WE TAKE HOLOCENE III: ALIA ZIN, BLOSSOM, KARMA RIVERA, VYTELL
Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!, and read our story on We Take Holocene III.
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) Read our story on Paul Simon.
PONY TIME, DEATHLIST
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) While most of the Seattle punk bands getting attention lately teeter into noise-rock while still maintaining more traditional pop song structures, Pony Time dive into the deep end of jagged anti-pop. Their guitars are similar to the simple fuzzy chords of bands like Dude York, Mommy Long Legs, and Tacocat, but Stacy Peck's drum fills are almost unheard of in pop music, drawing from metal and hardcore just as much as from their self-proclaimed "disco-garage." Pony Time's 2013 full-length Go Find Your Own explores a range of topics: riot grrrls ("Kathleen Hanna"), "Lesbian Mayor," and silly "Hippy Shit." But Pony Time is at their best on the two-minute suspenseful track "Hex on You," which sounds like putting tin foil in a microwave. Even though you know it's going to erupt into flames, the slow crackling buildup still makes the "when" surprising. CAMERON CROWELL
MACKLEMORE AND RYAN LEWIS, RAZ SIMONE
(Memorial Coliseum, 300 Winning Way) See My, What a Busy Week!, and All-Ages Action!
TAMARYN, TENDER AGE, DJ HONEY O
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) New Zealand-born vocalist Tamaryn inhabits the same otherworldly realm as forebears Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush, and Xmal Deutschland. Her collaborations with Dum Dum Girls, Drew McDowall (of Coil and Psychic TV), and former bandmate Rex John Shelverton showcased a dense and shoegazing wall of sound, but on 2015's Cranekiss, guitars give way to celestial synth pads and Tamaryn's vocals become the focus. The more polished dream-pop sound is tinged with vulnerability, and the whole album is imbued with a distinctly feminine sensuality. DANIELA SERNA
KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD, THE MURLOCS, SUN ANGLE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The new millennium has seen the relatively remote locale of Melbourne, Australia, create its own forefront of groundbreaking underground music. Firebrands like Eddy Current, UV Race, and New War have progressively pushed rock 'n' roll beyond the boundaries of the norm. The newest Aussie sensation to invade American ears is King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, an explosive psych-pop juggernaut that combines Thee Oh Sees' aggressively raw work ethic with the Flaming Lips' visionary shape shifting. Fronting this malevolent maelstrom of sound is the charismatic Stu Mackenzie, whose caveman strums and snarls teeter constantly on the brink of chaos. Intellectual concepts (their newest full-length Nonagon Infinity is an endless Möbius strip of an album) and a legendarily fantastical live show have only fueled the band's meteoric buzz. Judging by their rapidly growing discography, the fountain of creativity is nowhere near tapped. CHRIS SUTTON
TITUS ANDRONICUS, LA SERA
(Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark) See My, What a Busy Week!, and read our story on La Sera.
WAVE ACTION, LADYWOLF, SANTOROS
(Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton) Tonight celebrates the release of local grease-grungers Wave Action's self-titled tape. Their simple, down-tempo surf feels like daydreaming about aquamarine beaches while lying in a lukewarm Fred Meyer kiddie pool on a gray, humid Portland summer day. Los Angeles' Santoros haven't released anything in a few years, but the darkly psychedelic punk 'n' roll of their 2012 release, Ancestros, is enough to make their set worth checking out. They incorporate organ tones and harmonies over twangy guitar riffs to make the weirdest and catchiest SoCal sunshine punk. CIARA DOLAN
GINUWINE, KARLOS FARRAR, WILL JORDAN
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Aside from that man-group (TGT) he tried to form with Tyrese and Tank, every '90s kid knows that Ginuwine—known offstage as Elgin Baylor Lumpkin—was one of the most prevalent and distinct artists that contributed to R&B at the time. His Billboard-toppers are still worthy of heavy rotation: To this day you can play "Pony" in any public or private setting and expect the prompt recognition of every late-twenty-something female within earshot, who will then demonstrate their urgent need to bump 'n' grind. His sexy-smooth hits like "Same Ol' G" featuring Timbaland, "In Those Jeans," and "Differences" were the soundtrack to our way-too-adult thoughts. With a new Timbaland-produced album in the works, this could be a bright new beginning for the singer. JENNI MOORE
THE CURE, THE TWILIGHT SAD
(Sunlight Supply Amphitheater, 17200 NE Delfel, Ridgefield, WA) See My, What a Busy Week!, and read our story on the Cure.
