Music Picks: October


The Script
Irish pop rock group The Script are one of those bands that have always been around, you just didn’t know it was them. Songs like “Breakeven,” “Superheroes” and “Hall of Fame” are some of their most popular singles and have popped up in shows like 90210 and The Vampire Diaries. Lead singers Danny O’Donoghue and Mark Sheehan even had brief stints before the band formed as writers and song producers for artists like Britney Spears, Boyz II Men and TLC. The Snow Patrol and Coldplay-influenced rockers are back and on tour with their fifth studio album, Freedom Child. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $55. Lincoln Theatre: 1215 U St. NW, DC;


The Huntress and the Holder of Hands
MorganEve Swain just released Avalon, the debut record of her solo project The Huntress and the Holder of Hands, and began touring last month. This is happy news for her, though the impetus for the record is heavier. She’s best known for her work in the indie folk duo Brown Bird. David Lamb was the other part of the string and bass-driven band, which had seen national and international success; however, Lamb passed away in 2014 from complications due to Leukemia. In dealing with his passing, Swain began to write for the Huntress and the Holder of Hands, which she refers to on the website as a “vessel for exploring grief and growth.” Doors at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC;

Manchester Orchestra
Atlanta rockers Manchester Orchestra, named after the English city of Manchester, are back on tour with their fifth album, A Black Mile to the Surface. Their sound for this album comes across as cinematic and expansive, a big change from their usual heavy dose of guitar-and-typical-rock-song formula. With a lineup change and the chance to write the score for 2016 film Swiss Army Man, Manchester has returned with an exotic album filled with full, dreamy piano and vocal harmonies to enhance their classic rock sound. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $23. The Fillmore Silver Spring: 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD;


The Secret Sisters
For all you bluegrass/folk fans out there who like Nickel Creek and Brandi Carlile, this one’s for you. Country singer-songwriter duo Laura and Lydia Rogers, often compared to The Everly Brothers, are back with their third album, You Don’t Own Me Anymore. The road for the Alabama sisters has not been easy. After the release of their second album, Put Your Needle Down, they faced a lawsuit with an old manager, and were also dropped by their record label in 2015 from a lack of commercial success. The sisters had just about given up when Secret Sisters’ fan and tourmate Brandi Carlile came along and invited them to open shows for her. Eventually Carlile would go on to produce their latest album. A truly authentic, mesmerizing act, The Secret Sisters are not to be missed. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $15. The Hamilton: 600 14th St. NW, DC;


Cigarettes After Sex
It took some time for songwriter Greg Gonzalez’s pet project, Cigarettes After Sex, to catch on. Gonzalez began the project in 2008, and the group saw the release of its first EP in 2012, but it was only around 2015 that the group began catching on beyond their niche followers. It was their cover of REO Speedwagon’s “Keep on Loving You” that really drew the public’s attention. Their interpretation of the soft rock power ballad lays new emphasis on the “ballad,” but the power is lost somewhere in the space of the mix. Much of their music is in this same vein – uncommonly intimate, though soft enough and with enough space to not be cloying. This June, they released their first full-length LP, the eponymous Cigarettes After Sex. 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC;


All Things Go 2017
Entering its fourth year, the All Things Go 2017 lineup brings top acts in hip-hop, electronic music and alternative rock. National performers Foster The People, Young Thug and Vince Staples help make up the lineup, which features several other names that will make you stop and think, “I’ve definitely heard of that person/band.” Plus, as with most festivals, there is food and beer to be consumed. All of this is packed into NOMA’s Union Market, so don’t limit yourself to an opener and headliner when you could see band after band, act after act at All Things Go. Various times. $69-$169. Union Market: 1309 5th St. NE, DC;


OPUS 1 Festival
For those looking to get to one last musical festival before winter sets in, but want something a little off-the-wall, the newly renovated Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods is set to host the first ever OPUS 1 Festival. Inspired by the woods of Downtown Columbia, Maryland, the festival will blend immersive art installations and musical performances with the addition of treetop projection mapping to give concertgoers a unique, sensory experience. Performances include Hibridos Live, inspired by Brazilian ritual dance and sound, and EXO-TECH Galactic Hearth, an improvisational ensemble that explores jazz and R&B fusion led by Sophia Brous, to name just two of the 11 presentations. The festival is the first part in a three-year project that aims to bring art and new culture to the area. Additional attractions include artisanal offerings and a bonfire. Doors open at 4 p.m. Admission is free. Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD;


