Our Music Critics’ Picks for This Week

Party and ruminate on the current political climate with punk-pop faves
Tacocat this Saturday.

Courtesy of the artists

This week, our music critics have picked everything from the Volunteer Park Pride Festival to Diane Coffee to Cowboy Junkies. 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.

Found something you like and don’t want to forget about it later? Click “Save Event” on any of the linked events below to add it to your own private list.


Jump to: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday


MONDAY


JAZZ

UW Gospel Choir
Longtime UW choir director Phyllis Byrdwell will be joined by a 100-voice gospel choir for an evening of piano, song, and plentiful expressions of the gospel tradition.

KARAOKE

The Singing Lovers
At this space for black art and storytelling, take the opportunity to sing a song to someone you love, either with music or a capella. 

ROCK/POP

Tim Baker, Charlotte Cornfield
Tim Baker, the former lead singer of Hey Rosetta!, will stop in Seattle on his first solo tour. Expect at least one solid piano ballad and lots of folk-rock (and an opening set from Canadian singer-songwriter Charlotte Cornfield).

TUESDAY


BLUES/COUNTRY/FOLK

Terry Reid
Whoa!!! Terry Reid!?! In town?!?! Dang. If you’re not in the know, in 1968, Mr. Reid was tapped as the first choice to front the New Yardbirds or, as they became known, Led Zeppelin—he had THAT KIND OF VOICE—but he passed and went on to record his own remarkable and highly regarded records. I’m not too sure if he’ll devastate us by belting out songs like he could in 1968, but, though tempered and seasoned by age, he still has that voice, and from what I gather, he’ll be playing the more stripped-down songs from his singer-songwriter repertoire. MIKE NIPPER

HIP-HOP/RAP

Brotha Lynch Hung, BARZ!
Brotha Lynch Hung, the Sacramento rapper oft-credited as the progenitor of “horrorcore,” will come to Seattle with opening support from BARZ!. 

ROCK/POP

The Babe Rainbow, MUNYA
Produced by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Stu Mackenzie and Wayne Connolly, and signed to Danger Mouse’s 30th Century label, and praised by Entertainment Weekly, Australian rock group the Babe Rainbow are poised to break big. So it’s odd they’re playing a small room like High Dive, but that could make seeing them tonight even more special—after they’re likely booked for Capitol Hill Block Party and Bumbershoot next year. Why the big expectations? Because the Babe Rainbow exude an innate natural melodic charm destined to make hundreds of thousands of people’s heads vibrate pleasantly, while also possessing enough strange, welterweight psychedelic touches to keep their winsome tunes from toppling into innocuousness. They also pack a rhythmic punch that recalls Stone Roses and Hot Chip. If the Babe Rainbow aren’t Kurt Vile-level popular by 2020, I’ll slowly shake my head in disbelief. DAVE SEGAL

WEDNESDAY


DJ

Pride Skate: Beyoncé & Lizzo
As part of the First Annual White Center Pride, sing along to your favorite songs by definitive pop/hip-hop/R&B queens Lizzo and Beyoncé while you go round and round the skating rink. (Unless you’re some kind of roller skating Tonya Harding, we recommend taking your dance moves to the bar.) 

CLASSICAL

Imogen Heap
She’s more than an early-aughts obsession! Over the past decade, Imogen Heap has written the soundtrack for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, helped produce Taylor Swift’s album 1989, and cofounded Live 4 X, an online charitable concert series. Her current tour serves to launch a project called Creative Passport, a music-sharing system designed to promote fairer pay and contract standards for artists. But the most enthralling part of this Moore Theatre performance will likely be the use of her high-tech Mi.Mu gloves, which turn hand gestures into music (and are currently on sale for a cool $2,800). AJ DENT

FUNK/REGGAE

Pato Banton, Lion of Judah Band
Birmingham, England, probably doesn’t come to mind as a reggae hotbed, but the UK industrial city was a major recipient of West Indian immigrants in the postwar era. No surprise: Reggae and ska music thrived, with a vibrant sound system and toasting culture blending into the local pub scene. Pato Banton cut his teeth in 1980s Birmingham and is still touring to this day. “Don’t Sniff Coke” and “Go Pato” sound a bit dated listened to against the reggae revival standard coming out of contemporary Kingston, but that’s one thing about roots music—the old stuff never goes out of style. GREGORY SCRUGGS

HIP-HOP/RAP

Sadistik, Nacho Picasso, Black Magic Noize, Kno, Trizz, Rafael Vigilantics, Diveyede
Seattle’s own Sadistik will headline this darkwave rap showcase, with support from Nacho Picasso, Rafael Vigilantics, Black Magic Noize, Kno, Trizz, and Diveyede.