LEON BRIDGES, SOLO WOODS
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) Since releasing Coming Home last year, Leon Bridges has gone from indie-R&B outsider to mainstream headliner. The strength of Bridges' homage is one sure-fire distinction—his vibrancy and voice endear him to Sam Cooke diehards—but his showmanship has always been a cornerstone of his popularity. Appearances on late-night staples like Saturday Night Live, as well as some pretty unforgettable appearances at Pickathon 2015 have spread the gospel of Bridges' soul-lite revue far beyond the buzz of his conception after releasing a couple of songs on SoundCloud in late 2014. Take the Grammy nomination and the chart listings how you want; what's important is that Bridges is building a following based on rare convergences of appeal. RYAN J. PRADO
ODDISEE, SERGE SEVERE, BIG MO
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Oddisee sets New Year's resolutions and follows through. This year alone he's already released two projects—an instrumental album called The Odd Tape and a seven-track EP, AlWasta. His spring tour with his band Good Compny acts as a strong follow-up to last fall's The Good Fight. None of this is surprising; Oddisee has been on top of the independent scene, pulling attention for his multifaceted work as a writer and entrepreneur. Drawing great influence from jazz roots, essential East Coast rap, and his well-noted Sudanese background, he crafts cerebral lines that focus on the value of social currency. In true hip-hop fashion, Oddisee reminds us of where he comes from while looking forward to a new era. EMILY VANKOUGHNETT
CHELSEA WOLFE, A DEAD FOREST INDEX
(Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark) Chelsea Wolfe has seen a meteoric rise to underground fame since her 2010 debut. Her sound treads on the edge of nightmare horror, but her delivery is so soothing that you hardly notice as you're lulled into her dark lullabies. Perhaps it's in her blood, the blues and tormented wails that come from a daughter with a father in a country band. Her work has an air of authenticity and originality that is unsurpassed by most, a simplicity classic in its approach. Her latest EP, Hypnos/Flame, features two new tracks that are a softer take on her signature gothic art folk sound. CHRISTINA BROUSSARD
THE COUP, EASTERN SUNZ, BLOSSOM
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Boots Riley has spent nearly his entire adult life challenging the system, defending the marginalized, and giving voice to the outraged, predominately through the Coup, the Oakland-based hip-hop group he's led since the early '90s. Though Riley is active on many fronts—as a speaker, writer, and community organizer—the Coup has served as his most effective vehicle, blending catchy East Bay funk and hip-hop beats underneath Riley's raspy flow. Riley's lyrics can at times read like a civics lesson in urban economics and dialectical materialism, but he still manages to keep it street. Longtime cohort DJ Pam the Funkstress doesn't go on the road with the group, but the backing band that tours as the Coup can always be counted on to put on a dynamic show, bringing punk rock ethos and energy to hip-hop. Given the way this presidential election is shaping up, I doubt I'm the only one wishing Boots Riley would consider an independent run. If a democratic socialist can make a serious bid for the presidency, why not a Marxist-Leninist? SANTI ELIJAH HOLLEY
SAVAGES, HEAD WOUND CITY
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Bands inspired by '70s and '80s post-punk often focus on the dancey art-funk of groups like Gang of Four or Wire. However, London's Savages remind us that the movement produced several of today's biggest arena acts, like U2 and the Cure. Savages' 2011 debut, Silence Yourself, was refreshingly grandiose, mixing vocalist Jehnny Beth's brooding, Siouxsie Sioux-like vocals with raw guitar anthems and propulsive, angular backbeats. It was a revelation at a time when indie rock—on both sides of the pond—had too long idolized the underachiever, shunning any semblance of "biggest band in the world" careerism. Second records are tough, and Savages' follow-up, this year's Adore Life, is remarkably consistent but doesn't leap from the speakers quite like their debut. Nevertheless, Savages remain a force to be reckoned with, allowing rock 'n' roll's excess to shed light on the crevices of post-punk's gothic legacy. WILLIAM KENNEDY Also see My, What a Busy Week!