Glass Animals
Glass Animals got their start in Oxford, England. The group manages an interesting mix of indie guitar, songwriting and electronic production. To that extent, they might draw comparisons to the also England-based Alt-J, but their electronic production is more hip-hop influenced. The group is still touring their second record, How to Be a Human Being, which they released in 2016. The songwriting on the record treats each track as its own story with a narrative and protagonist. The project has gone beyond the record too, and for some of the characters (or songs), there are even entire websites. Although the impetus of the record is quite literary, the music is still unabashedly pop. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $41. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC;

Kid Cudi
Cleveland, Ohio’s Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi, or Kid Cudi, is perhaps best known for his 2009 single “Day ‘N’ Night.” Initially a more traditional rapper who was first discovered and signed to a label by Kanye West, Cudi has shifted to a more alternative hip-hop/rock sound. Now he’s back on tour with his new album, Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’. With guest collaborations ranging from Andre 3000 to Willow Smith, Kid Cudi continues to push the envelope on music that can be placed largely in one category with an expansive and dramatic, but also introspective, album. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $58. Echostage: 2135 Queens Chapel Rd. NE, DC;


Charli XCX
British electro-pop artist Charli XCX has hit the road with fellow pop musicians Halsey and PartyNextDoor. She’s best known for songs like  “Boom Clap,” which made its way up the charts thanks to teen sappy movie The Fault in Our Stars, and a featured performance on Iggy Azaelea’s hot 2014 summer track “Fancy.” Charli blends posh rapper girl with hints of sweet pop, and her latest album, Number 1 Angel, delivers just that. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $30. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC;

It hasn’t taken long for New Jersey electro-pop artist Halsey to make a name for herself in the ever-changing pop world. Her 2015 debut album BADLANDS grabbed positive reviews from the get-go, including Joe Levy of Rolling Stone citing Halsey as a “new pop star with a knack for sticky imagery.” Halsey herself described the album as a concept album about a dystopian society that was a metaphor for her mental state at the time. With her popularity at a respectable level for someone just entering the industry, she shot to new heights with The Chainsmokers’ 2016 collaboration, “Closer.” As for her second and newest album, hopeless fountain kingdom, Halsey continues to bring chest-pounding electronic beats with her flare for the dramatic, such as her opening song, “The Prologue,” which includes the artist citing an excerpt from the opening of Romeo and Juliet. Often melancholy and a little pissed off, hopeless fountain kingdom proves to be another great, synthy-pop album for Halsey. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $30. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC;


The California Honeydrops
The California Honeydrops don’t just play music – they throw parties. Led by dynamic vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lech Wierzynski, and drawing on diverse musical influences including R&B, funk, Southern soul, Delta blues and New Orleans second line, the Honeydrops bring vibrant energy and infectious dance-party vibes to their shows. Doors open at 7 pm. Tickets start at $20. Write-up provided by venue. Gypsy Sally’s: 3401 K St. NW, DC;

This all-star band calls themselves Hudson, named after the Hudson River Valley they each call home. Drummer Jack DeJohnette, bassist Larry Grenadier, keyboardist John Medeski and guitarist John Scofield have teamed up to celebrate their musical histories and Jack’s 75th birthday year in a tour de force of creative interplay. Fans know them as hard-swinging jazz masters, deft and creative jam purveyors, and rocking funky groove maestros – each musician at the top of his game. It’s rare that so impressive a group of individuals finds time away from their own projects to tour together. True to the spirit of the project’s name, they have collected a repertoire of Hudson Valley materials, from Bob Dylan and The Band to Joni Mitchell and Jimi Hendrix. Doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Tickets $29.75-$73.25. Write-up provided by venue. The Hamilton: 600 14th St. NW, DC;

Sydney Bennett got her start with the Odd Future Collective as Syd tha Kyd. She produced for Odd Future and became a vocalist for the collective as well. She then went on to become the lead singer and songwriter for the band The Internet. Fin, her solo record as Syd, is her first release since The Internet’s Ego Death. The 2015 album received widespread critical acclaim, and not just for the music with its R&B influences and instrumental work from Steve Lacy, but also for its songwriting, noted for its honesty and unique perspective. Fin builds off that same approach to songwriting, although the production itself is quite different and more trap and pop-inflected. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25. The Fillmore: 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD;


Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
Married country music duo Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are on tour together, performing songs like their recent duet, “Speak to a Girl.” Their tour, SOUL2SOUL, is also set to air on Showtime on November 17. Three-time Grammy winner McGraw has long been an icon in the country music industry, as well as acting in movies like The Blind Side. Five-time Grammy winner Hill is one of the most awarded female artists of all time, particularly in country, but with several genre overlaps. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $69. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC;