THURSDAY


BLUES/COUNTRY/FOLK

Kelly Willis, Andrea von Kampen
Austin-based country singer-songwriter Kelly Willis will come to Seattle with her first solo release since 2007’s Translated from Love, breaking out on her own again after a few years of playing music with Bruce Robison. Fittingly, this new album is all about feeling lonesome. Get after it!

CLASSICAL

Smith-McElroy Duo
The Smith-McElroy duo is composed of flutist Colleen McElroy and saxophonist Evan Smith, who will join for an exploratory performance of modern music, including composer Tom Baker’s new work Six Moments.

Zoë Keating
Zoë Keating, described as a one-woman cello orchestra, will perform a double set of modern classical compositions.

ELECTRONIC

Research: Mike Servito B2B Magda
Detroit techno/house artist Mike Servito and his “upfront dirty deep and bitchy taste” will be in good company with Polish DJ Magda and Seattle denizens Nark (a resident at The Eagle), T.Wan, and Secondnature founder Nick Carroll.

FUNK/REGGAE

Big Sam’s Funky Nation, 45th St Brass
Big Sam’s Funky Nation has staked a claim on “Noladelic PowerFunk,” a high-energy blend of rock, hip-hop, jazz, and funk, tied together with New Orleans-style brass. They’ll lift your spirits after an opening set from 45th St. Brass. 

ROCK/POP

Diane Coffee, Claire George
Don’t be fooled by a name that hints at quiet spaces and acoustic guitar melodies: Diane Coffee is the gender-bending alter ego of Shaun Fleming, formerly a child voice actor, then actor, then skateboarder, then live drummer for Foxygen until he went fully solo in 2013. He started with hazily retro indie rock that, in the eight years since his debut EP and the few albums since, has evolved into the sounds on 2019’s Internet Arms—definitively pop-sensible and synth-driven and inspired by an apparent existential crisis: “It’s a personal study on how I feel about living with constant blurred lines of the self and the projected self.” Its loose premise—Diane Coffee trapped in a digital world, enslaved by AI—was, according to press materials, “born from the fear and uncertainty of a future in which humankind is both dependent on and poisoned by technology.” LEILANI POLK

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, RVG
Sub Pop–backed Australian group Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever play indie rock that’s passionate without being over the top. There’s nothing extraordinary about their slightly driving, modestly melodic, mildly intense songs, but they consistently hit a sweet spot for those who like their rock lean and unassumingly uplifting. RBCF don’t really go in for the kill, but rather are the type of band that play a midafternoon set at a festival—say, Bumbershoot—on a medium-sized stage and surprise you with their relentlessly stolid B+ rock maneuvers. And that means they’re better than most in the game, even if you’re unlikely to be inspired enough to get a tattoo of their logo. DAVE SEGAL

THURSDAY-FRIDAY


SOUL/R&B

Alice Smith
Talented vocalist Alice Smith takes on jazz, blues, rock, pop, soul, and R&B in her sultry and intoxicating work.  

THURSDAY-SUNDAY


CLASSICAL

Holst’s The Planets
Take a sonic road trip through our solar system with this performance of Gustav Holst’s iconic The Planets in all its dazzling glory.

FRIDAY


CLASSICAL

[untitled] 3
The popular [untitled] series is back with an intimate performance of Dutch composer Reinbert de Leeuw’s reimaginings of Schubert and Schumann pieces for a thrilling journey based on the style of 1920s German cabaret.

Lori Goldston: Rivulet
Together with percussionist Dave Abramson, trombonist Haley Freedlund, bassist Kole Galbraith, trumpeter Greg Kelley, and violinist Austin Larkin, Seattle cellist and composer Lori Goldston will premiere Rivulet, a new piece about “collective strength and imagination” and “extra-linguistic memory moving in music and water.” 

DJ

Pop Secret: Sango
Seattle-based producer Sago (part of the LA collective Soulection) will bring his hip-hop-, Brazilian funk-, and soul-influenced sound to the club.

