, hiphop, and R&B. Catch him on this tour stop with Seattle multi-instrumentalist/producer Samurai Del.
Emerald City Soul Club 14th Annual Rare Soul Weekender
A residency that’s been active for 14 years is an impressive feat of longevity in a town that can be pretty fickle. So it’s fitting that the anniversary celebration of Emerald City Soul Club—both a monthly event that gets hips shakin’ and asses quakin’, and the DJs who spin those righteously soulful sounds—stretches over several days. The festivities kick off with a meet and greet featuring weekender guest DJs and selectors at the Triple Door. Next, two nights (Friday and Saturday) of main events, Soul Nite #1 and #2, at the usual digs, Lo-Fi; expect rare R&B, soul, Latin, funk, crossover, and modern 45s played by top collectors/DJs from the US and Europe. ECSC DJ and Stranger staffer Mike Nipper gave me a sneak preview of songs that’ll likely be played sometime this weekend: Curtis Lee, “Is She in Your Town”; Joanie Sommers, “Don’t Pity Me”; Bernadette Bascom, “I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love”; Arnold Blair, “Trying to Get Next to You”; and the Incredibles, “Miss Treatment.” There’s also a Saturday daytime Big Dig Record Swap at Vermillion, and on Sunday, the All-Dayer Soul Survivor Party (actually, 4 p.m. to close) at Screwdriver. In sum, plenty of opportunities to gtf down. LEILANI POLK
Del McCoury Band
Having earned a Grammy for their crisp harmonies and instrumental prowess, legendary bluegrass group Del McCoury Band will come to Seattle on their 80 is the New 50 Tour.
Neumos vs. Trump – An Anti Trump Dance Party!
Take all the rightful anger you feel toward the Cheeto-in-Chief and unleash it on the dance floor at this fundraiser for Planned Parenthood and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES).
Noise Complaint ft. Skream (Open-to-Close)
Dance until the sun comes up to UK-based disco, house, and techno DJ Skream.
Gramatik, The Librarian, Balkan Bump
Slovenian electronic music producer and DJ Gramatik, also known by his birth name Denis Jašarević, is billed as the world’s first “crypto-artist,” meaning he champions peer-to-peer file-sharing as the reason for his catapult to stardom, and he’s the first artist to sign with SingularDTV in an effort to decentralize the power of the traditional music industry and get his music to his fans by utilizing blockchain technology.
Rap community icons Phonte and Big Pooh have reunited to make hip-hop together under the moniker Little Brother.
Maxo Kream, Q Da Fool
Described by Larry Mizell Jr. as “a well-deserving indie stalwart, the bellicose H-Town goon,” Maxo Kream cuts through to the white meat, revealing simple but powerful truths about himself and others with his visceral rap.
CATHEDRALS XXVIII: Jesca Hoop, Ken Stringfellow, Chloe Foy
My first encounter with Jesca Hoop was on a little EP called Kismet I found in a stack of ignored CDs at my college radio station. It was short and intense, with enough winding moonlit passion to power a whole album (which, incidentally, it would do later in 2007). From that moment 12 years ago to 2016’s Sub Pop release of her latest, Memories Are Now, Hoop has toured with Shearwater and Andrew Bird, among many other artists, released double digits’ worth of EPs and LPs, and grown in her abilities to maintain a level of sister-wife-survival-guide in a wading pool of folkloric intensities. This album holds promise for continued growth in the mythic forest realm her music inhabits, with a sense of matured centering, an innate feeling that her work has finally found a stronghold from which to blossom. KIM SELLING
Seefeel, Dr. Troy
You could say this is my most anticipated show of 2019; I’ve been waiting 26 years to catch Seefeel live. Led by guitarist/producer Mark Clifford and vocalist/guitarist Sarah Peacock, the group arose from the UK’s potent shoegaze/post-rock scene, but immediately established themselves as outliers, embracing dubby bass lines and Aphex Twin–like ambience on releases such as More Like Space and Quique. (It made sense that Richard D. James remixed the early Seefeel classic “Time to Find Me.”) Even more blissed-out and ethereal than My Bloody Valentine circa Loveless, Seefeel generated impossibly sensuous whirlpools of sound up through 1994’s Starethrough EP. Their aesthetic gradually morphed into an alien strain of IDM while still retaining Seefeel’s mesmerizing guitar daubs and disembodied dub vibrations. For this gig, I’m betting on a stunning career retrospective involving radical interpretations of old faves, with possibly some new tracks scattered throughout. DAVE SEGAL
NËSTRÄ, who was one of 40 artists who worked with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis for the Residency, is also an alum of the Sound Off! competition and an up-and-coming voice in Seattle R&B. Join the young artist for an all-ages night out with Oakland’s Sh8peshifter.
