Atish

Music Picks: May 2018

SUNDAY, MAY 6

Bullet For My Valentine
Come rock out with Bullet For My Valentine and hopefully hear songs off of their latest album, Gravity, set to release on June 29. With influences like Metallica and Slayer, lead singer Matt Tuck wasn’t kidding when he said BFMV is a “hard rock band with metal influences.” I’m secretly praying they’ll play “Tears Don’t Fall” and “The Poison.” Doors open at 6:30 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $27-$81. The Fillmore: 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD; www.fillmoresilverspring.com

MONDAY, MAY 7

Panda Bear
Noah Lennox, a founding member of Animal Collective, has been making music as Panda Bear since his teenage years when people first noticed his penchant for drawing pandas on his mixtapes. His last record, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper (2015), is a down-tempo electronic record. In its synths and drums, and even the progressions, it’s reminiscent of 80s synth pop, but in its overall mood it feels more like experimental chill wave. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com

TUESDAY, MAY 8

Braids
Braids hasn’t released new music since Companion EP in 2016, but they’re trying out new material on their latest tour. According to their Spotify playlist, Songs that are Inspiring LP4, their new record is taking influence from Joni Mitchell, Prince, Kendrick Lamar and Fleetwood Mac. I’m not sure how that mix will play out, but I’m sure it’ll sound close to “Joni” off of Companion, which shows ties to Joni Mitchell in the free-wheeling melody, but keeps the iconic Braids beats and production that sucks listeners in. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $12. Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House: 2745 18th St. NW, DC; www.songbyrd.com

WEDNESDAY, MAY 9

Kid Brother
With three guitarists, a bassist, a drummer and a keyboardist, this six-piece indie rock band really fills the room with their folk and blues-inspired sound. With just over a year of playing together under their belts, Kid Brother already has two quality albums out on bandcamp.com. Not only is their music complex and their lyrics riveting, but they’re also genuinely fun to listen to. Plus, they’re from Northern Virginia, so now you have even more incentive to come to this show. 21+ only. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10. Gypsy Sally’s: 3401 K St. NW, DC; www.gypsysallys.com

THURSDAY, MAY 10

Moon Boots
Moon Boots is a Brooklyn-born and now Brooklyn-based DJ and producer, so it’s little wonder that I was first introduced to him by a Brooklynite. After school, where he may have studied engineering but more likely Daft Punk, he moved to Chicago, the birthplace of house, and those Chicago days really shine through in his music. He was there on the floor experiencing Frankie Knuckles and Derick Carter and it shows in his music, but perhaps even more so in his live shows. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Union Stage: 740 Water St. SW, DC; www.unionstage.com

FRIDAY, MAY 11

Wye Oak
With their “most gripping and powerful set of songs to date,” Wye Oak created their biggest, boldest music yet on their fifth and latest studio album release, The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs. Jenn Wasner’s mystical vocals float over complex rhythms and melodies in constant comfort, even though the lyrical content is heavy. For 10 years, Wasner and her musical partner in crime Andy Stack have been working towards a truly great album, and they’ve finally accomplished their goal. Head out to their show tonight to experience their surreal sound in the flesh. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com

SATURDAY, MAY 12

Frankie Cosmos
Their three-part harmonies, eclectic yet catchy pop melodies and deep, playful lyrics are out of this world. Frankie Cosmos, originally the brain child of Greta Kline, transformed into a four-piece masterpiece and really came into its own sound. The New York Times, Rolling Stone and Pitchfork have already praised their sophisticated instrumentals and lofty vocals, so be on the lookout for great things from this group. And come see their live show at Black Cat while you’re at it. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; www.blackcatdc.com

Odd Mojo

This free Velvet Lounge show follows on the Funk Parade on Saturday, May 12. But don’t let the free tickets fool you. This show is worth way more than that and because it’s free, you definitely shouldn’t miss it. Odd Mojo is an MC from Maryland. Her music and flow recall old school rappers, though her verses boast a contemporary awareness and positivity. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Free. Velvet Lounge: 915 U St. NW, DC; www.velvetloungedc.com

SUNDAY, MAY 13

Jorja Smith
The R&B singer-songwriter has been on the rise since her 2016 single “Blue Lights.” To give you an idea of where she’s gone from there, she collaborated with Drake on two tracks on More Life (2017) and wrote a track with Kendrick Lamar for the Black Panther soundtrack in 2018. Smith has also recently collaborated with Stormzy and Kali Uchis. She’s known for the jazz cadences to her singing, recalling at once Rihanna and Amy Winehouse, who England-native Smith claims as her biggest influence. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $25. Howard Theatre: 620 T St. NW, DC; www.thehowardtheatre.com

TUESDAY, MAY 15

The Artisanals
Picture 70s George Harrison – hair, mustache and incredible songwriting included. The Artisanals sound a lot like how you would picture Harrison, and they even take sonic inspiration from the rock ‘n’ roll icon himself. The Artisanals have a knack for crescendo in their American folk-rock music – building tension for over half of the song and releasing it to a euphoric combination of keys and the soft plucking of guitar strings. If you’re a 70s rock fan, you’ll love these guys. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10-$12. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC; www.dc9.club

Fleet Foxes
The calming, ethereal and environmentally focused sounds from Fleet Foxes will take you away to another world of faeries and folklore, yet eerily similar to our own. Complex instrumentals, thoughtful lyrics and hypnotizing vocals will make you want to listen over and over again until you grasp all of the subtleties and hidden meanings beneath the surface. Experience this other-worldly sound for yourself live at The Anthem. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45-$75. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.theanthemdc.com