HIPHOP/RAP

Perry Porter, LIV, Terrance Brown
Back in 2014, Stranger critic Charles Mudede described Perry Porter’s LP Paper Moon with French-based producer ICBM as “a catchy record but not blatantly or bumblingly aimed at the market. There is too much personality in the beats and the rhymes for it to immediately catch fire on the charts.” Since then Porter has released a full-length solo record that takes that same talent and energy and expands it for a larger audience.

METAL/PUNK

Team Dresch, Wynne Greenwood, Pink Parts
Legendary DIY queercore band Team Dresch are rolling through Seattle as the first stop of their West Coast tour in support of the 25th anniversary reissues of their albums. Every member of Team Dresch was an open lesbian at the time of their formation in Olympia, and they carved out a queer space within the punk scene through zines, music, and community building. Initially active from 1993 to 1998, the band reunited in the early 2000s and continue to perform and rock the fuck out. On this date, they will be joined by queer feminist performance artist Wynne Greenwood and Seattle rock quintet Pink Parts. JASMYNE KEIMIG

ROCK/POP

Amanda Palmer
Amanda Palmer, the cabaret punk star who is also known for writing bad poetry about the Boston Marathon bombings, will perform a night of new music from her first solo album in over six years, THERE WILL BE NO INTERMISSION.

Chromatics, Desire, In Mirrors
Though I’m sure they’d be annoyed to hear me say it, Chromatics always felt like the closest I’d ever get to the amphetamine genius of the Fall’s infancy. Like the Fall, they sounded like nothing at all–not in the sense that they were without parallels, but insomuch as their sound was that of an absence–a propellant, ominous nothing that relied more on what it lacked than what it held. A word like “minimalist” seems fitting in form, but it hardly does justice to their powerful, ghostly gestalt–like Mark E. Smith’s bitter nothings–those impossible gaps that held such compelling respiration. ZAC PENNINGTON

JOHNNYSWIM
Veterans of the Nashville scene, poppy folk duo Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramierez make waves as Johnnyswim. Their recent album, Georgica Pond, keeps the sweet melodies of hyped acts like the Lumineers, “millennial woo” and all, but never lose sight of the confessional songwriting core at the heart of the Americana tradition. JOSEPH SCHAFER

Pile, State Champion, Guests
Boston indie-rockers Pile could very easily be from Seattle with their green-grey riffs, dudely vocals, and occasional sad violin. They’ll play an all-ages show with beard rockers State Champion and other as-yet-unannounced guests.

Train, Goo Goo Dolls, Allen Stone
Nondescript radio rockers Train will share their posi alt vibes with a gorge full of ’90s revivalists, as well as their tour partners, rock legends the Goo Goo Dolls and soul/R&B singer Allen Stone.

FRIDAY-SATURDAY


BLUES/COUNTRY/FOLK

Dead & Company
The Grateful Dead fan base is so widespread and ravenous, it can support all sorts of spin-offs, tribute bands, deluxe reissues, official bootlegs, coattail-riders, etc. These aficionados are still the vital circulatory system of the lucrative jam-band corpus. Dead & Company have the benefit of featuring GD percussion deities Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann and OG (not Jerry) guitarist Bob Weir, as well as white-bread guitar hero John Mayer, bassist Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers Band), and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti (Bob Weir & Ratdog). These pros reverently reanimate easygoing, glistening faves such as “Sugaree,” “Althena,” “Terrapin Station,” “Morning Dew,” “The Weight,” and others with expert precision and patience. That they possess the box-office clout to pack out two dates at the Gorge testifies to the durability of the Dead brand. DAVE SEGAL

SATURDAY


BLUES/COUNTRY/FOLK

Wynonna and The Big Noise
Nashville country singing legend, famous redhead, and musical force of nature Wynonna Judd will throw down all the classics and some tracks from her latest release with her backing troupe the Big Noise.

ELECTRONIC

Chromeo with a Live Band, Neil Francis
Neo-disco duo Chromeo, who claim to be the “only successful Jewish-Arab partnership since the dawn of human history,” will be backed by a live band on this groovy occasion. Neil Francis will provide opening support. 

