Cass McCombs with Hush Arbors
Oh, Cass. What is your deal, bud? Curse my eternal pragmatism, but man-as-enigma is not really my thing. So Cass’s lifetime of veiled yet present, hooded yet en plein air, trapped in a foreign prison of his own making yet open cataMcCombsing through this, our broken world, only appeals to me in the sense that you know how much effort he really undertook to unleash his last eight albums. The most recent, Mangy Love, is sweet, though. Filled with small-potatoes politics elevated by universal clichés that are then twisted by his trademark tongue-in-cheek je ne sais quoi, the LP exists as another diary entry we’ll never be able to truly translate. And, after all this time, isn’t that exactly what we wanted from him? Simply the same, only different. KIM SELLING
Brazilian singer Bebel Gilberto famously said that her father, bossa nova man João Gilberto, taught her perfection, but her mother, the singer Miúcha, taught her how to lose it. So she meets these ideas somewhere in the middle. Can’t call her middle-of-the road, though—that term implies a lack of imagination and invention. Bebel Gilberto sings in at least three languages (French, English, and, of course, Portuguese). She blends influences from across the pop planet into subtle and rich sonic canvases. And she covers Neil Young. And she stands before the mic with an utter lack of self-consciousness. I couldn’t do that. Most people I know couldn’t do that. And I know some unself-conscious people. ANDREW HAMLIN
Fucking Invincible, Deadbeat, Sidetracked, Fucked & Bound, Post/Boredom
In the sea of raucous underground-rock bands that writhed across North America in the first decade of this century, Daughters stood out as one of the few noisenik outfits that successfully conjured a new level of danger and defeatism. They were fucked-up individuals making truly ugly music, and Lex Marshall was the perfect self-flagellating, nihilistic frontman for their jarring squall and skronk. But their brand of abuse wasn’t sustainable, and Daughters’ destructive run came to the inevitable close at the end of the ’00s. Marshall responded to Daughters’ constant sonic reinventions and self-destruction with his new band, Fucking Invincible, which finds the irrepressible vocalist aiming his ire outward against a backdrop of primitive raging hardcore. BRIAN COOK
Jason Marsalis Quintet with Etienne Charles
The drummer and vibraphonist Jason Marsalis is the youngest prince of jazz’s royal family, the Marsalises. His father, the king, is Ellis Louis Marsalis Jr., and his most famous brothers are Branford Marsalis and Wynton Marsalis. Like the other princes in this family, Jason is a technically brilliant musician. Some vibraphonists are all about transforming a club into the planet of Venus (hazy, beautiful, voluptuous vibes). This is not Jason. He instead strikes the bars of his instrument in much the same way John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet struck the keys of a piano—with great accuracy. This is not about mists but precision. Jason is a serious man, indeed. CHARLES MUDEDE (Through September 28)
KT Tunstall with Wildling
After topping "the charts," soundtracking every major film and TV show, and being labelled the queen of the indie music scene, KT Tunstall dropped everything and peaced out to Venice Beach for a several-years-long detox session. Now she's back with a new album and a full live set for her loyal fans at the Croc, with Wildling.
Megadeth with Guests
This past January, Megadeth made a bold statement with a fat middle finger in the air to critics who brushed them off as nothing more than a nostalgia act. Dystopia’s 13 songs offer proof that there are still some thrash riffs worth writing. In addition to hiring Lamb of God’s Chris Adler to play drums on the album, Dave Mustaine made a solid choice in recruiting ex-Angra guitarist Kiko Loureiro to shred alongside him. Touring in support of Megadave and his recently revamped lineup are Swedish Viking powerhouse Amon Amarth, Venice skate-punk legends Suicidal Tendencies, and the Northwest’s own Metal Church. KEVIN DIERS
Nick Waterhouse with Guests
I swear I’m ALWAYS out of town the evenings Nick Waterhouse performs. Which sucks for me, since there are very few contemporary R&B/popcorn players who indeed play SOLID, proper late-1950s/early-1960s R&B jams. Right, so he’s touring in support of his forthcoming LP, Never Twice, and this go round, at least on the tracks I’ve heard, it sounds like he’s chosen to nod to period modernist players like Georgie Fame or even bands like the Quik. Now that I think of it, even the LP title is a nod to the attitude of sharp stylists of early 1963. Jeez, with that in mind, I’d make sure y’all wear your finest tonight. MIKE NIPPER