The Movie Music of John Williams
If you do not know who John Williams is, do not bother reading what I have to say about him in this blurb. John Williams’ greatest achievement as a film composer is his love theme “Han Solo and the Princess” for Han and Leia in The Empire Strikes Back. (You, the pop-culture ignoramus, are still reading! Yes, Williams composed the music for the Star Wars series, and also Jaws, Indiana Jones, and so on, and so on.) This love theme has all of the sensitivity and cheap beauty that made “Spartacus: Love Theme” a jazz standard. If the great jazz pianist Bill Evans were alive today (why don’t some people live forever?), he would have made pure magic out of Williams’s “Love Theme.” CHARLES MUDEDE
Kip Moore, Kylie Morgan
For the last few years, Georgia boy Kip Moore has been gigging around the globe, building his brand as a steady yet fired-up country music star. He’ll be joined by Kylie Morgan on his Room To Spare Acoustic Tour.
Fisher, Claptone, Idris Elba, Weiss, Taiki Nulight, Little Fritter, Sean Majors
The All My Friends Seattle crew is back to throw a third major bash after their explosive summer, which will feature sets by Fisher, Claptone, Idris Elba, Weiss, Taiki Nulight, Little Fritter, and Sean Majors on the You Little Beauty Tour.
Psychedelic trance innovators Infected Mushroom are a rare duo, combining live performance as a concert band with new explorations in electronica and dance music.
KNKX & Jazz In The City Presents Tia Fuller with Marina Albero
Saxophonist Tia Fuller has garnered acclaim for her many notable actions, like serving as a member of Beyoncé’s backing band and the Mack Avenue Super Band, performing at the White House, and teaching at Berklee College, among many other things.
Tamaryn, NGHTCRWLR, Foie Gras
There’s a nostalgia that runs deep throughout the music of New Zealand–born singer-songwriter Tamaryn. Her music pulls heavily from the sounds of Cocteau Twins, 1980s synth-pop, and dream pop. Listening, I feel like I’m a beautiful model in the early 1990s, living in Manhattan and going to parties in the Meatpacking District (or whatever people did back then). The fuzzy dreaminess of Tamaryn’s vision comes through on her fourth album, Dreaming the Dark, which swings between grand goth-pop and darker shoegaze sounds. Tamaryn will be joined by Kris Esfandiari’s project NGHTCRWLR and Bay Area–based “solo dronescapist” Foie Gras. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Ladies & Gentleman, An Evening with Jason Mraz & Raining Jane
Someone’s got to be the less-douchey John Mayer, and there’s no better contender than Jason Mraz, a perfectly good guy making perfectly nice music that will not make you cover your ears in horror should you happen to hear it on the radio or in the supermarket. He’s funny, humble, pro-gay, and he wears hats. DAVE SEGAL
Folk and jazz-influenced singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn is widely regarded as one of Canada’s finest exports. He’ll play an evening set rife with memories from his exceptionally long career.
The moody, R&B-grounded beats of Afriqua (aka Adam Longman Parker) are an interesting exploration into the nexus of Black culture and electronic music. The Berlin-by-way-of-Virginia producer looks to hip-hop heavyweights like Timbaland and the Neptunes as well as classical music for inspiration. On his first full-length LP, Colored—which dropped in October—Parker pulls from a wide pool of sound and influences. Most interestingly on “Shout,” he incorporates a clip of a man declaring he’s about to sing a slave song that then bursts into a mercurial composition of pulsating beats. It’s Parker’s own rendition of a song of sorrow, redemption, and regeneration. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Houston-based rapper Tobe Nwigwe is all about spreading inspirational, uplifting messages in his music. Join him in Seattle on his Ivory Tour.
Young Thug, Machine Gun Kelly, Polo G, Strick
Since catching the ears of the rap cognoscenti with his 1017 Thug mixtape in 2013, Thugger has carved out his own path in popular rap through repetition and oddball yelps, scoring a steady string of singles like smashes “Stoner” and “Danny Glover” to his 2016 Jeffery mixtape, all recorded alongside a cadre of scene-defining producers, including London On Da Trak and Metro Boomin. NICK ZURKO
June of 44, Select Level
Count the return of June of 44 as one of the bigger musical surprises of 2019. Who, you ask? Well, for heads of a certain age, June of 44 were one of the prime movers and shakers of the 1990s post-hardcore/math-rock anti-scene. Composed of Doug Scharin, Fred Erskine, Jeff Mueller, and Sean Meadows, JO44 purveyed disciplined, sinewy rock with humble vocals and jagged dynamics over four LPs and three EPs. You could think of them as a longer-lasting (as in career duration), less-intriguing Slint—who shared JO44’s Louisville, Kentucky, roots—or a less-prog-oriented Don Caballero. It should be interesting to see if June of 44 can still pull off their stoic, heroic songs after such a long hiatus. DAVE SEGAL
Mikal Cronin, Shannon Lay
LA-based multi-instrumentalist songwriter Mikal Cronin will take a break from his eight-year touring gig with Ty Segall to headline his own tour. Catch him with Shannon Lay.