Skylar Spence
If you’re already deep in the YouTube wormhole that is vaporwave and future funk, you certainly know Skylar Spence, even if not by that name. Skylar Spence is a continuation of the Saint Pepsi music project from Ryan DeRobertis. As mentioned above, Spence’s music is what is referred to as future funk. It’s largely sample-based music that draws on disco as well as K-pop. Spence’s choice samples set against his own electronic beats and bass lines make for some incredibly danceable tunes that are fun as hell. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10. Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House: 2475 18th St NW, DC;


Effortlessly cool is the phrase that comes to mind when I think of Phoenix. I mean, they are French, and have that nerdy-hipster vibe going on. The light-hearted alt-rockers are back with their latest album, Ti Amo. They’ve been on the scene since 2000, but the band really rose to popularity with their fourth album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, in 2009. The album, which won Best Alternative Music Album at the 2009 Grammy Awards, delivers synth sounds with an up-tempo beat that makes you want to dance around your room. Not too far from that same recipe comes Ti Amo, a more laidback album with plenty of “effortlessly cool” attitude and foreign lyrics that will take you from a cafe in Italy to “sunbathing in Rio.” Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $45. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC;


The punk band returns to the Rock & Roll Hotel this fall touring their seventh studio album, Victory Lap, just released last month. As the band’s name and record titles suggest, the Canadian band has a very particular approach to punk music that is a mix of a radical pro-gay, pro-feminist, pro-civil liberties and anti-facism, with a sardonic sense of humor. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25-$30. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC;


LCD Soundsystem
LCD Soundsystem is back. The dance-punk group first came on the scene in 2002 for their single “I’m Losing My Edge,” and has enjoyed popular and critical success since. But following their third studio album, This Is Happening, and certainly after their last official show in 2014, it looked like they had disbanded for good; however, they’re back with a new record and on tour again. Their brand new record, American Dream, has already received widespread critical acclaim. In an open letter to lead singer James Murphy, Father John Misty described some of the new tracks as “miraculous,” which makes sense; though LCD Soundsystem’s alternative, electronic dance tracks could not be further from Father John Misty’s acoustic guitar and piano-based ballads, they share a similar ethos of cynicism and social satire. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $61.75. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC;


Ministry and Death Grips
You might not have thought of these two bands in the same sentence, but the industrial metal group and experimental rap trio are coheadlining a tour this fall. The two groups do in fact bear resemblance to one another on a few different levels. Though Ministry is an industrial metal group, their metal is seldom guitar-oriented, and employs similarly insistent and noisy drum machines as Death Grips. The rap trio might use these same drum machines in a much more abrasive way, but the music resemblance is there. They also have a similar ethos. Death Grips is known for their hardcore, anarchist lyrics while Ministry is preparing the release of their next studio album, AmeriKKKant, from which they’ve already released one track, “Antifa.” Doors at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35. The Fillmore: 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD;

Sergio Mendes
Grammy Award-winner Sergio Mendes’ influence on the music industry has spanned five decades, and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Mendes’ signature mix of bossa nova, samba and pop have come to define Brazilian music. His classic song “Mas Que Nada” is the first Portuguese language song to ever hit Billboard’s U.S. pop chart, making the composer, keyboardist and vocalist one of the most successful Brazilian artists of all time. 8 p.m. Tickets are $29-$69. Write-up provided by venue. Strathmore: 5301 Tuckerman Ln. North Bethesda, MD;

Vance Joy
Australian singer-songwriter James Keogh, better known as Vance Joy, showed up on the indie scene in 2013 with his ukulele-based hit “Riptide,” a song inspired by his family vacations on the Australian coast at the Riptide Motel. With just one album under his belt, the guitar/ukulele-playing musician has captured listeners with his sing-along lyrics and coffee-house instrumentation. For his first U.S. tour, Joy was the opening act on Taylor Swift’s 1989 tour, but now he’s back as the headlining act with the new single “Lay It On Me.” Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $55. Lincoln Theatre: 1215 U St. NW, DC;


21 Savage
Atlanta-born rapper 21 Savage released his debut studio record, Issa Album, in July. Compared to Atlanta contemporaries Young Thug and Lil Yachty, 21 Savage seems a bit harder to reach. “Oh Yeah,” off of Young Thug’s 2017 Beautiful Thugger Girls, looks impossibly cute with its mentions of Young Thug out riding on his bike alongside 21 Savage’s raps, which are less than unapologetic in their content. Savage grew up in Atlanta’s Ninth Ward, the difficulties and even triumphs of which undoubtedly shape his music and his raps. 10 p.m. Tickets are $36.80. Echostage: 2135 Queens Chapel Rd. NE, DC;


