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Music Picks: October 2018

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3

Leon Bridges with Khruangbin
These two Texan musicians are bringing their acts to the East Coast early this month. Khruangbin sources their inspiration from their newest work Con Todo El Mundo from soul and funk music in the Middle East, which I wouldn’t have even considered to be a thing until I looked into this album. Leon Bridges will bring some classic R&B and soul with a country twang to The Anthem from his new album Good Thing. Though they may occupy dissimilar genres, the smooth soulfulness of their music ties them together really nicely and makes pairing them together on tour a fantastic idea. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $55. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.theanthemdc.com

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3 – SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6

Capitol Hill Jazz Foundation’s Hillfest
Hillfest, an all-day, free concert held in Garfield Park, will bring musicians together in an effort to translate performances into policy. The festival begins with a conference addressing policy concerns that directly affect musicians on a local and national level, followed by a day-long concert. Enjoy performances by bands such as Stefon Harris & Blackout, JOGO Project, Cheryl Pepsii Riley and many more. Learn more about music and marketing through the conferences that will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, and enjoy the various vendors showcasing their wares on Friday. Garfield Park: 2nd and F Streets in SE, DC; www.hillfest.org

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5

Lupe Fiasco
Chicago rap veteran Lupe Fiasco released his new album Drogas Wave in late September. The 24-track album features frequent collaborators like Nikki Jean, Crystal Torres and Simon Sayz, as well as new ones like Damian Marley. Though he’s always been a prominent voice in conscious rap, Fiasco’s work has taken on a new level of self-awareness – especially amid the various controversies and threats of retirement of the past few years. Hopefully, this new album gives fans of his old work something to be excited about again. Doors at 8 p.m. Tickets $30. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com 

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6

Black Masala CD Release Party
Celebrate the release of Trains and Moonlight Destinies from this dynamic live brass band based in DC. One of their many musical influences comes from India in the form of Bhangra music. Even their name refers to a term used to describe a mix of spices often used in Indian cuisine. Their eclectic tunes run the gamut from jazz and New Orleans funk to Balkan brass and free-spirited, Romani-tinged folk with punk-rock vibes. Hopefully, their new album demonstrates a bit of growth when it comes to their liberal use of the “g” slur. It’s 2018 and we need to do a bit better, no? Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $15. Pearl Street Warehouse: 33 Pearl St. SW, DC; www.pearlstreetwarehouse.com

The Presets with Blood Red Shoes
Australian electronic duo The Presets and English alt-rockers Blood Red Shoes take the stage this month at U Hall. Rolling Stone Song of the Year winners The Presets released Hi Viz a few months back after going years without releasing any big projects. Blood Red Shoes took a similar hiatus right before starting to record their new album Get Tragic, which is set to debut in January. According to a recent Clash interview, their leading single “Mexican Dress” is about the lengths people will go to for attention. “Whether it’s online or in real life, small hits of validation and the feeling of having all eyes on you have become our generation’s biggest drug problem,” says guitarist and vocalist Laura- Mary Carter. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $25. U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC; www.ustreetmusichall.com

MONDAY, OCTOBER 8

J Cole, Young Thug, Jaden Smith and EarthGang
There’s so much to be excited about for this tour – for one, you get to see J. Cole. Did you know his album 2014 Forest Hills Drive went platinum with no features? I’m so thankful for Cole’s KOD era so that meme can finally be laid to rest. Also, Young Thug posted bond for the felony charges he stacked up in Georgia, so we can expect to see him on this tour date. Plus, he has a new song “On the Rvn” in the works with the legendary Elton John, 6lack and tourmate Jaden Smith that should be coming out any day now. Smith and EarthGang round out this very comprehensive lineup that represents various facets of the rap world and conveniently places them all together on one stage just for you. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $29.50. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC; www.capitalonearena.com

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9

Nine Inch Nails with The Jesus and Mary Chain
In honor of their ninth album Bad Witch, NIN is joining fellow white noise lovers The Jesus and Mary Chain on The Cold and Black and Infinite Tour in October. Scottish alternative pioneers JMC released Damage and Joy in 2017 – their most recent music prior to that was from 2002, so it’s been more than a decade since any fan has seen them play new music on tour. It’ll be an experience to see these two bands touring together again since it’s been almost 30 years since they’ve shared a bill. Doors at 6 p.m. Tickets $95-$175. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC;
www.theanthemdc.com

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11

Mija
The mysterious producer is coming to Ten Tigers and bringing her unique sound with her. Some of her musical influences include Björk as well as Chopin, Imogen Heap and Nicolas Jaar. The Just Enough EP, which only features two songs, debuted earlier this summer. With these tracks, Mija delves deeper into the concept of her own genre-bending production that she somehow still manages to fill with sensitivity, introspection and raw emotion. She also has a collaboration with Heelys, which accurately reflects her reluctance to stick to only one medium of expression. Any artist that’s making music while simultaneously designing (and probably wearing) Heelys out here in these streets is someone that is clearly riding their own wave, and I definitely respect that. Doors at 10:30 p.m. Tickets $20. Ten Tigers Parlour: 3818 Georgia Ave. NW, DC; www.tentigersdc.com

MONDAY, OCTOBER 15

Mikaela Davis
Singer, songwriter and classically trained harpist Mikaela Davis dropped her debut album Delivery this July, but it’s definitely not the angels-coming-down-from-heaven harp playing that you’d think. Davis uses her harp as one would use a guitar, and her music takes elements from psychedelic rock, chamber pop and folk. For good examples, check out her songs “Get Gone” and “Other Lover,” and be sure to check out her show when she comes to DC, too. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $13-$15. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC; www.dc9.com

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18

Junglepussy
Junglepussy continues to flourish as she steps further into the greatness she claimed for herself on 2015’s Pregnant With Success. Since then, this queen of affirmation, health and self-awareness has catapulted to new heights not only with musical cameos (shout-out to Insecure) but onscreen ones too. The good sis has an IMDb page now and has appeared in shows like Mostly 4 Millennials, the SXSW movie Support the Girls and HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness. If you missed her in any of these roles, you owe it to yourself to check out her live show when she comes to DC to give us a taste of her newest album JP3. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $20. Songbyrd Music House and Record Cafe: 2477 18th St. NW, DC; www.songbyrddc.com

