This week, our music critics have picked everything from Federal Way rapper Romaro Franceswa to lo-fi pop-punk Lisa Prank to Los Angeles producer Teebs. 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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King Diamond, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, Idle Hands
Hmmmm, what IS a King Diamond? Um, King Diamond are a killer, proper 1980s metal band with all the lunatic rock theatrics you’d expect, including some light satanism and a dash of cheekiness. This night’s other noteworthy band, while not as over the top as King Diamond, still bring the heat—Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, a heavy contemporary group that dip into the dirgey sludge but still have songs AND solid melodies, er, plus a li’l bit of NWOBHM charm, which certainly helps them to bob above most other recent hesher bands. Rounding out the night is Idle Hands, from PDX, who play heavy, goth-ish metal. MIKE NIPPER
Wild Powwers, Prism Tats, Spesh
Former Stranger writer Amber Cortes wrote of Wild Powwers, “Fans of guitar-driven rock will dig this trio’s wily, grungy ways. Each member contributes to the band’s immense sound: Jordan Gomes builds full and heavy bass lines, Lupe Flores wails on the drums like there’s no tomorrow, and guitarist and vocalist Lara Hilgeman’s forceful voice will rip you apart (in a good way).” Catch them with locals Prism Tats and Spesh.
Tasha, Madison McFerrin
Chicago songwriter Tasha will be joined by New York singer-songwriter-producer Madison McFerrin for an evening set of smooth vocal dexterity and dynamic electronic work.
Moon Duo, somesurprises
I’d already earmarked the aptly named Stars Are the Light as a 2019 favorite a mere one-track deep into Moon Duo’s seventh and latest outing, which shimmers and sighs and glides through electro-psychedelia and krautrock and light disco funk, unfolding in bright, fluid, mellow stretches of grooving sound, luminous and resplendent like a night sky not polluted by city lights. The San Francisco outfit made up of guitarist Ripley Johnson (Wooden Shjips) and keyboardist Sanae Yamada churn out the sort of expansive, languidly undulating sci-fi sounds in which I want to fully immerse my consciousness. Warming the stage on their Seattle date is Seattle’s somesurprises, the lush and hazy shoegazey project helmed by singer-songwriter Natasha El-Sergany, who is celebrating her band’s self-titled debut on Drawing Room Records. LEILANI POLK
Taj Mahal Quintet
Taj Mahal has a voice that makes me feel instantly warm, comforted, and content. Sometimes it’s low, gritty, easy, set against breezy, ambling grooves with vague island vibes (“Satisfied N’ Tickled Too”), other times it’s husky and booming over bright rootsy melodies (“Queen Bee”) or low-down, harmonica-piped R&B (“Leaving Trunk”), and often, it’s plain smoky and soulful and rambling (“Corinna”). Taj has been singing, finger-picking, and instrument-slinging (guitar, dobro, steel, kora, etc.) for more than five decades, heavily infusing his loose brand of blues with elements of rock, R&B, jazz, Americana, and world music (as for that last, go listen to Mumtaz Mahal and Kulanjan for some truly transcendent beauty). He’s also just a cool dude with an impressive collection of wide-brimmed hats, and he is a pleasure to see live. You’ll have many chances on this Seattle run: He’s playing 13 shows over eight days with his quintet, which includes bassist Bill Rich, Bobby Ingano (guitar, Hawaiian lap steel), and drummer Kester Smith, plus special guest Roger Glenn on vibes. LEILANI POLK
Romaro Franceswa, Perry Porter
On his most recent release, Ro, Federal Way rapper Romaro Franceswa speaks of both the trap house and the church. He bridges the gap between these two selves over vibey trap beats, calling out fakes on “Loose” and bringing gospel-inspired runs on “Blessings.” Franceswa will be joined by Seattle-based rapper-painter Perry Porter, whose second album, Bobby Ro$$, pulls audio clips from black painters like Kerry James Marshall and Carrie Mae Weems, and weaves them into his songs to create a vivid musical portrait of Porter’s visual inspirations. It’s dope as fuck. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Pampa, Double or Muffin, Juicy Thompson and the Snuggle Regime
Seattle-based Pampa craft a mix of down-tempo guitar pop, dusty 1970s-vintage-tinged indie folk rock, and neo psychedelia dosed heavily with Latino influences, all of it finished with a layer of gray PNW moodiness. Buenos Aires native singer-songwriter-guitarist Moon Baillie helms the quartet, and his bilingual lyrics are often abstract and delivered in poetic streams-of-consciousness, reflecting on the sun, moon, sky, sand, the idea of home, open land and wilderness versus city, love and life and the passage of time… This is a release party celebrating sophomore full-length La Contumacia (“The contumacy,” meaning “a stubborn refusal to obey or comply with authority”), and the album ranges from the bouncy yet haunted set opener “When the Dawn Is Gone,” to the darkly urgent Crazy Horse–vibing rock of “Maniobrando (Con La Llama),” to the expansive, windswept luster of “So Far (Yes, So Far),” which features guest vocals by the Black Tones’ Eva Walker. LEILANI POLK
We the Kings
On the heels of their new self-titled vinyl reissue, Floridian pop-punk band We the Kings will come through Seattle on their Fall 2019 Tour.
