The 33 Best Music Shows in Seattle This Week: June 11-17, 2018

Ziggy Marley, Yes, the Violent Femmes, and More Critics' Picks
June 11, 2018
Frat boys and misfits both love the Violent Femmes for the same reason: They express frustration like it is, with a liberal splash of wit. They'll come to Seattle on Sunday. (Ebru Yildiz)
This week, our music critics have picked everything from NPR Music’s “Tiny Desk On The Road” show with Naia Izumi, Among Authors, SassyBlack, and Katie Kuffel, to a Puerto Rico fundraiser with Kimya Dawson, Guayaba, and Ruby Blades Latin Reggae Jazz Quintet, to reggae icon Ziggy Marley. 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.

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Sérgio Mendes
Probable father of all Brazilians, Sérgio Mendes has been incalculably influential on pop, jazz, and samba genres as a producer, composer, keyboardist, and vocalist. Enjoy his worldly presence as he breaks out his five-decade-spanning album catalog and really throws around his old school Rio swing.


New Found Glory, Bayside, the Movielife, William Ryan Key
To many old-school purists, the term “pop punk” is considered an insult. Florida’s New Found Glory wear it as a badge of honor, though, with T-shirts reading “Pop Punk’s Not Dead.” At this point, there’s an entire generation of bands like A Day to Remember and Man Overboard who would consider New Found Glory to be pop-punk forefathers, combining the catchiness of Blink-182 with the breakdowns of East Coast hardcore. They are joined by two other longtime heavy hitters in this scene that both happen to be from New York: the Movielife and Bayside. KEVIN DIERS


Janelle Monáe, St. Beauty
It takes chutzpah for an artist to launch their career with a concept album inspired by Metropolis, Blade Runner, and Star Wars, but that's what Afrofuturist exponent Janelle Monáe did on her 2010 full-length, The ArchAndroid. As 2013's The Electric Lady and this year's Dirty Computer have proven, her debut was no fluke (Prince, a primary influence, contributed to both records). In the eight years since, Monáe has become a style icon, an accomplished actor, and a role model for anyone unbound by heteronormative codes with the declaration that her sexual orientation is, essentially, "free-ass motherfucker." KATHY FENNESSY



Burna Boy, Guests
Afro fusion singer/songwriter Burna Boy has a slew of catchy hits under his belt. He'll play some (we assume) as well as new tracks from his latest EP, Redemption.


Alexis Taylor, Annie Hart
The bulk of Alexis Taylor’s musical output has come with Hot Chip, the London indie-electronic band he formed with childhood friend Joe Goddard and led for the past two decades. But Taylor has also quietly launched a solo career where his songwriting chops are thrust into a new context. April’s Beautiful Thing is Taylor’s fourth album, and it finds his trademark choirboy tenor backed by brittle drum machines, plaintive keyboards, and swaths of noise rather than the churn of a full band. Taylor’s solo work rarely strives for the dance floor like Hot Chip, but it’s similarly wistful, thoughtful, and eclectic. ANDREW GOSPE

Caroline Rose, Cardioid, Ings
The second album of East Coast pop-rock songwriter Caroline Rose, LONER, puts a comedic spin on money problems, unfaithful lovers, accidental pregnancies, misogyny, loneliness, and other unsavory subjects. She'll share a bill with Cardioid and Ings.



Ziggy Marley
The honest, upbeat rhythms and lyrics of Ziggy Marley are more on-point than ever with his newest album, Rebellion Rises. With a list of tracks dedicated to the struggle, strife, and salvation of social justice (and the world at large) in 2018, such as “See Dem Fake Leaders” and “I Am a Human,” Marley’s harmonic voice carries through with powerful vulnerability. However, these songs are not all about what Marley thinks—he wants you to be a part of this too, offering songs that invite the listener to push back against the status quo. With a menagerie of musical textures supporting each message of resistance, you’ll sway and dance along to a shared truth with Ziggy. SOPHIA STEPHENS


Ken Vandermark and Nate Wooley
Two of America's heaviest jazz explorers team up at the acoustically excellent Chapel Performance Space tonight. Trumpeter Nate Wooley—who's played with adventuresome musicians such as Joe Morris, Mary Halvorson, Ikue Mori, and Chris Corsano—is renowned for his extended techniques and captivating abstract excursions. Powerhouse saxophonist/clarinetist Ken Vandermark is also a voracious collaborator who's worked with many American and European greats in many contexts. The duo's 2015 album, All Directions Home, includes Ornette Coleman and Fred McDowell covers and original compositions that reveal cerebral, playful interactions that fall somewhere between contemplative chamber jazz and the highest-browed, most intimate prog rock. That being said, these players could go off in many different directions, all of which will keep your ears on their proverbial toes. DAVE SEGAL