Little Dragon
Little Dragon is a Swedish electronic band, or at least that’s how they’re often described. To me, Yukimi Nagano’s vocals and the intelligent musical compositions of her bandmates catapult them into their own realm. The haunting soulfulness in Nagano’s voice makes them able to work with people like Big Boi, Anderson .Paak, Mac Miller (RIP), De La Soul and more. They have a newer song with Faith Evans called “Peace of Mind” up on their website that you should check out if you want to see what I’m talking about. In any case, this is a can’t-miss show especially since it’ll be at an intimate venue like Rock & Roll. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $35. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC;  www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20

Mae
Call me a nerd for this, but I literally did a project about Mae and the concept albums they released back when I was in high school. Oddly enough, it was for a class where we made our own websites from scratch to learn HTML, and my little artist page and bio that I wrote about them turned out really nice if I do say so myself. Maybe it was the precursor that led me to my true destiny of writing tons of mini-artist bios about upcoming concerts for a local magazine. Personal anecdotes aside, I have a tremendous amount of reverence for one of the bands that formed my emotional landscape as a youth, cemented my love of concept albums and earned me an A in my web design class. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $22-$40. Jammin Java: 227 Maple Ave. E Vienna, VA; www.jamminjava.com

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21

J Balvin
At the time this was written, Colombia’s own J Balvin was the second most streamed artist on Spotify – worldwide. The artist has been working tirelessly to bridge the language barrier of popular music in the American mainstream, and whatever he’s doing is finally paying off. With the recent success of his Cardi B and Beyoncé collabs, and the constant stream of bangers he puts out, I’d say his goal is well within reach. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $39. EagleBank Arena: 4500 Patriot Cir. Fairfax, VA; www.eaglebankarena.com

Lily Allen
LDN-born Lily Allen is back with her new album No Shame. The last I’d heard from her was about her culturally appropriative video for her single “Hard Out Here,” and since then, I’ve not been able to see her music the same way though I had been a huge fan of hers since 2007. Upon realizing she would be coming to DC, I looked to see what she had been up to. In the four years since Sheezus, it seems the pop star has experienced much growth. Not only has she apologized for the insensitive video, but she wrote a memoir detailing her experiences with motherhood, addiction and the perils experienced since rising to fame at such a young age. In her new album, her maturity is apparent – the cheeky honesty that’s been a hallmark of her music from the beginning now comes forth with a lot more vulnerability and wisdom. Her evolution as an artist makes me proud to be a fan again. Show at 7 p.m. Tickets $35-$40. The Fillmore: 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD; www.fillmoresilverspring.com

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23 – THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25

NSO Pops Presents Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back with Live Orchestra
The number one reason to go see this show is to have the once-in-a-lifetime experience of having an orchestra play you the Star Wars theme (and the other songs from the soundtrack that are arguably much less iconic) note for note while the movie plays in real time. The number two reason is that if you go see this, you will be able to brag to your friends about how cool it was – and no one would be able to top it unless, you know, they were in the original film or something. Tuesday’s show begins at 7 p.m. but the other two shows start at 8 p.m. Tickets $34-$149. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: 2700 F St. NW, DC; www.kennedy-center.org

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24 – THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25

Beach Fossils and Wavves
For some reason, I really like surf-inspired rock that’s heavy on the angst and emotion. It makes me feel like I’m lying on the beach next to my surfboard contemplating my life choices (mind you, I’ve never even so much as looked at a surfboard up close in real life). Beach Fossils and Wavves will be joining forces with opener Kevin Krauter, whose music offers a nice change of pace to balance everything out. Wavves will be headlining on Wednesday and Beach Fossils on Thursday. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $25. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; www.blackcatdc.com

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
I’m going to keep it 100 here and say that what marginal knowledge I have of Nick Cave comes from eavesdropping on the excited chatter of my editor. Quite a few members of our editorial staff really go up for this man and are super excited for him to come all the way from Australia to our little corner of DC. From what a brief jaunt through some Google pages has taught me, this post-punk poster boy and his crew are a very on-brand choice to really amp up the Halloween vibes. Catch them at The Anthem this fall. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Tickets $60-$100. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.theanthemdc.com

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28

Kllo
Australian duo Kllo is a staple on many “chill” type playlists populating Spotify. The light, airy R&B-inspired vocals of Chloe Kaul and the skillful production of her cousin Simon Lam make for an ambient blend of music that is danceable yet incredibly calming. Come see what all the fuss is about when they travel to DC this month on the U.S. leg of their tour. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $15. Union Stage: 740 Water St. SW, DC; www.unionstage.com

drake-migos-2

Music Picks: September 2018

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6

Foxing
One of the most impressive emo bands of the past 10 years joins some of the genre’s most exciting new voices on tour. Foxing celebrated the release of their third (and best) record, Nearer My God, last month. The album garnered critical acclaim and solidified the band as some of the most talented musicians in the post punk game. Joined by Kississippi (whose first full length album Sunset Blush is a hot contender for one of my favorite albums of 2018) and Ratboys, this show is the grown-up emo kid’s dream.  Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $15. Union Stage: 740 Water St. SW, DC; www.unionstage.com

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7

HOLYCHILD
This duo of GWU grads are returning to their old stomping grounds to usher in the newest era of their sound, which vocalist Liz Nistico describes as a change of pace from the cheerleader-esque “brat pop” of their 2015 LP. The same fun, electronic-based heart is there, but with more emotional lyricism and introspection, as Nistico shifts to more self-analytical content where she explores her ideas about love, her relationship with her father, and adjusting to becoming more prominent in the music industry and on social media. Check out the show to get a taste of this new material before their new album (which is still under wraps) drops. Show starts at 11 p.m. Tickets start at $13. 21-plus. Songbyrd Music House and Record Cafe: 2477 18th St. NW, DC; www.songbyrddc.com