Have we graduated from the PBR&B subgenre, which is a very specific, sort of boring stripped-back style I could never quite get behind? I guess Josh Karpeh, aka Cautious Clay, from Brooklyn, belongs in that class, although his music feels so much more compelling. He draws on hiphop production qualities and experimentation, his sound hinting at elements of gospel, island, pop, and soul. He has a creamy caressing vocal timbre that can hit falsetto notes (so I forgive his use of Auto-Tune), he mixes digital programming with organic instrumentation, and his sonic arsenal includes the sax and flute. The motherfucking flute. Neither is overused in his music. The obvious highlight of his 2018 Blood Type EP is “Cold War,” built on a low-end that pulses like a deeply beating heart, a stark rhythm of woodblock knocks, subtle synth embellishments, and light perc clatters as his vocals ascend elegantly over the top, referencing modern dating, apps, and Instagram habits without coming off like an annoying millennial. (Heart eyes emoji.) LEILANI POLK
WEDNESDAY & FRIDAY
Whether filling an arena or the liminal space between euphoria and heartbreak, Illenium’s dizzying drops and soaring melodies bring an unprecedented level of genuine emotion and musical talent to the EDM soundscape. 2017’s Awake is filled with heartrending yet danceable tracks like “Where’d U Go” and “Sound of Walking Away,” which go harder than the cruelest of breakups. At Illenium’s sets, it is entirely possible (and okay) to dance and cry. SOPHIA STEPHENS
Gram Parsons Tribute
Cosmic country singer Gram Parsons will get the cover-band treatment, courtesy of Country Dave’s annual tribute show.
The Black Tones, Mirrorgloss, La Fonda
Blues-punk post-grunge makers/Hendrixian rock-and-roll torchbearers the Black Tones are led by the fabulous Walker twins, with brother Cedric pounding out the heavy, calculated rhythms, and sister Eva belting it out in a rich, sonorous vocal that varies between full-bodied operatic and fuck-your-face fierce. LEILANI POLK
Kikagaku Moyo, Minami Deutsch
Japan’s Kikagaku Moyo stand as one of the world’s greatest psych-rock bands. Psychedelia at its best is an expansive, diverse musical style, and Kikagaku Moyo prove this by transmogrifying their rock from blissful pastoralisms to fiery freak-outs to a cover of Ananda Shankar’s sitar-strafed burner “Streets of Calcutta.” Certainly KM’s records are great—including 2018’s serpentine, diaphanous classic Masana Temples—but you need to catch them live to fully grasp their magical mastery of many forms. Fellow Japanese outliers Minami Deutsch emphasize the second part of their name in their music, manifesting an exhilarating take on krautrock’s driving, metronomic rhythms and sparse guitar coloration. It’s as if Can and Neu! came back to life in the East. DAVE SEGAL
Seattle’s Tribute to the Last Waltz
Local rockers like Smokey Brights, Gypsy Temple, Kelly Van Camp, and many others will pay tribute to Canadian roots-rockers the Band’s 1978 farewell concert, The Last Waltz. Northwest Harvest will be collecting canned food donations.
50th! Great Records of 1969 – Sly and the Family Stone – Stand! + Janis Joplin – I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!