WEDNESDAY, MAY 16

Mdou Moctar
From Niger, Mdou Moctar has become something of a star among Tuareg musician. Like Tinariwen, he is among the first Tuareg guitarists to adapt traditional Tuareg music to electronics. Among the crowded scene, he is known for his unique, genre-bending compositions and has become an underground success, playing sold out shows from small DIY clubs to Lincoln Center. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; www.blackcatdc.com

THURSDAY, MAY 17

Jukebox the Ghost
If feel-good piano pop tunes are your jam, you’ll love DC natives Jukebox the Ghost. With the release of their 2018 album, Off To The Races, Jukebox the Ghost now has five albums worth of uplifting lyrics and Queen-inspired music. Their top track on Spotify, “Everybody’s Lonely,” has an obvious “Bohemian Rhapsody” vibe going on and I absolutely love it. And the band’s little ghost logo is adorable. What’s not to love? Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25-$60. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com

SATURDAY, MAY 19

Quiet Slang
Beach Slang’s front man James Alex lets his vulnerable vocals soar in a new, softer project with Quiet Slang. Consequence of Sound writes that Alex put it this way: “Beach Slang is drunk, sweaty sins on a Saturday night. Quiet Slang is salvation on Sunday morning.” With only cello and piano resonating beneath him, Alex’s vocals standout as emotionally charged and meaningful. Depending on your taste, you might even like Quiet Slang better than the original. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

TUESDAY, MAY 22

American Pleasure Club
Formerly known as Teen Suicide, American Pleasure Club, led by songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sam Ray, manages to blend music genres you’d think would go together as well as Chinese food and chocolate pudding. But somehow, they make a combination of American folk, Japanese ambient music, modern rap and 90s indie rock sound surprisingly amiable, laid back and moving. Check out Ray’s 2018 album, A Whole Fucking Lifetime of This, to see what I mean. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets starting at $15. Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House: 2477 18th St. NW, DC; www.songbyrddc.com

FRIDAY, MAY 25

Atish
The Atish experience is “deep, emotive, ecstatic.” The Bay Area DJ actually got his start as a software engineer for Facebook, but soon gave that up for producing. Somehow, it makes sense that he moved from the tech industry to DJing the Robot Heart Bus at Burning Man, first in 2011 and for three years following. Since then, he’s made a name for himself for his melodic deep house and his strict devotion to DJing rather than producing. He’s also known as a charismatic performer, engaging the crowd and donning at least a wig, if not a full costume, for performances. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $8. Flash: 645 Florida Ave. NW, DC; www.flashdc.com

SUNDAY, MAY 27

This Is The Kit
Kate Sables has been making music under the alias This is the Kit since 2008. Her music is a kind of alternative folk with a band consisting of regular contributors and ever-changing ones. Their latest record was Moonshine Freeze (2017), some songs of which they got to perform at a NPR Tiny Desk concert in December. For alternative folk, don’t think they’re along the same lines as Bon Iver. Their music is something more raucous and fun. If Ezra Furman gives a somewhat ecstatic take on Americana, This Is The Kit gives a more ecstatic take on British folk, though with little punk influence. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC; www.dc9.club

TUESDAY, MAY 29

Michael Rault
Montreal-based singer-songwriter and producer Michael Rault makes music that toes the line between inspiring and plainly derivative. It’s music much like that of another Canadian contemporary, Andy Shauf. It’s heavy on shakers and clean, lush, stringy production. There’s more of a Laurel Canyon influence, however, which really comes out in the guitar timbres and some of the song structures. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC; www.dc9.club

TUESDAY, MAY 29 – WEDNESDAY, MAY 30

John Fogerty and ZZ Top
Two Rock & Roll Hall of Fame icons, John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival and ZZ Top, blues rock legends since the 1970s, are coming to Wolf Trap for two straight dates. Fogerty will be performing his songs from CCR, and from ZZ Top, you can look forward to tracks like “La Grange,” “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Gimme All Your Lovin’.” Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $45. Wolf Trap’s Filene Center: 1551 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA; www.wolftrap.org

WEDNESDAY, MAY 30

Japanese Breakfast
Japanese Breakfast has traveled through DC several times over the past few years. They started by opening for bands like Mitski and Porches at Rock & Roll Hotel on H Street. On their last DC excursion, they played a Tiny Desk Concert and headlined at Black Cat. Now they’re headlining 9:30 Club. Get your tickets before they sell out or you’ll have to wait until they play at The Anthem. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com

SayWeCanFly
Braden Barrie, SayWeCanFly creator, singer and songwriter, began writing music in his bedroom in Ontario in 2009. Since then, his songs have streamed over 30 million times and he’s toured all over North America. Barrie brings out the 2009 emo kid in all of us with his angsty lyrics, smooth vocals and emotionally driven acoustic melodies. He reminds me of Christofer Drew Ingle (aka 2009 emo heartthrob Never Shout Never), but with darker sad boy vibes. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12-$25. Jammin Java: 227 Maple Ave. E, VA; www.jamminjava.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 1

Top Dawg Entertainment: The Championship Tour
The billing for this show should immediately speak for itself. Kendrick Lamar is, of course, leading the show and is easily reason enough to make it out, but other TDE highlights will be there, including SZA, ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, SiR and Lance Skiiwalker. TDE has been at the front of not just hip hop but also, arguably, music whatsoever. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $39. Jiffy Lube Live: 7800 Cellar Door Rd. Bristow, VA; www.livenation.com