Lil Baby & YK Osiris
Since his release from prison in 2017, Lil Baby has been on the fast track to success. After some big-name collaborations from artists like Drake, Young Thug and Lil Uzi Vert, he’s embarking on his “Harder Than Ever Tour” aptly named after his debut LP that dropped in May. Eighteen-year-old YK Osiris will also be joining him on this tour. The recent Def Jam signee made his claim to fame from the buzz from his single “Valentine,” which caused record labels take notice of the young rapper/vocalist, especially after the single was remixed by Lil Uzi Vert. Be sure to check out these two up-and-coming stars when they come to the Fillmore. Show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $27.50. Fillmore Silver Spring: 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD; www.fillmoresilverspring.com

U.S. Girls
Righteous anger about the chaotic world we live in has never sounded so good. U.S. Girl’s Meg Remy gifted the world with her massive, sparkling and timely record In a Poem Unlimited and takes it to the city that needs it most this month. Remy meditates on themes of misplaced power, violence against women and righteous revenge that makes you think as much as they make you want to dance. Join the catharsis at Miracle Theatre, with Remy as your regal guide. Doors at 7:30. Tickets are $15. The Miracle Theatre: 535 8th St. SE, DC; www.themiracletheatre.com

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9

Jon B
Jon B is coming to Birchmere this month to bless us with his smooth R&B sounds. Upon first listen you’d never guess that the “They Don’t Know” singer was born in suburban Rhode Island. He gained inspiration for his sultry R&B sound from listening to records in his grandparents’ record store and carved out his own niche by working alongside artists like 2Pac and Babyface in the late 90s. If you’re in the mood for a little 90s R&B nostalgia, don’t miss this show. Doors at 7:30p.m. Tickets are $45. The Birchmere: 3701 Mount Vernon Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.birchmere.com

Still Corners
Chillwave will never die and anyone who tells you otherwise just isn’t paying attention. Still Corners are proof of this. They’ve been crafting airy, dreamy songs since the early 2000s and haven’t stopped. The duo is touring around their release of the album Slow Air last month, and there’s no better way to round out your summer than vibing with the band and their smooth sounds at the intimate DC9 space. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $13. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC; www.dc9.club

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11

Yuno
Do you ever see an opening band that totally blows you out of the water and makes you wonder how the hell they’re not headlining shows across the country? That’s how I felt after seeing Yuno open for Twin Shadow earlier this summer. The newly minted Sub Pop signee released a six-song EP full of white hot bangers that make the perfect soundtrack to your early fall vibes. Combining elements of pop, indie rock and R&B, Yuno’s universal appeal is going to catapult him into the mainstream any day now. Just try getting “No Going Back” out of your head. Doors at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13

Drake with Migos
Drake has had a whirlwind year. It seems that neither a scalding diss track, nor the blowback from allegation of hiding his son from the public and appearing in blackface can keep this man from charting on the Billboard Top 100 with a cute summer bop. He and Migos are gracing the Capital One Arena with their presence this month for the Aubrey & The Three Amigos tour. It sounds like the title of a spaghetti western, but it’s unlikely they’ll follow through on that theme and come out donning cowboy boots and twirling lassos. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $65. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC; www.capitalonearena.com

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14

Tigers Jaw
Tigers Jaw is touring around the 10th anniversary of their self-titled album, and I am officially old. While I saw the band touring for their album Spin last year, I’m still keen on the idea of reliving my most emo years screaming the words to “The Sun” and “Plane vs. Tank vs. Submarine.” Take it from me, kids: you never really outgrow your emo phase. Embrace it. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

Robyn Riot
No one at Robyn Riot will judge you for dancing on your own. DC area DJs MAJR and Jeff Prior are joined by Chicago native Greg Haus to bring you all of the Swedish pop queen Robyn’s greatest hits, all night long. The inimitable artist recently returned after almost a decade on hiatus with the sparkling single “Missing U” and the promise of a new album on the horizon. While we all pray to the goddesses of pop for Robyn to plan a tour with a stop in DC, this dance party can tide us over and celebrate her iconic career. Doors at 10 p.m. Tickets start at $10. 18-plus to enter. U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW DC; www.ustreetmusichall.com

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19

Childish Gambino & Rae Sremmurd
This concert is already legendary, and it hasn’t even happened yet. The multitalented Childish Gambino is joining forces with hip hop phenoms Rae Sremmurd for his “This Is America” tour. I’m hoping he busts out some of the choreography from the video, but I guess the only way to know for sure is by going to the show. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $49.50. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC; www.capitalonearena.com

Whitney Rose
Rewind to January 2017. Whitney Rose was primed to release her first recording of the year, South Texas Suite, a countrypolitan valentine to her hometown of Austin, Texas. Days before the EP hit the streets and Rose kicked off a four-month worldwide tour, the burgeoning songwriting force packed her boots for Nashville, where she entered BlackBird Studio A to reconvene with the Mavericks’ Raul Malo. In one short week, Rose, Malo and co-producer Niko Bolas crafted her acclaimed latest effort, Rule 62. Rose is a unique and inimitable writer and performer, and has been highly lauded for her work, with nearly 400 shows in the past two years leading to international notoriety. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $10. 21-plus. Writeup provided by venue. Gypsy Sally’s: 3401 K St. NW, DC; www.gypsysallys.com

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20

Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams
Multi-instrumentalist-singer-songwriter Larry Campbell and singer-guitarist Teresa Williams’ acclaimed eponymous 2015 debut, released after seven years of playing in Levon Helm’s band – and frequent guesting with Phil Lesh, Little Feat, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, brought to the stage the crackling creative energy of a decades-long offstage union. A whirlwind of touring and promo followed, and when the dust cleared, the duo was ready to do it all again. Which brings us to Contraband Love (released in 2017) a riskier slice of Americana. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $20. 21-plus. Writeup provided by venue. Gypsy Sally’s: 3401 K St. NW, DC; www.gypsysallys.com