Sly and the Family Stone are one of the greatest funk and soul groups of all time. For real. And Stand! is arguably one of the best funk and soul albums of all time, both a commercial and artistic high point for Sly—a record rife with catchy earworms and fiery social commentary. It’s the sort of album that slaps with both the classics you know (“I Want to Take You Higher,” “Sing a Simple Song,” “Everyday People,” “You Can Make It If You Try”) and the ones you don’t (the greasy grooving, vox-box psychedelia of “Sex Machine,” the righteous battle cry of funk that is “Don’t Call Me N*gger, Whitey”). I can’t tell you how pleased I am to see that Stand! is one of the two LPs being tackled on this night for the Great Records live album series; the lineup will be piloted by Darrius Willrich (keys, vocals). Also on tap: Wayne Horvitz leading an ensemble through Janis Joplin’s I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!(with Melissa Montalto belting as Janis). This one’s gonna be a scorcher. LEILANI POLK
True Loves, DJ Moohah
Eight-piece instrumental soul crew the True Loves focus on tight grooves and modern soul motions influenced by the generations of the genre before them. DJ Moohah will provide additional support this weekend.
FRIDAY & SUNDAY
Few of Thievery Corporation’s 1990s-era down-tempo electronic contemporaries have shown the durability of core members Rob Garza and Eric Hilton. What they do isn’t innovative or revolutionary, but Thievery Corporation’s clever amalgams of classy lounge music, buttery triphop, dub lite, boho hip-hop, chill bossa nova, and other styles from the international sonic bazaar cohere into a good time soundtrack that makes you feel much more suave and affluent than you actually are. And that’s good enough to sell out the Showbox, even for two dates. Thievery Corporation will be supporting their typically eclectic and tasteful recent album, Treasures from the Temple. DAVE SEGAL
QDA: Queer Disco Affair ft Bronquito, Jenn Green, T. Wan
DJs Bronquito, Jenn Green, and T. Wan will throw down on the decks with their best disco jams at this queer dance party.
A mainstay of Flying Lotus’s renowned Brainfeeder label, Los Angeles producer Teebs (aka Mtendere Mandowa) debuted on record in 2010 with the Ardour album, which fascinatingly merged that era’s underground hip-hop with shoegaze-rock elements. Beneath the quasi-funky beats and serenely morose melodies, there simmered some deep emotions that recalled Boards of Canada’s dreamily unsettling work. Since then, Teebs has forged a solid discography that reflects a meticulous mastery of intricate rhythms and delicately beautiful tunes. He’s consistently one of the most interesting electronic musicians from LA’s fecund scene. His first new music in five years, 2019’s guest-vocalist-heavy Anicca, continues Teebs’s run of luminous releases. DAVE SEGAL
Zoolab, Whitney Lyman, Leash, Jimi Jaxon
Zoolab (Seattle producer Terence Ankeny) is part of Seattle’s recent wave of young producers working in the hazy realm where hiphop entwines with nightbus, that vaporous, downcast strain of bass music birthed from Burial’s fertile imagination. Zoolab’s music makes you nod your head while befogging it with gray clouds of synth, although ebullient rays sometimes shoot through the mist. DAVE SEGAL
Eldridge Gravy & the Court Supreme, Form Destroyer
The many-membered funk party band Eldridge Gravy and the Court Supreme will spice things up after opening sets from Olympia-based future soul group Form Destroyer.
It must be said: Louisiana’s Kevin Gates is one of the most exciting rappers out, a wounded, noble hustler, equally at home with detail-rich street narratives, for-the-ladies jams, and radio-ready crossover shots. His guttural baritone is as instantly recognizable as Ja Rule’s bark or Method Man’s heart-of-gold growl, but what sets him apart is a Scarface-like commitment to gangster storytelling and a fantastic crew of producers, elevating each mixtape track to possible hit status. Not to throw the T-word around willy-nilly, but Gates possesses nearly Tupac-esque levels of self-mythologizing, understatedly serene flow, and gritty realism, which is not praise to be thrown around lightly. KYLE FLECK
Show Me The Body, Urochrome, Gag
Hardcore punks Show Me the Body (progenitors of the “new New York underground,” according to Fader) will come to Seattle ready to fight. They’ll be joined by East Coast experimental band Urochrome and Seattle’s Gag.
