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Bat for Lashes
English singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Bat for Lashes (aka Natasha Khan) makes indie dream pop and folktronica that’s exceedingly emotive. Having established herself as a powerhouse star in the past by touring with Radiohead in 2008, and making big money moves like collaborating with Beck on “Let’s Get Lost” for the Twilight Saga: Eclipse soundtrack in 2010, Bat for Lashes also put out five solid albums between 2006 and 2019. Now she’s kicking off a new era in 2020 by touring in support of her latest full-length, the ’80s-reminiscent Lost Girls, which sees her pulling inspiration from Cyndi Lauper, Bananarama, and legendary film composer John Williams. JENNI MOORE
The Crocodile Presents: C.W. Stoneking, Guests
Australian singer/songwriter/banjo player C.W. Stoneking is the definition of an old soul. The blues artist was as an ideal act for the hot-and-dusty Pickathon music festival, where in 2016, he no-doubt turned swarms of absent-minded (read: stoned) listeners into faithful fans with wholesome renditions of “On a Desert Isle” and “Gon Boogaloo,” the ’60s-harkening title track from his 2014 full-length. Sunset Tavern is exactly the kind of intimate venue you’d want to be at while hearing Stoneking’s gritty vocals and superb “Jailhouse Blues” finger-picking. Always true to style, expect to see Stoneking dressed in his typical clean, all-white garb, and possibly a bowtie. JENNI MOORE
The Marcus King Band
Bluesy Southern-rockers the Marcus King Band will hit the road once again to support their frontman, Marcus King, on tour for his first solo album, El Dorado.
Seattle-based DJ and producer Sángo pulls from Brazilian funk, hip-hop, rap, and R&B to create sounds that get worked into your brain. His New Orleans bounce remix of Frank Ocean’s “Nights” keeps the melancholic mood of the original, but adds a beat you can throw your ass around to. It’s a master work. His “Thank You Weezy” track flips Lil Wayne’s “Cannon,” giving it a throbbing bass line and some soulful, pitched-up vocals. It has definitely saved my life at least a couple of times. Recently, Sángo dropped a second album with R&B singer Xavier Omär, Moments Spent Loving You and produced Grand Rapids rapper Waldo’s Grove. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Dan Rosenboom, Bad Luck
LA-based trumpet virtuoso Dan Rosenboom, deemed "a phenomenon" by the Los Angeles Times, breaks from the classical and experiments with the surreal in his newer work. He'll be joined by local jazz duo Bad Luck for this stop of his Absurd In Anthropocene Tour.
Canadian pianist Laila Biali makes catchy jazz-pop that won her a JUNO Award in 2019. Join her for a night out in Seattle.
With a voice that sounds like it was cut straight from the era when Nancy Sinatra reigned supreme, the music of Portland-based singer-songwriter Alexandra Savior conjures haunted dolls, patterned carpet, and the chill of a forest in winter. It’s cinematic. And full of longing. After working with Alex Turner on her 2017 debut album Belladonna of Sadness (which admittedly reminds me of Arctic Monkeys' Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino), her latest album, The Archer, borrows all the old-school synthesizers and pairs it with a 1970s Italian horror mood. “Crying All the Time” purrs with a woozy sophisticated sadness while “Howl” shimmers with synths, held down by an ominous bass line. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Wolf Parade, Land of Talk
The Montreal art-rock band that’s not Arcade Fire (but has some early ties to it), Wolf Parade had a well-regarded, Polaris-nominated debut in 2005’s Apologies to the Queen Mary (which introduced Spencer Krug’s wildly dramatic and idiosyncratic vocals in the roiling, synth-driven “I’ll Believe in Anything”), and then followed it with two more solid LPs before taking a hiatus in 2011. Wolf Parade returned in 2016 and dropped a fourth studio album in 2017, Cry Cry Cry, which has definite David Bowie appeal but is starker, darker, and more post-punk groove-oriented than past efforts. LEILANI POLK
Teddy Swims, Emily Brimlow
Internet wonder Teddy Swims will bring his smoky vocals to the PNW all the way from Conyers, Georgia on his winter tour.