YEASAYER, YOUNG MAGIC
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Brooklyn band Yeasayer's 2007 debut All Hour Cymbals intersected with the zeitgeist at an improbable juncture. Its mixture of digital and acoustic instruments, its unflinching new-age mysticism, and its marriage of Eastern and Western musical tropes all worked together to make a slice of exotically ambitious pop. Their 2010 follow-up, Odd Blood, contained two big shiny brass-ring singles ("O.N.E." and "Ambling Alp"), but 2012's Fragrant World followed the irksome, then-current trend of deconstructing what would otherwise be unexceptional soul and dance tracks with truly horrid-sounding digital timbres. Their latest, Amen & Goodbye, isn't exactly a "return to form," then, but it exhibits Yeasayer's not-insignificant skill in crafting a catchy pop hook, which has always been their strongest selling point. While songs like "I Am Chemistry" and "Half Asleep" don't have the forward-looking fearlessness of All Hour Cymbals, they sound like Yeasayer have fully grown into themselves sound-wise. NED LANNAMANN
KAYTRANADA, LOU PHELPS
(Euphoria Bassmnt, 315 SE 3rd) There's no shortage of DJ/producer types working near the nexus of pop, hip-hop, modern R&B, and electronic music these days, so it takes a special sound (or at least a prominent co-sign) to rise from little-known SoundCloud striver to legit star. It takes something more to stand out from the standouts. The Haiti-born, Montreal-based producer Kaytranada has that something—it's been evident for years in his beats and remixes, which skillfully bridge the gaps between radiant future-pop, beat-driven dance music, and smooth, soulful sounds. His debut album, 99.9%, released earlier this month, boasts an eye-popping roster of guest vocalists (Anderson .Paak, Craig David, Vic Mensa, Little Dragon, AlunaGeorge) who turn in solid performances. But Kaytranada doesn't fade into the background. In fact, his fresh, well-crafted tracks shine through and anchor one of the best albums of 2016's first half. BEN SALMON
KEVIN GARRETT, MY BODY, CALM CANDY
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Kevin Garrett co-wrote "Pray You Catch Me," the first track from Beyoncé's gentle juggernaut Lemonade. You're already looking up tickets, right? If that's all you know about Garrett, right now, it's basically enough. He's in his mid-20s, he signed to Jay Z's Roc Nation label just out of college, and he has, like, six songs released total—most of them on his 2015 aptly named EP Mellow Drama. They're all good songs, though "Pray You Catch Me" is a great example of his other work. He's like a kinder, gentler Frank Ocean or a less intense Perfume Genius. Garrett's soul songs are sweet, sad rainy-day croons for walking around and ruminating. His live shows might be the only place to hear new material until his full-length drops. SUZETTE SMITH
PEACH KELLI POP, PATSY'S RATS, HONEY BUCKET
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Peach Kelli Pop is often reduced to descriptors like "sugary" and "sweet." It's true that the LA four-piece—who take their name from the Redd Kross song—make music that's candylike in its addictiveness, but there's much more nuance to their video game-inspired, punk-hued power pop. Their third full-length, last year's Peach Kelli Pop III, includes a cover of the Sailor Moon theme song, and the album's opener "Princess Castle 1987" sounds like a frantic rush to get to the next level of Mario (in the music video they run around LA dressed as Princess Peach before giddily finding Magic Castle). But songs like "Heart Eyes" reveal frontwoman Allie Hanlon's lyrical mastery of the bittersweet, while "Big Man" bemoans self-important mansplainers. Last month Peach Kelli Pop released their brand-new 7-inch, Halloween Mask. The garage-pop title track is a game changer: Through fuzzed-out, electrifying riffs Hanlon sings about the unrealistic and damaging beauty standards women are expected to meet by donning their daily "Halloween masks." CD
THE TWILIGHT SAD, COMPLETIONS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Scottish post-punk band the Twilight Sad has been at it for quite some time, having released four albums since forming in 2003. With mixed reviews coming down the pipe from well-known music publications, their future was uncertain until an enthusiastic endorsement by Robert Smith of the Cure helped garner the recognition they deserve as skilled songwriters with a worthwhile contribution. Their well-crafted wall of sound, led by James Graham's thick Scottish accent, is likely to stick in your head after a few listens. They are currently on a world tour with the Cure (for whom they open on Saturday), but are also doing several of their own headlining performances. CB
KURT VILE AND THE VIOLATORS
(Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark) See My, What a Busy Week!
TIM HEIDECKER AND HIS TEN PIECE BAND, JP INC.
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See My, What a Busy Week!, and read our story on Tim Heidecker.
INSANE CLOWN POSSE
(Hawthorne Theater, 1507 SE 39th) See All-Ages Action!
SPEEDY ORTIZ, THE GOOD LIFE, TANCRED
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Despite repeated critical acclaim from the likes of Noisey, Pitchfork, and Rolling Stone, Speedy Ortiz still manages to feel like one of the current indie-rock landscape's best-kept secrets. Their deliberate, woozy, heart-on-sleeve songs make the political feel personal and the personal feel, well, extra personal. With their most recent full-length, Foil Deer, and forthcoming EP, Foiled Again, frontwoman Sadie Dupuis' lyrics have become even more scathing and smart, touching on the navigation of self-doubt and taking no shit from your would-be aggressors. The band excels at nodding to the '90s without stepping on toes as they find their footing somewhere between grunge sensibilities and off-kilter antihero power anthems. Their visit to the Doug Fir will likely be one of those shows you'll regret not checking out. Save yourself the trouble. JENNA FLETCHER