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

Owl City
I’d like to make myself believe that I knew I’d have the opportunity to see Owl City perform live during adulthood. My younger self would say to me “You would not believe your eyes…” I still hold a large amount of resentment in my heart for the DJ that came to my homecoming during my sophomore year of high school and played this song as the literal last song of the night. It made absolutely no sense, but my friends and I looked at each other in utter confusion and kept dancing anyway. The moral of this story is that “Fireflies” still slaps and always will. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com

Rooney
Did you know that Anne Hathaway’s love interest from The Princess Diaries is in a band in real life? If you didn’t, you should get to know Rooney. Blessing Mia Thermopolis with her first foot-popping kiss isn’t the only thing Robert Schwartzman has done, as he’s also the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist in the band, an actor and a filmmaker. You could say the last bit runs in the family, since he is related to the Coppola family. Rooney formed during his high school years in L.A., and they have made some really feel good tunes in their almost 20 years as a band, such as 2007’s “When Did Your Heart Go Missing?” The Cosmic Interlude tour is all about Schwartzman finding the balance in his many passions. His film The Unicorn debuted this year at SXSW, and much of the new content Rooney is set to release this year comprises the movie’s soundtrack. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

Trillectro 2018
This star-studded festival is sure to be the highlight of this month’s musical performances. Artists like SZA, 2 Chainz, Young Thug, Rico Nasty, The Internet and many more are gathering in Columbia for this occasion, as well as a lot of local favorites like Jungle Fever, Girlaaa and Innanet Jamez. I would say more, but just know that if you miss this you’ll be missing out for sure. Doors at 12 p.m. Tickets are $79-$199. Merriweather Post Pavillion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.trillectro.com

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23

Graham Coxon
While he’s widely known as the guitarist for britpop greats Blur, Graham Coxon has accomplished a lot as a solo musician. In addition to four albums, Coxon recently lent his talent to the soundtrack of the Netflix original series The End of the F***ing World. He now embarks on his first ever solo tour in the U.S., and the intimate dates are not to be missed by Blur fans, Britpop enthusiasts or fans of original soundtracking. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $29.50. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

The Growlers
The pioneers of all things cheery and sad return to DC on the heels of their most recent release Casual Acquaintances. The band is known for curating an impressive cast of like-minded musicians and encouraging fans to dress up in surreal and spooky costumes at their West Coast beach goth festivals. Now, DC is being treated to a stop on the wild ride that is the band’s self-described “psychedelic carnival.” We have no idea what to expect, but we’ve got our best beach goth costumes ready and we’ll see you on the dance floor for a night of surprises. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24

Hana Vu
“Bedroom pop” has become an overused buzzword thrown onto any artist with dreamy, DIY tendencies. More than a sound, bedroom pop is a feeling: wistful, wanting, staring at your ceiling while lamenting whatever’s on your mind. Hana Vu is the textbook definition of this, and her rich but mournful voice that sounds much older than her 17 years make for a perfect addition to her confessional lyrics. Artists like Vu give hope for music as an inclusive and all-consuming outlet for whatever weighs heavy on you. It’s impossible not to find your own feelings in these songs. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $10. Songbyrd Music House and Record Cafe: 2477 18th St. NW, DC; www.songbyrddc.com

Jay Rock
Jay Rock has been releasing some heat as of late. We still haven’t forgotten about the greatness that is “King’s Dead” from Black Panther, but he’s got some new songs for us to enjoy on his latest release. The new album features amazing solo tracks as well as collaborations from many TDE label mates and the rare J. Cole feature. Catch him at the Fillmore this month performing tracks from Redemption. Show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20-$75. Fillmore Silver Spring: 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD; www.fillmoresilverspring.com

Lenny Kravitz
Lenny Kravitz is making his way to The Anthem for his Raise Vibration tour, which shares a name with the new album he’s set to drop this month on September 7. His DC stop is one of only eight dates for this leg of his world tour, so it’s definitely not one you should miss. Plus, each ticket purchase for the album comes with a free physical copy of the album. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $75-$125. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.theanthemdc.com

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25

Diana Ross
The legendary Motown diva is coming to Bethesda’s Strathmore theatre for two nights. Come see the only woman to ever have number one singles as a solo artist, as well as part of a duo, trio and ensemble as she performs some of her most timeless classics like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “You Can’t Hurry Love” and more. Show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $69. The Music Center at Strathmore: 5301 Tuckerman Ln. North Bethesda, MD; www.strathmore.org

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25

Fickle Friends
This upbeat, indie-pop quintet has some fun new material on their new album You Are Someone Else that debuted this past spring. Their brand of beachy synth-pop is slightly reminiscent of something that would’ve hit big in the 80s, paired with decidedly modern production, courtesy of the same person that worked on music for The 1975, Arctic Monkeys and Two Door Cinema Club. The English band made waves with their single “Swim” and scored a contract back in 2015. Join them at DC9 this month for what’s sure to be a fun performance. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $13-$15. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC; www.dc9.club

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26

SALES
I love SALES. I’m not just talking about when I go to the store and get discounts, though I love that too. SALES the band is an Orlando based guitar-pop outfit that stole this writer’s heart with their self-titled EP released in 2014. Since then, they’ve released their debut LP in 2016 and their most recent album Forever & Ever dropped this past July. They make ambient, stripped down pop melodies with light, airy vocals. Their Spotify description says it best: SALES is “all the pop, no industry bullshit,” and if you’re into that you should go see them live at Rock & Roll Hotel this month. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $17-$19. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER  28

Blood Orange
Dev Hynes, the UK based artist and producer better known as Blood Orange, released his reflective third album just a few weeks ago. Negro Swan boasts an impressive 16 tracks, featuring artists like Diddy, A$AP Rocky, Janet Mock and more. More impressive than any collaborator is Hynes’s chops as a producer that truly let his political and timely lyrics shine. Don’t miss the virtuoso bring his music new and old to DC. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $35. Lincoln Theatre: 1215 U St. NW, DC; www.thelincolndc.com