Luna Performing 'Penthouse' and 'Bewitched'
So, it looks like Luna already have become a legacy act. Performing entire albums for an adoring cult has resulted in lucrative paydays for artists of a certain age, and now Dean Wareham, Britta Phillips, and their fellow Velvet Underground acolytes are cashing in on the nostalgia craze. Tuesday's show for their mellow, golden 1995 LP Penthouse has sold out, so fans should not sleep on tix for Wednesday's Bewitched airing. Released in 1994, Bewitched increases the tempo of Wareham's former group, Galaxie 500, while maintaining the lyrical poignancy and melodic beauty of that influential trio. This record has some of Luna's greatest songs (“Tiger Lily,” “I Know You Tried,” “Friendly Advice”); it's a banquet for sensitive-folk indie-rock obsessives. DAVE SEGAL
Luna will also perform on KEXP on Wednesday at noon.
Schitt’s Creek star, singer-songwriter, and soft Canadian-American heartthrob Noah Reid will bless Seattle with his folksy presence on his first official tour.
Cinéma du Sound
DJs Shane Genet and Matt Drews will accompany visually fascinating movies with some tripped-out tunes.
The Folks Project
The Folks Project, a side collective of local talents D’Vonne Lewis, Darrius Willrich, Evan Flory-Barnes, and Owour Arunga, pay tribute to the legacy of jazz culture and music that came out of the Central District, honoring artists like Quincy Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Ernestine Anderson, Floyd Sandiford, Buddy Catlett, and Anthony Ray, whom you may know as Sir Mix-A-Lot.
Eric Hutchinson is like a younger, better looking (and dressed) Jack Johnson, all innocuous acoustic guitar and piano, bland good vibes, and offensively "soulful" singing. He has been championed by no less than internet anal wart Perez Hilton. ERIC GRANDY
New Jersey-based experimental rock band Pinegrove get a little alt-country on their Rough Trade Records debut, Marigold—their first major venture since frontman Evan Stephens Hall posted on Facebook about being accused of sexual coercion in 2017, resulting in a full year of silence and another year of sporadic shows and interviews, reports the New York Times. Join them in Seattle with Olympia indie-poppers LAKE.
London duo Tender will come to Seattle with their new album, Modern Addiction, which the band describes as "an intrinsically modern look at the irrepressible desire to maintain a love, be it destined or doomed." They'll be joined by XYLØ (aka singer-songwriter Paige Duddy)
This Will Destroy You, Amulets
Do you ever have those dreams where your legs stop working? You’re taking a stroll past your childhood home or you’re walking a strangely unfamiliar route through your once-familiar neighborhood and suddenly each step seems insurmountable. Have you ever suffered from sleep apnea? Have you ever slipped so far into a dream that you wake up in an out-of-breath panic? These are probably the closest approximations to This Will Destroy You’s nitrous-headed instrumentals. Auras of nostalgic melancholia, encroaching doom, bittersweet triumph, and repressed pain are interwoven throughout the Texas quartet’s airy and nebulous arrangements. In keeping with their sleepy vibes, the band is known for demanding a quiet audience, so keep your drunken conversations in the bar. BRIAN COOK
Sonny Landreth and Marcia Ball
Storied Louisiana bluesman Sonny Landreth—renowned for his slide guitar skills—will play a two-night residency downtown with soulful vocalist Marcia Ball.
Dancing on My Own
At this rambunctious dance party in honor of this love-filled (or stiletto- and broken-bottles-filled) holiday, dance on your own or with your friends and lovers as resident Barboza DJs play the best tracks from Swedish pop star Robyn's 2018 album Honey, as well as her classic hits like "Call Your Girlfriend," "With Every Heart Beat," "Hang with Me," and the titular smash "Dancing on My Own."
Eoto, Red Giant
Electronic duo Eoto (Michael Travis and Jason Hann) will lay down improvised jams with plenty of bass drops. They'll be joined by Jersey-based trip-hop downtempo duo Red Giant.