Allah-Las with TOPS
For the past few years, the Allah-Lahs have done well to maintain their self-described “sound cultivated from the annals of California culture,” but their new LP, Calico Review, seems to be something of departure from their reverb-shrouded 1960s thing. They have again hit the easy, laid-back “California” nail on the head, but instead of making contemporary garage rock, they’ve spun in a few more interesting aspects of 1980s/’90s indie rock; like, the kind of indie that didn’t make the radio. Don’t fret, fans: They still filter their sounds through the Velvet Underground and ’60s pop to keep their sense of hazy, stoned-on-pills, atmosphere dialed in, but now their jams feel more like their own. Well done, guys! MIKE NIPPER
Chance of Rain Festival
Chance of Rain is stepping into the chasm left by Decibel Festival’s absence. Because Decibel had provided world-class multimedia/electronic-music bills from 2004 to 2015, Chance of Rain—which is run by former Decibel volunteers—has its work cut out for it. To their credit, they’ve booked Detroit techno pioneer Derrick May as well as several other great producers and DJs, but they do lack May’s stature and name recognition. Still, there’ll be plenty of highlights: Big Phone and Convextion’s powerful and cerebral minimal techno, Randy Jones’s uniquely exotic and inventive synth explorations, Butane’s dark and sensual house excursions, Bloom Offering’s forbidding industrial anti-songs, and Circa Tapes’ engagingly chilling coldwave tunes. With opening night fast approaching, Chance of Rain’s organizers are frantically adding acts to the bill, and we trust the slots will fill up with quality players. DAVE SEGAL (Through October 2)
Clock DVA, Savak, Omega Brain, Seraphim
One of the most adventurous bands of the original post-punk era, England’s Clock DVA created two sui-generis classic LPs: 1980’s White Souls in Black Suits and 1981’s Thirst. Both records displayed inventive use of space, unconventional song structures that melded experimental rock, jazz, and dub, and topped it all with a powerful existential dread that resonated most righteously on the enigmatic Thirst. I stopped following Clock DVA after 1983’s more accessible but surprisingly durable Advantage, but it looks like leader Adi Newton—in both the side project T.A.G.C. and Clock DVA—headed in a more industrial/electronic direction while still retaining some jazz and exotica elements and, of course, his riveting, hard-boiled vocals. Odds are Clock DVA will lean on newer material, but if they do early, crucial jams like “Consent” or “4 Hours,” this old fan will shriek. DAVE SEGAL
Jah Wobble & The Invaders of the Heart with Weeed
One of the key figures of the post-punk era, Jah Wobble was also one of the least likely. A proud product of London’s polyglot East End, the former John Wardle harbored no musical aspirations and considered a career as a merchant marine. One day he picked up the bass, found he had an affinity for it, and the next thing he knew, his school friend John Lydon asked him to join Public Image Ltd. Wobble was 18. He enjoyed a short but eventful run with PiL before striking out on his own. With the Invaders of the Heart, he’s found the ideal vehicle to explore his passion for dub reggae, jazz funk, and the low frequencies he writes about so eloquently in Memoirs of a Geezer, his essential autobiography. KATHY FENNESSY
LANY with Transviolet
If we’re talking surface-level critique, LANY’s name alone (which stands for, you guessed it, Los Angeles New York) made me melon-ball my own eyes out of their sockets and throw them into the ocean. One level below that, their softboi charm extends further, to some malleable electro pop almost entirely cookie-guttered into oblivion. Tethered to some mythically dense assumption of what early-20s sentiments should sound like in song, each track on their latest record kinda reeks of exactly that: an entrenched effort to seem attainably cool, as relevant and earnestly mature as possible but with wide post-teenage eyes backlit by summer fireworks. Real talk, is this like a Noxzema commercial or what? KIM SELLING
Still Corners with Foxes in Fiction
Sub Pop soft-cinema duo Still Corners drench Barboza in their London psychedelia with an evening of sure-to-be-spacey sonic experiments.