Future Islands
If in 2014 you were living under a rock and somehow missed Future Islands’ front man Samuel T. Herring’s oddly spellbinding performance of “Seasons (Waiting on You),” go look it up. Even if you’ve seen it, go look it up again. Be mesmerized. Take notes so you can dance like him at this show. Herring’s dance moves are just one of the reasons we’re looking forward to this Baltimore-based trio taking the stage at The Anthem. Their most recent release, The Far Field, was one of 2017’s best albums – chock full of bangers from start to finish, not to mention a collab with none other than Blondie’s Debbie Harry. Don’t miss the Baltimore band in action. Doors are at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $41. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.theanthemdc.com

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29

Belly
If I had to pick a favorite genre, it would be dream pop. The pioneers of that sound are making their way to DC and I am so excited to pay homage to Belly for carving out a space for the genre in the music world. Tanya Donelly and company returned this spring with their first album in nearly 25 years, Dove, that reminded fans why they’re the best at what they do. Come for the 90s hits, stay for the new jams – it’s sure to be a dreamy, psychedelic night. Doors at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com

Krantz
After leaving his home state of Iowa, traveling the world, touring with a band called The Effects, Jeffrey Danger eventually landed in Nashville. He hit the studio between tapings of MTV’s music competition American Supergroup (where he eventually became a finalist). Following the release of his self-produced solo album, He joined forces with Erik Theiling, Tee Tallent and Adrian Flores, who he met on the Broadway circuit. Together they bring a psychedelic/pop/rock edge equipped with provocative lyrics. Krantz embraces frantic ecstasy and a meaningful look within. The new record takes on several personalities, drawing influences from pop to reggae. Doors at 7 p.m. Free. 21-plus. Writeup provided by venue. Pearl Street Warehouse: 33 Pearl St. SW, DC; www.pearlstreetwarehouse.com

SHAED
DC’s very own are celebrating the release of their Melt EP at Rock & Roll Hotel. The trio is basically unstoppable and are surely poised for alt-pop stardom. Before they skyrocket into the music world and make their hometown proud, come spend your Saturday celebrating with them. Confession: I’ve seen SHAED three times and it’s a guaranteed feel good dance party each show. Catch me for round four front and center cheering them on. Doors at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

kina_grannis

Music Picks: August 2018

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1

Kina Grannis and Imaginary Future
High school sweethearts turned singing and songwriting power couple Kina Grannis and Imaginary Future (Jesse Epstein) are bringing their soft acoustic sounds to the Birchmere stage this summer. I expect them to perform a decent amount of duets together (they have quite a few),  and a few covers of other popular songs you may know. Grannis, a YouTube success story, has found her own niche in the music industry after being signed to Interscope and becoming independent shortly after. In 2017 Grannis created KG records, a label supported entirely by her fans via Patreon. Her newest release  In the Waiting is the first album to debut on the label. If you’re a fan, especially one that donated to this project, I highly encourage you to come out and experience her new music in person. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $25. The Birchmere Music Hall: 3701 Mount Vernon Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.birchmere.com

Victory
After just one listen to her cover of Feeling Good, I can see that Victory Boyd has rightfully earned the comparisons to the great Nina Simone. Her unique blend of folk, soul, and  jazz makes for a refreshingly new take on all three genres. The Detroit-born singer/guitarist got her start busking in NYC after her family relocated to a nearby New Jersey suburb. After making waves on social media from a video of her singing recorded by a passerby, her music caught Jay-Z’s eye and she was signed to Roc Nation. Her newest album The Broken Instrument should serve as an inspiration to any musician that aspires to showcase their art on a larger platform. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $15-$20. Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House: 2475 18th St. NW, DC; www.songbyrddc.com

FRIDAY, AUGUST 3

Sons of Bill
The Sons of Bill mean their name in all seriousness. Aside from the bassist and the drummer, they really are the sons of Bill, a theology and Southern literature professor at the University of Virginia. Their father is also a musician and taught his three boys to sing and play guitar, and they like to talk about how they had to because they had no TV or radio otherwise growing up, but listen to their songs and you’ll hear that his lessons weren’t limited to chords only. Doors are at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $20. Union Stage: 740 Water St. SW, DC; www.unionstage.com

FRIDAY, AUGUST 3 –  SATURDAY, AUGUST 4

Tiny Cat Dark Music Festival 
Working Order Records and Black Cat are coming together to host Tiny Cat Dark Music Festival. What’s so great about this festival, besides the fact that it’s called a “Dark Music Festival” and features acts like Hante., Kontravoid, Crash Course in Science, and more is that 100 percent of the proceeds from tickets sold go to Greater DC Diaper Bank. The nonprofit accepts donations to help get families the supplies they need for their baby, as well as providing personal hygiene products to those in need. Go and rock out for a good cause. Doors at 8 p.m. Tickets $20-$35. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; www.blackcatdc.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 4

Stu Larsen & Natsuki Kurai
Australian folk guitarist and singer Stu Larsen and Japanese harmonica player Natsuki Kurai recently announced a world tour in support of their latest EP together, Stu Larsen & Natsuki Kurai II, which comes five years after their first together in 2013. The unlikely duo first connected nearly eight years ago when Larsen first adopted his vagabond lifestyle in 2010. They met in Tokyo, Larsen spoke no Japanese and Kurai spoke no English, but they connected over music. Doors are at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $15. Jammin Java: 227 Maple Ave. E Vienna, VA; www.jamminjava.com

Takenobu
This folk string duo features Nick Ogawa on cello and Kathryn Koch on violin, both of whom have wide ranging credits. Koch is a regular member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Ogawa tours with Kishi Bashi and composes for NPR’s “Invisibilia,” which probably explains the Takenobu style. They call their music folk, and thought there’s only two of them, their final sound is almost more like an orchestral take on folk, because of the live-looping they do. Doors are at 7 p.m. Entry is free with a suggested donation of $5. Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House: 2475 18th St. NW, DC; www.songbyrddc.com