Monster Planet 10.WDE: Worst Date Ever: chapter ei8ht
At this "romantic" edition of the Synprov Corps's trippy, improvised ambient music night, the morphing electronic music collective will accompany a kaleidoscope of love-related images from B-movies.
Reposado, Caveman Ego, Guests
Queens-bred blues-funk outfit Reposado will bring their infectious rhythms to Seattle, with a guest set by Caveman Ego and additional artists.
Alfredo Ghosts, Crazy Eyes, BUGS
Dearest Seattleites, please take note of this stingingly hot “locals only” lineup at Belltown’s ONLY Belltown Yacht Club: BUGS, a duo that shred raw-assed punk; Crazy Eyes, an often earnest-sounding melodic indie-rock group with what feels like a need to rock and to roll; plus headliners Alfred Ghosts, who’ll be engaging all eligible engables with their “extraterrestrial sound,” which, to me, is trashy, raw, cheeky, and FUN, somewhat in the vein of 1990s garage. ALSO, I should note that betwixt each band there will be killer jams spun by Base Tan's Ms. DJ Silk Safari. MIKE NIPPER
Tones and I
Australian pop crafter Tones And I will bring her hugely popular single "Dance Monkey," among other hits, to Seattle.
Bummershoot 2020 - Galentine's Day
Womxn in Bumbershoot present a night of tunes and friendship featuring local singer-songwriter Kate Dinsmore, Leah T, soulful jazz group Marina and the Dreamboats, and Claire Michelle.
Dad-joke-shiller and ex-mulleted country crooner Blake Shelton will bend Tacoma to his Top 40 appeal with additional guests on his Friends & Heroes 2020 nationwide tour.
Eilen Jewell, Guests
Sad, tale-spinning roots-music artist Eilen Jewell tends to brood and sulk in her minor-key-driven brew of folk, blues, honky-tonk, rockabilly, and gospel music. She deals in heartache aptly and more frequently than not—she’s issued nine studio LPs and at least two wear their unhappiness on their sleeve (2009’s Sea of Tears, and 2017's Down Hearted Blues). But she slides just as easily into noirish, western swing (“Voodoo Working”) and vintage country (à la 2010’s Butcher Holler: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn), crooning it all out in a sleek, sultry drawl that’s cool, languid, and so beguiling. LEILANI POLK
Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers
Contemporary sax thriller Mindi Adair will rip through Seattle over Valentine's Day with her bluesy, jazzy band of bad boys, the Boneshakers.
Valentine's Day Dance Party with Grace Love, Reset, DJ Riz, & DJ Almond Brown!
Board a stationary train car for a dance party with Grace Love (whose "music is mostly stripped down to just her soulful, rich vocal, often accompanied only by acoustic guitar or a minimal electro backing track," wrote Stranger staffer Mike Nipper), DJ Riz Rollins (KEXP), and DJ Almond Brown for a soulful, funky Valentine's Day.
Bass Therapy Presents Roller Bass: Valentine's Day
If you're looking for a good opportunity to hold hands, nothing warrants some palm-to-palm action quite like a night of roller skating. Bass Therapy DJs will post up in the middle of the rink and on the bar stage to help keep you moving.
Bootie Mashup: Valentine's Party
Whether you're hitched or single, dress in red and dance the night away to mashups of 2019 pop hits with DJs Freddy, King of Pants and Skiddle.
Melt With You: A Valentines Social
Dig up your prom attire for a Valentine's Day extravaganza with local drag queen Diva Le Deviant, DJs Troy Nelson (KEXP) and Mikey Moo, and performers Snax and J9 Fierce.
VibeSquaD | Mark Starr, DEEP N BASS x Uniting Souls
Appeal to the whims of your EDM-loving valentine at this two-room DJ dance party. DJs VibeSquaD, GriffinGrrl, Korra the Kid, and Rob Noble will take over the Deep N Bass stage while Mark Starr, Erin O’Connor, Tait Modern, and Ramiro fill up the Uniting Souls stage.
The Joe Kay Experience
Joe Kay, the CEO and cofounder of Los Angeles record label and artist collective Soulection, locally known for giving us beloved Seattle sound producer Sángo, will hit the road with his own special set.