Drive-By Truckers with Lydia Loveless
Stereogum once called the Drive-By Truckers “possibly the greatest extant American rock and roll band.” High praise, to be sure, but difficult to contest. Primary songwriters and singers Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley write novelistic songs with distinct characters and tragicomic twists of fate—of course their breakout album was called Southern Rock Opera, and here Southern rock means as much R.E.M. as Lynyrd Skynyrd. Okay, smart guy, you might be saying, “So they’re poets, but do they kick out the jams?” But of course they do. Though it’s been accented less on recent albums, the Truckers pack a powerful Muscle Shoals–derived rhythm section anchored by their secret weapon, drummer Brad “EZ-B” Morgan. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Two-time Grammy-winning bassist and multi-instrumentalist Marcus Miller plays six shows over four nights with a full backing band of Alex Bailey on drums, Caleb McCambell on keys, Alex Han on sax, and Marquis Hill on trumpet. (Through October 2)
Mick Jenkins with Smino
Young south side Chicago sage Mick Jenkins takes on the Croc with Smino on their A Quest For Love tour in anticipation of his upcoming album, The Healing Component.
Sia with Miguel and AlunaGeorge
Seemingly inexhaustible Australian pop star Sia uses her perceived weakness as her greatest selling point: the ability to be truly vulnerable as her impetus for surging arches of Top 40 power. Sia doesn’t sing—she purrs, chitters, yowls, and shrieks. Her music is more of a banshee belt set to the price of obsessive, all-consuming love, and how your character can change in the process. Nearly every one of her songs sounds like the soundtrack to a montage of plucky young women winning Olympic events during a magnificent sunset. This isn’t a bad thing, but it can be a bit overwhelming to someone (me) whose pop-music childhood centered on which boy band had the best Top Ramen hair. Sia is more than capable of crafting intelligent, expertly produced pop music, so if you need to believe in the future possibilities of Billboard-charting quality, go with her. KIM SELLING
Macefield Music Festival
Organizers of the fourth annual Macefield Music Festival have taken the opportunity to further stretch its parameters from humble all-local music festival—which was rebranded from the ashes of Seattle Weekly’s old Reverb music festival—to… all local music festival with a couple non-local headliners. Countrified strummers Reigning Sound are coming to town from Memphis, and experimental multimedia band Psychic TV all the way from London. But as always, beneath the line of outside talent lies a plush layer of high-grade local acts. Shouldn’t-miss sets from the pile of hometown goodness include transplanted shadow-pop diva Zola Jesus, cinematic electro-rock genius Erik Blood, scorched desert rockers Dush Moth, loudest band you’ll ever see Sandrider, shroom gods Lesbian, art-rap sparkplug DoNormaal, garage-studs Boyfriends, Tacoma dance trio Mirrorgloss, delightful queercore punks Sashay, thumping jangle-rockers Charms, doom trio Bali Girls, and toothy prog outfit Merso (formerly Leather Daddy), just to name a few. Spanning five stages this year, including a new one at Hotel Albatross, Macefield is still a great way to dive headfirst into the local scene. TODD HAMM (Through October 2)
Peaches cuts an iconic figure. Her look flirts with the medieval, David Bowie, heavy doses of hair metal and just plain hair. Peaches can command an entire room just by standing still. Most of all though, Peaches is a role model. Her vocals might be rap-influenced and her lyrics may be pornographic, but she's a riot grrrl's wet dream of strength and attitude. GINA YOUNG
Pennywise, Strung Out, Unwritten Law
Twisted metal stalwarts Pennywise celebrate their twenty-eighth birthday alive and playing together this year with a headlining set at the Showbox, joined by Strung Out and Unwritten Law.
Ricardo Donoso, Patricia Hall, Bardo:Basho
Local experimental label Further Records’ concert series at Chapel continues to thrive with this bill featuring Boston-based Brazilian producer Ricardo Donoso. His music invariably prompts adjectives like “cinematic” and “infernal,” but it bears no trace of cliché or sentimentality—a minor miracle. Immersive, infernal atmospheres in the vein of Lustmord and Demdike Stare intermingle with unpredictable rhythms, and vivid aural drama ensues. Donoso’s 2014 LP as Scuba Death, Nitrogen Narcosis on Further (disclosure: I’ve written some artist bios for the label), is a desolate cosmos of bleak drones, shadowy, paranoid atmospheres, and forbidding rhythms. His music is going to sound fantastic on the Chapel’s sound system. Support comes from two of Portland’s most impressive electronic musicians: ex–Soft Metals synthwave vocalist Patricia Hall and rising minimal-techno maverick Bardo:Basho. DAVE SEGAL
Arthaus 3.0: Haunted Haus
Version 3.0 of Kremwerk's drag-queen battle royale/dance party is upon us. Teams of hilarious and artsy queens will compete for bragging rights, shade throwing rights, and the right to play puppet master at the following year's Arthaus series. As I predicted, Betty Wetter, Cookie Couture, Miss Americano, and Khloe5X of Halfway Haus won the series last year, and they'll be hosting and picking the themes this year. Hellen Tragedy will perform along with returning champions Halfway Haus. Pizzarina Sbarro will DJ. Drinks will be had. RICH SMITH
Def Leppard with REO Speedwagon and Tesla
In what is good news for some and milquetoast news for all, Def Leppard is back on tour (or maybe they never left?) and taking over the Dome with their patented additions to the Tacoma Aroma, including (most likely) cotton candy hairspray atmosphere, Union Jack-print bandana sweat reek, and cocaine nose-blood. Enjoy an evening of British classic rock with smatterings of extended electric guitar solos and yelling about readiness to rock.