Iceage, Mary Lattimore
Iceage are a brooding post-punk quartet known for once attracting sieg-heiling audience members through their embrace of Death in June and other fascism-obsessed figures. They were teens then, and they reject white nationalism, but I hope they're taking notes from other artists about combining heady ideas and enticing sounds without stepping on the toes of the powerless. KATHY FENNESSY


Chris Cohen, Hand Habits, Shannon Lay
Last time Chris Cohen performed in town was when he opened for Angel Olsen for KEXP’s Little Big Show at the Neptune Theater. It was phenomenal, but now you can see the multi-instrumentalist, producer, and past guitarist for Deerhoof showcase his mellow psych rock at the Sunset and let it take you into sonic dimensions song after song. LA’s Hand Habits play a chiller brand of rock and just released a new 7-inch on Saddle Creek. And don’t miss singer-songwriter Shannon Lay—also living that LA life—who will open the night articulating sad melodies with her medley of fingerpicking-style folk. ZACH FRIMMEL

Jonathan Richman with Tommy Larkins
As the cult maestro of the proto-punk giants the Modern Lovers, Jonathan Richman doesn’t need much of an introduction. Since the 1970s, he’s been a freewheelin’ bard, and at age 67 he’s still a scofflaw serenading us with quotidian quips. The fact that he’s playing at the Crocodile means his laid-bare confessions will be more intimate and his lyrical pathos will more closely embrace you. With producer/drummer Tommy Larkins, Jonathan Richman will entertain us with his charm and charisma, plus send us all down memory lane with daft songs like “My Jeans” and inspirationally titled “Velvet Underground.” ZACH FRIMMEL

Minus the Bear, the New Trust, Lemolo
This homecoming show marks the conclusion of indie darlings Minus the Bear’s nationwide Planet of Ice: Anniversary Tour, which celebrates the 10th birthday of their eponymous third full-length album with Suicide Squeeze Records. The moody, growling melodies of the New Trust, who accompanied Minus the Bear on tour, bring the harsher side of sentimentality to the surface. However, this show is not all edge—you just might float away into a soundscape with local dream-pop outfit Lemolo. SOPHIA STEPHENS

Speedy Ortiz, Anna Burch, Roseblood
Speedy Ortiz’s new single from this year’s Twerp Verse album, “Villain,” covers singer Sadie Dupuis (or a simulacrum thereof) and her encounters with a creep. Things might not be going so bad, until the porn question comes out. Guy apparently doesn’t know that you don’t discuss porn on the first date, let alone before a first date. A more extreme example of what the band does naturally: interchanges undercut with interior monologues and ponderings, doubts, about what could or should get said next. In her songs, Dupuis explores desire and obligation, each going for the choke hold on the mat. ANDREW HAMLIN

Canadian indie pop five-piece Stars are on tour for their eighth studio album, There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light, having played together now for 20 years.


Naia Izumi, Among Authors, SassyBlack, Katie Kuffel
NPR will team up with KEXP to take their beloved Tiny Desk series—which features mini live performances from all manner of musical acts—on the road. The lineup includes 2018 Tiny Desk Contest winner Naia Izumi, plus local artists who entered the contest this year: Among Authors, SassyBlack, and Katie Kuffel.



Great Women of Country Tribute Series: The Music of June Carter & Loretta Lynn
For this installment of a series that highlights prolific women country singers of the past and present, local musicians will reimagine the classic ballads of country queens June Carter and Loretta Lynn. Performers include Annie Jantzer, Kara Hesse, Lana McMullen, Katie Sweeney, Kristin Chambers, Christy McWilson, and Tekla Waterfield.