Wayne Wonder
Bliss Nightclub is throwing an outdoor music festival featuring a live performance from Wayne Wonder, the man who gave us the ever-iconic “No Letting Go” in 2003. In this song’s 15 year existence, there has never been a moment when I’ve heard this song at a party or in a club that the mood didn’t immediately change to summer vacation romance and whoever was next to you when it came on became the love of your life for the next three minutes. I don’t know if he performs often, so don’t miss this. Gates open at 2 p.m. Show at 4 p.m. Tickets $30. Bliss Nightclub: 2122 24th Pl. NE, DC; www.blissdc.com

Yung Bae
This one is a show which some people never imagined might happen. Yung Bae is an artist who like so many of his future funk contemporaries, e.g. Saint Pepsi, got his start on YouTube and it was unclear whether it would ever go beyond that, but also, like Saint Pepsi, Yung Bae has started to take his show on the road, and that he’s playing Flash shows the caliber of his purely-for-fun, purely-for-dancing beats. Doors are at 4 p.m. Tickets are $15. Flash: 645 Florida Ave. NW, DC; www.flashdc.com

Zigtebra
At Slash Run, in addition to great burgers you can often find undersold touring band playing alongside some up and coming DC bands. This time it’s Zigtebra, a dream pop duo from Chicago with sound that’s like a somewhat spookier Postal Service. And playing with them is Stronger Sex, another duo, making experimental electronic. The show will also feature Lambda Celsius and visionary artist Katie Macyshyn. Slash Run: 201 Upshur St. NW, DC; www.slashrun.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 4 – SUNDAY, AUGUST 5

Summer Spirit Festival
The folks at Merriweather have brought together your favorite R&B, rap, hip-hop, and neo-soul artists to celebrate the summer. There’ something for everybody when you’ve got classics like Erykah Badu, Nas, The Roots and Backyard Band sharing a stage with newer artists like Lizzo, Daniel Caesar, Phony PPL and many more. It’s sure to be an unforgettable experience. Doors at 1 p.m. Tickets start at $108. Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.merriweathermusic.com

SUNDAY, AUGUST 5

Christian Loffler
If Christian Loffler couldn’t find the beat, you might find him a bummer. Unlike his German contemporaries coming out of Berlin, Loffler grew up in a remote part of the country and had to teach himself to make electronic music on his own, which he began to do as a sort of escape from and deep dive into his surroundings. Throughout his music you can hear a sort of melancholy, almost like if Bon Iver remade For Emma, only this time as dance music. Doors are at 4 p.m. Tickets start at $8. Flash: 645 Florida Ave. NW, DC; www.flashdc.com

Juice WRLD
Riding off the high of his single “Lucid Dreams” hitting #3 on the Billboard charts, 19-year-old Chicago rapper Jared Higgins (a.k.a. Juice WRLD) will be coming to Echostage. Based on the success of his debut singles added to the ability to hold his own on the freestyle he dropped for HOT 97 back in mid-July, it’s clear that Juice WRLD is poised to make his mark in the rap world. His style lies somewhat in the vein of the sadboi rap that’s been circulating the airwaves as of late, but I’m looking forward to seeing what new elements he can bring to the genre. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $30-130. Echostage: 2135 Queens Chapel Rd. NE, DC; www.echostage.com

Lunar Vacation
This indie quartet is so young and yet has a style that’s so throwback that you might think they’re someone else’s brainchild. And if you only were to see the band’s pictures you might have had enough at that point, but once you hear their music, it’s hard to turn away from something so unabashedly gorgeous. It’s like 90s throwback indie rock with the production values of dream pop bands Wild Nothing or Real Estate. Doors are at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $10. Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House: 2475 18th St. NW, DC; www.songbyrddc.com

THURSDAY, AUGUST 9

Rae Sremmurd, Wiz Khalifa
Wiz Khalifa recently caught some flak for his hyper-masculine take on why straight men shouldn’t eat bananas (hint: they’re too phallic for his liking), but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t support my faves Rae Sremmurd who have never not given us a bop since their 2014 radio debut “No Flex Zone.”  The co-headliners will be supported by O.T. Genasis and Lil Skies. Doors at 6 p.m. Tickets $28-$183. Jiffy Lube Live: 7800 Cellar Door Dr. Bristow, VA; www.bristowamphitheater.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 11

Alice Bag
Comet Ping Pong is another one of those venues around town that’s doesn’t receive enough attention as a music venue. Not only are the pizzas and drinks good, but you can also find some good music. This time it’s Alice Bag, formerly of the Bags and an LA-punk scene legend by this point. The Bags broke up in the 80s, but she’s been Alice Bag ever since and her latest music lacks none of the fury she first earned a name for. Alongside her will be local bands Homosuperior and Faunas. Doors are at 10 p.m. Tickets start at $15. Comet Ping Pong: 5037 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.cometpingpong.com

Shakira
After postponing a majority of her tour in order to heal her strained vocal chords, Shakira is back in the U.S. for her El Dorado tour, named for her Latin Grammy winning (and Anglo Grammy nominated) 2017 album. Her newest single “Clandestino,” featuring frequent collaborator and fellow Colombian artist Maluma, is a smooth and summery reggaeton-tinged take on secret love. Shakira is a versatile artist who has an incredible resume. She’s acted in soap operas (and voice acted in Zootopia), served as a judge on the Voice, and had hit singles with both Rihanna and Beyonce on top of her own solo tracks, many of which she had a hand in writing. Plus, you just KNOW she has to do “Hips Don’t Lie,”  which you and I both know would be so fun to see and dance to live. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $86-$450. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC; www.capitalonearena.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 11- SUNDAY, AUGUST 12