Dinosaur Jr., Moon Duo
Long ago and here in town, I wrote that Dinosaur Jr.’s “Feel the Pain” proved that all rock songs were about either “fucking or shooting heroin, and if they shoot me like they shoot apostate Freemasons, fuck it, I’m tired of holding the pose.” Twenty years later, I’ve obligatorily mellowed. Most rock songs are about fucking; many of them are about shooting heroin. “Feel the Pain” is about hiding from the “pain of everyone,” implying that only something as powerful as heroin will kill it. “Almost Ready,” boasting a creakier-than-usual vocal from J Mascis, manifests mystery. The protagonist stands one step from absorption into an unknown awe. Dinosaur Jr. are known for making your ears bleed live, so no matter how cool you are, bring earplugs. ANDREW HAMLIN
Haitian-born, Montreal-raised producer Louis Kevin Celestin, who’s most known to the world as Kaytranada, splashed through the internet hype pools before barging onto critic’s short lists with his debut album, 99.9%, earlier this year. From funk to rap to R&B, his ability to move between heady beat science and easy-listening groove attracted everyone from Anderson .Paak to Syd the Kid to Little Dragon and Craig David (!) to the studio for the occasion. Kay’s music is a prime example of the versatility a producer needs to have in 2016 to stand on his/her own. People are no longer impressed by repetitive soul samples and predictable drops, and Kay keeps listeners engaged by keeping them guessing and keeping them moving. TODD HAMM
Mackned, Lil Tracy, Horse Head, Cam the Mac
Thraxxhouse co-founder and West Seattle native son Mackned headlines at Vera on his Raining Game Tour, with Lil Tracy, Horse Head, and Cam the Mac.
Manatee Commune, Maiah Manser, Jamie Blake, Dream Journal
Manatee Commune is gaining momentum as a producer of pleasant, chillworthy electronic songcraft with crossover potential. The Bellingham multi-instrumentalist has a sweet touch with melodies and a keen ear for vocalists—Moorea Masa, Marina Price, and Flint Eastwood—who complement his dewy, pastel tonal bouquets and delicate rhythmic origami. Manatee Commune’s new self-titled album on Bastard Jazz explores the lushly beauteous, almost symphonic territory of fellow Washingtonians Odesza, but on a more intimate scale. Overall, the production is too well-scrubbed and cute for my taste, but there’s no denying the meticulous craftsmanship of it. This young man’s going to go far. DAVE SEGAL
'80s pop-rock icon Rick Springfield punctuates the EQC with his irreverent showmanship and lifelong soap opera star mystique.
Roladex, Youryoungbody, Pleather, Webdriver Torso
KEXP's Audioasis presents a showcase of local electro-weirdos like Youryoungbody, Pleather, and Webdriver Torso, with a headlining stint from Medical Records darling Roladex.
Star Anna with Naomi Wachira
Star Anna brings her years of singer-songwriter experience and rough-around-the-edges pop sensibilities to the Rendezvous, with renowned folk art songstress Naomi Wachira.
Chief Keef with Guests
Legendary Chicago outlaw Chief Keef leaves his grandma's basement to grace the Neumos stage with his just barely legal hiphop presence.
Squeeze is my ex’s favorite band, or, since she knows the Posies, her favorite band of which she knows zero members. So I got an earful of Squeeze, more than I’d had from MTV, although we’re both MTV babies. She had every album and every track, could chart keyboardist Paul Carrack going in and out, pegged the ebb and flow of the power pop to the personal lives, said they had to break up because at least one somebody couldn’t stop drinking. She had the original version of the slow-burning soul hit “Tempted,” with no Carrack and a breakneck tempo. She’s moving out of town pronto and won’t get to catch this show. Fare thee well, Shorty. You’ll always have a place in my heart. ANDREW HAMLIN