Moon Taxi
If you haven’t seen groovy, bluesy band Moon Taxi in concert, I strongly recommend it. Whether you know the lyrics to all their songs or have only listened to them a handful of times, the Nashville indie rockers know how to make the crowd dance and have a good time. Inspired like many by the current political atmosphere, Terndrup says their new album will fall in line with their most recent single, “Two High.” Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC;

German DJ Zedd has reached beyond the EDM scene, where he made a name for himself with heavy-hitting drops, and has proven to be a dance-pop favorite. After spending a few years in the EDM scene, Zedd explained in a Fader interview that he wanted to switch it up, and started adding vocals to his beats. Flash-forward a few years, and you get his radio-friendly tracks like “Stay the Night,” featuring Hayley Williams from Paramore. Whether flipping stations on the radio or at the club, chances are you’ve heard his singles like “Clarity” featuring Foxes, “Get Low (with Liam Payne)” and 2017 summer hit “Stay (with Alessia Cara).” Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $41. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC;


Mild High Club
Mild High Club is a psychedelic pop group led by Alexander Brettin. Like the name suggests, their detuned style of indie rock easily falls into place alongside contemporaries like Mac Demarco’s “jizz-jazz” music or HOMESHAKE’s lo-fi pop. But the name also belies the complexity of their arranging, and the strength of their songwriting. Although their choice of instrumentation isn’t as orchestral as indie acts like Sufjan Stevens or Grizzly Bear, they share a similarly dense approach to songwriting, outfitting the mix with different instruments across all frequencies. The songwriting is just plain listenable – a sort of Isley Brothers meets The Beatles. That’s hyperbole, but still! Doors at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12-$14. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC;


Third Eye Blind
If you even remotely like alternative music, you’ve heard of alt-rockers Third Eye Blind, and have likely sang loudly and probably out of tune to their music as your guitar-playing friend jammed on the couch at a house party. Either way, it’s impossible not to dance and sing along when someone fires up “Semi-Charmed Life,” or to travel straight back to the 90s when you hear “Jumper.” If you’re on a nostalgia trip, or just want to have a jam-filled night, check the band out on tour as they celebrate the 20th anniversary of their first commercial, self-titled album. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $45. The Fillmore Silver Spring: 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD;


The Head and the Heart
Indie folk group The Head and the Heart has seen a quick rise to popularity over the past few years. Their success is a welcome turn after lead vocalist and writer, Josiah Johnson, spent some time fighting a drug addiction. The group is still touring their 2016 record, Signs of Light, which is a great mix of folk-driven music that draws on some Beatles-esque, pop songwriting chops. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $45-$75. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC;


Reckless Kelly
Understanding the virtuosity of Reckless Kelly requires the perspective of where the band has been. Cody and Willy Braun grew up in the White Cloud Mountains of Idaho. They moved to Bend, Oregon, and then migrated to that great musical fountainhead: Austin, Texas. The band’s cofounders and frontmen toured the country as children with their father’s band, Muzzie Braun and the Boys. They overcame hardships, struggled for recognition, and learned the lessons of the trial and error that defined them. Doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $20-$25. Write-up provided by venue. The Hamilton: 600 14th St. NW, DC;


Bad Suns
Inspired by 70s and 80s post-punk acts like The Cure and Elvis Costello, California alt/indie rockers Bad Suns are back on tour promoting their second studio album, Disappear Here. With a passionate fan base and media presence early in their career – and talent to back it up – Bad Suns’ sophomore album delivers more of their signature angst and ethereal vocals that make you want to dance. While songs off their new album like “Disappear Here” and “Heartbreaker” resemble pop hits, most of the tracks on the album have that identity and purpose-searching vibe of young musicians, and people everywhere, in their early 20s. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC;


What angsty youngster didn’t listen to goth rockers Evanescence in 2003 during the band’s prime of Fallen, which also won them two Grammys? If you don’t sing “Bring Me to Life” at the top of your lungs every time you hear it, you’re lying. After their third album, the band took a hiatus. Six years later, Evanescence has returned with their fourth album, Synthesis. Lead singer Amy Lee said the album is new territory for the band, experimenting in orchestral and electronic sounds, and they’ve even added a full orchestra. Relive your childhood and headbang along to the reintroduced Evanescence. Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $52. Theater at MGM National Harbor: 101 MGM National Ave. Oxon Hill, MD;

Self-described as high-performance rock ‘n’ roll, RAQ has been touring as a four-piece band for over a decade now. Their unique sound, featuring complex song structures and quirky-yet-accessible lyrics, has their older fans wishing the band was still full-time and the younger generation wondering what they have missed. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $15. Write-up provided by venue. Gypsy Sally’s: 3401 K St. NW, DC;