Dr. Dog, Michael Nau
A Dr. Dog show on Valentine’s Day seems like a rare treat, which is probably why it’s sold out. Their songs are so charming and heartwarming and sweet—and exuberant! The Philly band’s often howling, always spot-on vocal harmonies are set against vigorous instrumentals that marry 1960s vintage-hued psych rock with folk Americana and indie pop, and the result is an overall well-paced mix of upbeat odes, poignant balladry, and anthemic rock-outs. Maybe you can find an extra ticket floating around somewhere… LEILANI POLK
Dr. Dog will also play live on KEXP at 1 p.m.
Head Over Heels '80s Valentine's Ball with Prom Date Mixtape
Let '80s new wave and synth-pop tribute group Prom Date Mixtape take you back a few decades for a night of high-energy dance music.
Magic City Hippies, The Palms
Miami indie-funk outfit Magic City Hippies are all about pleasing crowds with Miami nightlife energy. They'll come to Seattle to play songs off their debut album, Modern Animal. They'll be joined by psychedelic rock/hip-hop band the Palms.
Paragon Live Presents Ruthie Craft
Join up-and-coming soulful pop-rock artist Ruthie Craft and former American Idol competitor Ruthie Craft for a classic nightclub performance.
Spesh, Dyed, All Hits
Enthralled with British indie rock and the short-lived "baggy" movement of the late-1980s/early-1990s, Seattle's Spesh sound like they're ready to be signed by Creation, the legendary label that released so many definitive shoegaze and Britpop records. Formerly of pop-punk faves Boyfriends, singer Michael McKinney channels charismatic English vocalists such as the Stone Roses' Ian Brown, Happy Mondays' Shaun Ryder, and Adorable's Pete Fijalkowski. Spesh's debut album on Killroom, Famous World, abounds with beguiling, buoyant songs that chime with a muted optimism and ingratiate themselves within seconds. I don't wanna jinx them, but I predict Spesh's sly, melodious rock will be much bigger this year. LEILANI POLK
TRL Total Request Live Night: Smash Mouth’s Steve Harwell, #All4doras, DJ Indica Jones
You really can't get more romantic than Smash Mouth frontman Steve Harwell singing "All Star" to you and your beloved at the stroke of midnight, so grab your tickets to this Valentine's Day-themed '90s and '00s throwback bash. Seattle's only tribute boy band #All4doras will perform some of your adolescent pop favorites, and local DJ Indica Jones will be spinning high school dance hits all night long.
Valentine's Day Concert at the Volunteer Park Conservatory
In the middle of winter, what's more romantic than warm tropical air, lush plant life, and twinkly lights? Add snacks and live music from singer-songwriter Arum Rae Valkonen (featured on American Idol, Pretty Little Liars, and other popular shows) to the mix and you've got an exceptionally nice evening.
Oh my god, Dijon Duenas sounds like pure heartbreak. He blends a type of pared-down, earnest R&B with an indie-rock sensibility that fucks me up. I’m currently crying to “Skins,” which sounds like if the guitar on Frank Ocean’s “Ivy” grew legs and walked itself into a new song. That’s a compliment, by the way. Getting his start as the vocalist of R&B duo Abhi//Dijon, Duenas released his debut solo EP, Sci Fi 1, last year. The woozy, soulful single “Drunk” is perfect for when you’ve had too much and are contemplating texting That Person. Don’t do it. Listen to Dijon instead. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Valentine's Day with Emma Caroline Baker
Jazz, soul, and R&B vocalist Emma Caroline Baker (described in press materials as "a mixture of Norah Jones and Amy Winehouse, with a hint of Lauryn Hill thrown in") will provide sultry jazz tunes.
Valentine's Day with Eric Blu and the Soul Revue, Planet Fly, Occlusions
Eric Blu's sound is a return to classic soul with an emphasis on heavy bass lines, a turn at clever storytelling, and a full set of horns, flutes, strings, and percussion to back up his work. The 11-piece group will be joined by unhurried, nostalgic funk band Planet Fly and electronic duo Occlusions.