So Pitted, Jo Passed, post/boredom, Slow Code
Former Stranger staffer Amber Cortes has described the music of Sub Pop punks So Pitted as “heavy, dissonant, minimalist punk that makes you want to get in trouble with the law. On stage, Rodriguez has the creepy, beguiling swagger of Marilyn Manson without all the cheesy vampire branding bullshit.” Catch them with fellow local punks Jo Passed, post/boredom, and Slow Code.
Daughters, Lingua Ignota
Hardcore Providence rock quartet Daughters will make your grindhouse dreams come true on this Seattle tour stop with multi-instrumentalist Lingua Ignota in tow.
Lisa Prank, Rose Melberg
Underneath the crunchy, lo-fi pop-punk exterior of the music by Robin Edwards’s Lisa Prank is a soft and earnest unspooling of the dynamics of love, relationships, and heartbreak. In her latest release, Perfect Love Song, Edwards plays with the idea of perfection and how our expectations surrounding love don’t always add up to pure bliss, often in a humorous way. Like in “IUD,” she reflects on how she’ll continue to have an IUD longer than the actual relationship she got it during. We’ve all been there. Lisa Prank will be joined by Vancouver-based singer-songwriter twee icon Rose Melberg. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Seattle Rock Orchestra Performs Led Zeppelin I & II
Seattle Rock Orchestra perform rock and pop filtered through an orchestral lens, and they’ll pull apart two iconic Led Zeppelin albums this fall.
Turnover, Men I Trust, Renata Zeiguer
Turnover, a pop-punk/indie-rock band from Virginia, will be joined by Men I Trust and Renata Zeiguer on their autumnal tour. DAVE SEGAL
Songs of Life: A Music Journey of Love & Strength
Johari’s latest good idea, which she did not come up with, but which she is certainly coproducing, is a tribute to the R&B singer Mary J. Blige. The idea first came to one of the show’s featured singers, Ashanti Proctor, who wanted to do a kind of musical play about Blige. But Johari encouraged her to just make it a tribute. Also, they only had a three-month window to organize the event. But why Blige? Well, she has an impressive track record. Her career began in the early 1990s, when she brought the street cred of hiphop to the R&B world without sacrificing its apolitical and black- elegant principles. She has more hits than you can remember. She is still making hits. Lastly, she’s been in the game so long, that, like Bill Murray or Snoop Dogg or Martha Stewart, she’s won the honor of just being cool. It will be fascinating to see what Proctor, Johari, and the rest of the lineup do with her work. CHARLES MUDEDE
Battles have come back with Juice B Crypts, their best album since Mirrored. They proved themselves to be omnivorous collaborators on Gloss Drop, adapting their complex ideas to a wildly diverse array of artists, and that principle enhances the new album. The tracks on Juice B Crypts featuring just Williams and Stanier find ingenious ways to fuse math-rock, abstract electronica, and dance music. “Ambulance” sounds like some new strain of maximalist techno as produced by Boredoms and Magma. The insane title track carries a Squarepusher-esque air of rhythmic hysteria—mad drum & bass in a packed arcade. If Juice B Crypts proves anything, it’s that rock needs to mutate and go off on surprising tangents if it wants to keep sounding vital. Battles’ hybrid energy shows no signs of diminishing, even as their lineup does. DAVE SEGAL
Most notable for his tenure as one of the key bad boys behind Seoul hip-hop label AOMG, Jay Park tops mainstream music charts time and time again for his K-pop collabs and incredibly racy music videos.
ScHoolboy Q, NAV
One of the cornerstones of Southern California–based record label Top Dawg Entertainment, Quincy “ScHoolboy Q” Hanley has consistently provided us with tracks that showcase his versatile lyrical approach, oscillating between chilled-out and aggro. Hanley has always been up-front about his past, delving into his history of gangbanging and drug abuse. While his most salient hit has definitely been 2013’s “Collard Greens” with labelmate Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q’s CrasH Talk (the capitalized “H” in reference to his crew, the Hoover Crips) is a solid entry into his catalog, with cuts like “Numb Numb Juice” celebrating clubbing, flossing, and sexing over booming beats. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Hanson, Paul McDonald, Joshua & The Holy Rollers
Famous corn-fed brother trio Hanson have weathered 22 years in the music biz since their platinum album, Middle of Nowhere, dropped. They’ll be celebrating their longevity on an extended tour, playing throwback tracks from this album, along with newer works.