A Story of Rats, Sterling Serpent, QoQo Roboqs, Sharlese
A Story of Rats are back! Sidelined while keyboardist/composer Garek J Druss temporarily dwelled in London (the former Seattle artist now lives in LA), the group re-formed long enough for Druss and fellow synth master Daniel Salo (plus drummer Andrew Crawshaw) to record The Immeasurable Spiral LP with producer Randall Dunn. Released in April, the album finds the trio summoning gothic melodic grandeur, profoundly solemn choral chants, and stately, processional tom-tom and kick-drum beats. The effect comes across like slow-motion 21st-century Swans in an exceptionally contemplative mood... in a 14th-century Central European cathedral. This music is almost unbearably beautiful and possibly the most absorbing material ASOR have created to date. Check it out at DAVE SEGAL


A Place to Bury Strangers, Sextile, Haunted Horses
In Martin Scorsese's extravagantly violent Casino, the sun-blasted desert outside Las Vegas turns out to be a (fantastic) place to bury strangers. Add a few capital letters, and it's also the name of a famously loud Brooklyn trio (Oliver Ackermann, Dion Lunadon, and Robi Gonzalez) who take their Wall of Guitar cues from the Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine. Over the course of four full-lengths, including 2015's Transfixiation, a Place to Bury Strangers haven’t exactly reinvented the wheel, but the way they give their handiwork a darkwave twist rescues them from the ranks of the revival act. Their squall is so deep, rich, and all-encompassing, you could lose yourself in it for days. It's an acid trip without the paranoiac side effects. KATHY FENNESSY

Did you see that Kanye West sampled Yes's awesome “Heart of the Sunrise” for a track on Pusha T's new album, Daytona? That warped keyboard drone sounded dope in a hiphop context, and the money earned from said sample should make life easier for cowriters Jon Anderson and Bill Bruford—both of whom aren't in this configuration of Yes. However, guitarist and senior member Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, keyboardist Geoff Downes, and company will run through the legendary UK prog-rock group's most iconic numbers and probably also some deep cuts that reflect Yes's mastery of majestic song structures, complexly beautiful melodies, virtuosic instrumentation, and lyrics that make you say, “Huh?” Even at this late date, theirs is no disgrace. DAVE SEGAL



Leonard Bernstein's Wonderful Town
American composer Leonard Bernstein's soaring 1953 Broadway musical Wonderful Town will be brought to life by the Seattle Symphony, as they play pieces of the score like "Christopher Street," "A Little Bit in Love," "Ohio," and more.
No performance on Friday


Ramsey Lewis
With almost 68 years of recordings and live performances to his name, Chicago soul-jazz keyboardist Ramsey Lewis can bestow treasures on Triple Door's crowds for three nights in a row without repeating himself. He's always been a preternaturally smooth operator on electric and acoustic pianos, as adept with dulcet ballads as he is with rousing up-tempo jams. He’s also had his astral and funky phases, as did most jazz musicians in the 1970s; go to Sun Goddess—a rare example of a heady album that was wildly popular—for the strongest convergence of those styles. Lewis is also an exceptional interpreter of other people’s compositions, with the Beatles songbook being a particular specialty, as the 1968 LP of Fab Four covers, Mother Nature's Son, proves. The man’s oeuvre is an elegant joy, in any mode. DAVE SEGAL



[untitled] 3
Seattle Symphony's [untitled] series is about as cool as the symphony gets. The show starts late, everyone sits on the floor of the Benaroya Hall lobby (there are also chairs), people walk around drinking and looking great, and the orchestra plays some captivating / completely weird shit you've likely never heard of before. Featured compositions this evening come courtesy of Mason Bates, Seattle Symphony composer in resident Alexandra Gardner, and Ahmet Adnan Saygun. Bates's Red River weaves creepy-drippy electronic sounds with even creepier strings. Gardner's Coyote Turns for string quartet brightens things up a bit and takes us on a nice little walk through the woods, while Saygun picks the room up and transports it to the foothills of Turkey. RICH SMITH


Travis Thompson, Karma Knows, Parisalexa, U Moore
That particular strain of fresh-faced everydude rap that is so beloved in Seattle has an unlikely new hero in 21-year-old MC Travis Thompson, a stoner goofball who revels in cocky wordplay. He reps hard for the southwest side of town, even naming his 2016 debut tape Ambaum, for the street that runs between White Center, Burien, and West Seattle. He’s worked a bunch with Sol’s chief collaborators, Nima Skeemz and Elan Wright, so his sound tends toward the lean, live-band sound approach, though Thompson also fit in time to rock over a Jake One beat—all of which has helped dude’s SoundCloud hit over a million plays. Good for him and great for White Center—too bad it wasn’t in time to save Muy Macho Taqueria. LARRY MIZELL JR.