The award-winning Aizuri Quartet will make their Emerald City Music debut with a program for strings called "Songs and Echoes of Home."
USC Loves You
High-powered dance music crew USC loves its community so much that they're throwing a two-night Valentine's Day bash with double-digits' worth of talent to keep the decks warm and the floors full for 48 hours. Selectors on Friday night will include Timmy Trumpet, CRANKDAT, Akoma b2b Pandemic, Coltan Johnson b2b Faraday, Graymatter b2b James Gatz, and Frida K b2b Hherb. You'll hear from Valentino Khan, BIJOU, Inaudible b2b Auxcent, Lowsh b2b Thomas Crown, Mortals b2b Kiba, and Alex Bosi b2b Starla on Saturday night.
The Best of Quincy Jones
The catalog of Seattle’s favorite musical icon—well, maybe after Jimi Hendrix—presents a vastly enjoyable smorgasbord of music for a symphony to plunder. Hell, you could build a long, rewarding program strictly around Quincy Jones’s output for film (In Cold Blood, The Hot Rock, In the Heat of the Night, etc.) and TV (“Sanford & Son Theme [The Streetbeater]” is a zenith of the latter medium). The guy may have worked with Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra and produced/conducted the aesthetically egregious “We Are the World,” but Jones is also responsible for loads of sublimely soulful and funky compositions that have gone under the radar, despite his global fame. Let’s hope his lesser-known works get some love from the Seattle Symphony and guest singers and musicians over these three nights. DAVE SEGAL
Depth: Aurora Halal, Archivist, R.Pal B2B Todd Hochradel
Aurora Hala, the founder of Brooklyn dance party series Mutual Dreaming, will headline this edition of Depth with support from secondnature's Archivist and Open System's R-Pal and Todd Hochradel.
The Frogs, the Gods Themselves, Ball Bag
Like a Midwestern Fugs, Milwaukee brothers Dennis and Jimmy Flemion used subversive, sometimes crass humor and folk-rock structures to make you reassess the value of seriousness in music. The Frogs leapt to cult notoriety with their ludicrously lewd 1989 LP It's Only Right and Natural—which finally received a reissue last year. On it, the Flemion bros flouted decorum and religiosity, and celebrated homosexual licentiousness and narcotics. Racially Yours (1993) controversially tackled racial issues with the duo’s trademark brashness. The Frogs became infamous for meshing hilarious lyrics with sincere music, an unconventional approach that they’ve executed brilliantly. Now the surviving Flemion, Jimmy, is touring behind a newly excavated album from 1986, 1st, and despite the songs being more than three decades old, one imagines that they’ll penetrate noggins with a rancid freshness. Don’t forget to shout a request for “Who's Sucking on Grandpa's Balls Since Grandma Ain't Home Tonight?” DAVE SEGAL
KEXP Presents: The Cave Singers, Guests
Though the Cave Singers launched with a sound dwelling in meditative folk terrains, the Seattle outfit has done some evolving over five records, getting louder and incorporating striding rock and breezy psychedelic overtones into their songwriting. 2016's Banshee—their first album minus label backing and entirely crowd-funded by fans—feels as if it were produced beneath a prairie thundercloud; it's vaguely dark and brooding, marked by washes of airy twanginess and strains of melodica, and with highlights in chugging, guitar-fuzzed lead-off track "That's Why" and the slow strutting groove of "Strip Mine." LEILANI POLK
Grammy winner and lifelong lothario Michael Bolton will share the smooth radio-friendly '80s soul-pop that made him famous over three decades ago.
Satoko Fujii Kaze
Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii Kaze and her quartet will treat Seattle to a night of free jazz.
SRJO: Count Basie Meets Duke Ellington
Revisit the legendary collaborations of the genre as the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra performs pieces from the first meeting of the two greatest big bands in jazz history—the Count Basie and Duke Ellington orchestras.
Yola, Amythyst Kiah
Already dubbed the "queen of country-soul," Yola will perform heady tracks from her heavily lauded debut album, Walk Through Fire.