METAL/PUNK

Flipper, David Yow, the Derelicts, Thee Deception
My favorite American punk band Flipper are making a surprise return to the live circuit, minus substitute bassist Krist Novoselic, but accompanied by Jesus Lizard front maniac David Yow. This Bay Area group—which still features original members Ted Falconi and Steve DePace—released one of the deathless documents of Reagan-era rock in 1982’s Album Generic Flipper. A dirty bomb full of nihilistic sentiments and implosive dirges that rivaled Swans for triple-bummer catharsis, the LP has paradoxically given life to people of a perverse mind-set for decades—especially the sludge-rock avalanche of “Life Is Cheap.” If Flipper simply performed Album front to back and left the stage with middle fingers aloft after the chaotic payload of “Sex Bomb,” that would be perfect. DAVE SEGAL

Lewis Capaldi, Sam Fischer
Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi reached the top of the UK charts for his single “Someone You Love,” which you may have heard covered by the Jonas Brothers. (The artist was excited: “First single release, selling out the arena tour, number one album, number one single… all mean fucking nothing compared to the fact the Jonas Brothers just covered my fucking tune. My tune.”) He’ll come to town for a stripped-back set with Australia’s Sam Fischer in tow.


ROCK/POP

Mattiel, Moonwalks
Atlanta’s Mattiel (pronounced “maa-TEEL”) is a potent source of flinty garage rock that sounds instantly familiar and lovable. Her sound bears traces of bold singers such as Holly Golightly and Nancy Sinatra, perhaps if they were produced by King Khan and the BBQ Show or early-’00s Jack White. The new album, Satis Factory, is more than just that: It’s a collection of instantly catchy subterranean-rock songs rooted in tradition without sounding staid. Think of it as a Southeastern counterpart to the Black Tones’ Cobain & Cornbread. DAVE SEGAL

MONO, Emma Ruth Rundle
Tokyo instrumental rock quartet MONO makes “music for the Gods,” according to NME. They won’t have a 23-piece orchestra like they’ve had in the past, but you can still expect a dreamy combination of orchestral and shoegaze. Emma Ruth Rundle will provide opening support.

Pride at the Blue Moon: Creature Hole, Seaside Tryst, After Party
Celebrate Pride a few weeks early with this rock and pop show featuring live sets by Creature Hole, Seaside Tryst, and After Party. All proceeds will go to Olympia’s Pizza Klatch.

Tacocat
Homegrown Seattle “neon-candy punk-pop” (thank you, music calendar editor Kim Selling) band Tacocat have got it going on. Their latest record and debut on Sub Pop, This Mess Is a Place (which is a brilliant title, by the way), is a bright, tongue-in-cheek, punk, saccharine rumination on These Times We’re Living In, and also life. And while, yes, the political climate keeps getting shittier by the nanosecond, Tacocat know how to heal and charge forward while also making space to party. Be sure to put on “Grains of Salt” before you head out: It’s equal parts punchy and dancey, telling you not to forget to “remember who the fuck you are.” Yeah—Jasmyne! JASMYNE KEIMIG

VARIOUS

Volunteer Park Pride Festival
For another year, a slew of local bands will set the tone for Pride month with a full day of live sets at the Capitol Hill park. This year’s lineup is stacked, with acts like fierce speed queens Thunderpussy, singer-songwriter J GRGRY, alt-soul artist and former busker Whitney Mongé, neo-soul/funk hero Sassyblack, and many others lighting up the bill.

SUNDAY


HIP-HOP/RAP

Femme Day Party: Summer Kickoff!
A killer lineup of femme and non-binary hip-hop artists and DJs Stas THEE Boss, Cousin Chris, Momlyn, RIGHTTERNES, Djokaybeats, and JusMoni will help kick off the summer. Plus, there’ll be pop-ups from the Glow Up Podcast, Lash Theory, and Chomp.


ROCK/POP

Columbia City Beatwalk
Head south for the Columbia City Beatwalk, a music festival for locals by locals, every second Sunday through September spread out at various neighborhood venues.

Operators, Doomsquad
Montreal’s Operators (fronted by Wolf Parade’s Daniel Boeckner) make upbeat, synth-driven pop-punk songs. Dance along to their set after a warm-up from Toronto acid house outfit Doomsquad.

Cowboy Junkies
The first time I ever heard Cowboy Junkies was on a dirty, beer-stained couch at the radio station I used to help run in college. My friend and I were supposed to be studying, but we ended up just lying around listening to music. She put on their cover of Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane,” which seemed to fit every mood I could ever have at 21—melancholy, meditative, cautious, ready to yield to the good things in life. Like the rest of the band’s work. Cowboy Junkies are now celebrating 30 years together as a band. Cheers to that. JASMYNE KEIMIG

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