Gaytheist, Old Iron, Maximum Mad
With song titles like “Avenged Seven-Minute Abs,” “Post-Apocalyptic Lawsuit,” and “Wisdom of the Asshole,” it’s easy to realize that for as loud as Portland-based trio Gaytheist can get, they’re far from being the kind of metal band that takes themselves too seriously. Their latest album, 2017’s Let’s Jam Again Soon, explodes with short, fast rock 'n' roll fun, played with a sharp hardcore edge. Good to Die labelmates Old Iron also released one of the heaviest metal releases from the Northwest last year, Lupus Metallorum. Show up early to let them bathe you in their pure sonic fury. KEVIN DIERS


Korean pop and hiphop dance group UP10TION have been riding a wild wave of publicity since their first full-length album dropped. This is their first United States tour.



Howlin' Rain, David Nance
Howlin’ Rain win my heart when they get crazy, so fortunately for me (and the rest of the world, I’m pretty sure), they get crazy fairly often. Yes, I see you, creased cynic in the back row grimacing and moaning, “Why don’t they just put on old Cream records?!” One answer (among several): the visceral. Nothing wrong with Howlin’ Rain on record, especially in a fast car with a black dashboard. But live, they hit your skin and blast right through your internal organs and out the other side, and you ripple. You resonate. Remember earplugs, though! ANDREW HAMLIN

Live from Here with Chris Thile & Guests: Ben Folds, Dave Hill, & Gaby Moreno
Known best for being the mandolinist and singer of Nickel Creek and the Punch Brothers, Chris Thile now also hosts the new Prairie Home Companion, renamed as Live From Here. He'll be joined by Ben Folds, Dave Hill, and Gaby Moreno.


Lusio Lights Georgetown: Experimental Housewife, T.Wan
Wandering around Volunteer Park last year through Lusio's effervescent light installations was a summer highlight. While Georgetown may be less lush, the confines of Bar Ciudad offer other pleasures: food, drink, and a proper sound system, since nothing pairs better with eye candy for the artistically inclined than a stellar soundtrack. TUF stalwart T.Wan will join San Francisco's Experimental Housewife, who last brought her drone-inflected set to Seattle for Decibel Festival in 2015. GREG SCRUGGS


Earshot Jazz Presents: Broken Shadows with Chris Speed, Tim Berne, Dave King, and Reid Anderson
I used to do the Summer Jazz program in Seattle with Chris Speed. He tried to teach me the sax altissimo range—"You just bite." Well, he was a lot better at biting—and everything else—than I was. I gave up saxophone, but Speed never did; he went off to NYC to make his bones, and now he’s back to shake a tail feather. He can screech when he wants to, but he often sticks to a dry-toned line that bursts from simple phrases to long eighth-note excursions. ANDREW HAMLIN



Aly & AJ
Aly and AJ Michalka are a sisterly duo who were a part of the early '00s Disney Channel pantheon of smiling blondes in recurring cheerleader-girl-squad-escapade movie and TV roles who pursue a music career for no reason other than that they can. They're back on the scene for the first time in 10 years under their original "Aly & AJ" moniker to celebrate the release of their new EP, Ten Years (natch).

Chris Isaak
Chris Isaak is not quite Roy Orbison, but he is now 10 years older than Orbison ever was, which shocks me, anyway. Isaak’s rockabilly growl resembles Orbison’s more playful teddy-bear style—but again like Orbison, he sails high notes across shimmering backings, creating a virtual beachscape so smooth and so eerie, you have to get in your car and drive, just to give it some rubber-tire roughage. Easy to say Isaak’s style never escapes stylization, but I disagree. Maybe it’s because I spent so much time on those lamentations in my MTV days. And I never learned to drive. ANDREW HAMLIN

Violent Femmes, Marcia Mello
Violent Femmes tapped something deep, something dark and sweet and a little scary, with “Blister in the Sun,” a song that can be taken up by guitar, sax, or a bunch of deeply drunk folks shuffling en masse up and down dorm stairs to celebrate a rare day of hot weather in the Northwest. Frat boys love them and misfits love them for the same reason: They express frustration like it is, with a liberal splash of wit. Naysayers say nothing past the first album makes any difference, but try (just for an example) 1986’s “I Held Her in My Arms,” where the sax says something every go-round, something Gordon Gano’s afraid to put into words. ANDREW HAMLIN


Kimya Dawson, Guayaba, Ruby Blades Latin Reggae Jazz Quintet
Former K Records darling Kimya Dawson has been writing songs in the Pacific Northwest for a very long time. She, Guayaba, and Ruby Blades Latin Reggae Jazz Quintet will donate proceeds from this show to Puerto Rico relief efforts.