Moonrise Fest
Even though it’s out in Baltimore, it would be remiss of us to skip over one of the largest east-coast tours to come to this area every summer. Showcasing some of the best EDM, DnB, hip-hop and house acts, Moonrise “touches all corners of the dance floor”. The festival also features art installations and vendors, not to mention performances from Diplo, DJ Snake, Marshmello, Cashmere Cat, Vince Staples, Phantogram, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, and Gunna to name only a few. 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. both days. Tickets $99-$274.50. Pimlico Race Course: 5201 Park Heights Ave. Baltimore, MD; www.moonrisefestival.com

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15 – THURSDAY, AUGUST 18

Rock and Roll Hotel 12th Anniversary
To honor more than a decade of existing as a performance space in the renowned H Street Corridor, the DC area venue is bringing together an eclectic mix of artists to perform. Nothing, nowhere. , Bat Fangs, The Messthetics, The Love Language, and Sparta will be performing all ages sets on separate nights at Rock and Roll Hotel to celebrate. Tickets $15-$20. See website for full list of times. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

THURSDAY, AUGUST 16

Casual War
I’m trying to find where the “casual” part of Casual War comes in. In the what they publish about themselves they seem nonchalant, judging from not heavily curated Instagram, or the title of their EP, Demo, but the music’s a different story. Led by a frontwoman with a voice reminiscent of Nightwish and Evanescence, their take on indie rock can be dark and heavy. Doors are at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10. Velvet Lounge: 915 U St. NW, DC; www.velvetloungedc.com

Cup
I have to say, this is one of the shows I’m most excited about this month. Cup’s music is a garage punk, very reminiscent of 80s punk music, but with a more angular and experimental approach. The Queens-based band will play alongside DC’s own Bottled Up who continue to rise through DC’s music venues and Ontario-based three piece rock outfit, Bike Thiefs. Doors are at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $10. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; www.blackcatdc.com

FRIDAY, AUGUST 17

Trombone Shorty and Galactic
I don’t know how much there is to be said about Trombone Shorty that The Anthem didn’t already say by featuring him as one of their first acts. But he’s not the only artist to be featured this night, not even the only one from New Orleans. New Orleans funk jam band Galactic as well as the Preservation Hall jazz band will perform as well, and no doubt there will be some set overlap. It should be a night of nonstop ecstatic music and outrageous musicianship. John Williams has nothing on this brass. Doors are at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $30. Wolf Trap’s Filene Center: 1551 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA; www.wolftrap.org

Vacationer
After a four-year hiatus, (I’m doing my best not to say vacation), Vacationer returned in 2018 with his latest record Mindset. The album artwork very much fits the spirit of the music. It pictures the silhouette of a head in profile which get smaller and smaller in concentric circles, or heads rather. It could be read as a topographical map and a matryoshka doll X-ray. It’s dreamy much like Vacationer’s synth and sample heavy tracks. Doors are at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC; www.ustreetmusichall.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 18

Crushnpain
This show was another unexpected find. Velvet Lounge is known for having great DJs, but often they play downstairs unannounced, but Crushnpain is getting the full billing this time. He’s a DC-based DJ, who from the sound of his shuffling drum and bass and his more deep house sounding tracks, I might have thought to find him at Flash, only he has no Resident Advisor page. But that only means you’ll be ahead of the curve. See him at Velvet Lounge because shortly he’ll get picked up elsewhere. Doors are at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10. Velvet Lounge: 915 U St. NW, DC; www.velvetloungedc.com

THURSDAY, AUGUST 23

In The Whale / Company Calls
Colorado-based duo In The Whale is celebrating 7 years of making their high energy blend of garage rock by going on a massive U.S. tour until mid-October. During their time as a band the pair have graced stages at Lollapalooza, Riot Fest, AfroPunk, and Warped Tour (RIP). Their supporting act Company Calls hails from DC, was formed in ‘08, and shares its name with a Death Cab for Cutie song. Fun Fact: Someone from my old church youth group’s eldest sister is a member of the band, too. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $10. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; www.blackcatdc.com

THURSDAY, AUGUST 23 – SUNDAY, AUGUST 26

Cyrus Chestnut
I’m sure you’ve heard jazz before, and maybe you think once you’ve heard, you’ve heard enough, but seeing it live is another thing, especially seeing someone of Cyrus Chestnut’s caliber. Georgetown’s a trip to get to, but Blues Alley is worth it. It’s in an actual alley and when you find yourself in the line out the door, you’ll realize you’re somewhere special. Plus, the po’boys are fantastic. Bring some good company, have some good food and watch Chestnut shred in the Oscar Peterson school. Shows are at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tickets start at $30. Blues Alley: 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.bluesalley.com

TUESDAY, AUGUST 28

New Order
The incredibly iconic post punk outfit, born like a phoenix out of the ashes of Joy Division, embarks on a short tour this summer and DC is lucky enough to be a stop. See the band responsible for producing numerous 80s bops and influencing a pantheon of younger artists in the flesh at The Anthem. 8 p.m. show.Tickets start at $55. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.theanthem.com

Slaughter, Beach Dog
Modern Baseball came on the scene in 2012 and shortly established themselves as one of the most dominant pop punk bands on the scene. But this is not them, this is the solo project Modern Baseball guitarist and vocalist, Jake Ewald. Ewald released his second record under the name in 2017. It’s less pop and less punk, and a little more straight forward gorgeous indie songwriting, somewhat like a tamed AJJ. Doors are at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $13. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC; www.dc9.club

THURSDAY, AUGUST 30

Lucki
Chicago-native Lucki was on the vanguard of today’s alterna-trap/mumble rap sound back when he was going by Lucki Eck$ in 2013. Since then, he’s collaborated with artists like FKA twigs, Chance The Rapper, King Krule and Danny Brown. After a series of setbacks and taking a hiatus from making music in 2018, Lucki is back posting new music on SoundCloud and working on new projects, the latest of which is a series of singles and his DAYS B4 II EP.  Though he’s only 21, I can tell he’s an artist that’s confident in his sound and style, and committed to re-distinguishing himself in the genre that many would argue he had a hand in making popular. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $15-$50. Union Stage:  740 Water St. SW, DC; www.unionstage.com

Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Uzi Vert, G-Eazy
I’m going to be honest here and say that I was confused when I saw this lineup and was under the impression that G-Eazy was the headliner on this tour. According to Rolling Stone though, these three are co-headlining, which I can accept (even though we all know it should be Lil Uzi or even Ty Dolla $ign off the strength of his features alone). YBN Nahmir, P-Lo and DJ Murda Beatz will also perform at this show, which is sure to be a nonstop party from start to finish. Doors at 6:30 p.m.. Tickets $33-$160. Jiffy Lube Live:  7800 Cellar Door Dr. Bristow, VA; www.bristowamphitheater.com

illustration: Haley McKey
illustration: Haley McKey

Under Their Own Power: Women Make Some of 2018’s Most Relevant Music

I kicked off my summer by seeing two shows in rapid succession: Alice Glass at U Street Music Hall on May 12, and Fever Ray (given name Karin Dreijer) at the 9:30 Club on May 14. Both of their extraordinary sets drove home the fact that women are making some of the world’s best, most interesting and of-the-moment music right now – and they’re doing it with complete creative control.

Dreijer and Glass have a few things in common. They both rose to fame as one half of a male-female duo – The Knife and Crystal Castles, respectively. They both make brutal, synth-based songs that crackle, scream, pulse and practically demand a physical response. And they are both embarking on the next stage of their careers in a drastically different world than the one we lived in when we first heard their music more than a decade ago.

Glass’ set was the first time we’ve seen her in DC since she left Crystal Castles in 2014. Glass was silent about her reasons for leaving former collaborator Ethan Kath (born Claudio Palmieri) until the fall of 2017. Glass released a statement that began with citing the courage of women who came forward with their stories of sexual harassment and assault by powerful men during the #MeToo movement. Then she told her own story, asserting in no uncertain terms that she endured years of emotional, physical and sexual abuse by Palmieri since she was a teenager.

Thus, seeing Glass perform wasn’t just watching an artist headline on her own for the first time. We had the privilege of seeing an artist learning to harness her creative power entirely on her own terms. Her performance was, as it has always been, incredibly kinetic and wholehearted: she cannonballs across the stage, invites the crowd to come closer, pulls from their energy and gives it right back. Her fans are devoted: in the silence between songs, I heard a woman murmur, maybe a little tipsily, “I’m just happy she’s happy.” It was clear everyone who came to see her was firmly in her corner.

Dreijer’s show was also full of energy. Her stage persona is flirtatious, aggressively bizarre and without a shred of self-doubt. She released her first album, Plunge, in October 2017, nearly eight years after her solo debut as Fever Ray.

Dreijer was formerly married to a man and has a daughter, but since her divorce has described herself as “definitely a queer person, but very gender-fluid” in a Guardian interview. The ebullient, NSFW music video for her new single “To the Moon and Back” features Dreijer serving as a table for the world’s oddest tea party. In the Guardian, she describes the song’s theme as “being brave and being open to do that. It’s about taking back what’s me.” Onstage, she inhabits her video persona, albeit with a little more agency: her all-women backing band is strong and competent, but she’s clearly in charge and loving every minute.

These two shows, aside from being the perfect start to summer music season here in DC, helped remind me that female solo performers are some of the most exciting musicians. Kesha’s blistering single, “Praying,” called out her own former producer and alleged abuser Dr. Luke; her August 2017 album Warrior burns down the throwaway party-anthem framework he created for past songs like “Blah Blah Blah” and “We R Who We R” for good. Instead, it’s a mix of rock, soul, country and a variety of genres Dr. Luke allegedly blocked her from exploring when they worked together. Whatever you think of Kesha, she’s finally in creative control of her own music (and branding – I’ve never wanted a Nudie suit more).

Janelle Monáe, no stranger to having complete control of her image and art, released her stunning new album, Dirty Computer, on May 1. Newly out as pansexual, Monáe’s album explores queerness, blackness and survival in a world often hostile to both. Her “emotion picture” which accompanies the album depicts a surveillance state where people who don’t comply with cultural mores are watched, hunted down and punished. It’s uncomfortably easy to imagine how a culture could get from here to there. An extra-bright spot in the album is her new single “Pynk,” accompanied by a music video that features a pink desert, some truly memorable pants and an all-lady dance party.

These aren’t the only examples of women refashioning their image and sound into one of joyous power. Artists across genres are busting the absurd myth that women can’t get ahead without a male producer, costar or record executive (do those even exist anymore?) doing the heavy lifting. As I watched Alice Glass close out her set back in May with the searing song “Cease and Desist,” she screamed, “honestly, you’re never the victim/honestly, you have to fight.” It felt like an indictment of her former antagonist, a manifesto and a call to arms. It’s almost certain that many other talented women artists will answer it in the months to come – each in their own unique way.

Houndmouth

Music Picks: June 2018

TUESDAY, JUNE 5

Hop Along
Genre-bending Philadelphia outfit Hop Along is led by Frances Quinlan, an incredibly gifted songwriter. She used the band’s most recent release Bark Your Head Off, Dog to meditate on finding her voice as an individual, which in turn lead to the four-person group finding their voice as a band. The band’s most musically stunning release to date also deals with timely themes like abuse of power, made even more impactful by Quinlan’s impossible-to-pin-down vocal power. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $20. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6

Francis and the Lights
There are few better songs to wake up to than “Morning,” the album-opener off of Francis and the Lights’ 2017 record Just for Us. The piano that drives the song is so simple you imagine anyone in the house could play it, but there’s something about it that just makes you feel good. It’s like a lot of his other songs, they feel like they’re coming from an honest, if naive, place. It’s that quality, plus his production chops, that scored Francis so many collaboration credits, including with Chance The Rapper and Frank Ocean. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com

Horse Feathers
I am thoroughly convinced there is no song better for staring at your ceiling and being sad to than “Curs in the Weeds.” Horse Feathers manages to be sparse and lush at the same time, mostly due to the silvery slick vocals of frontman Justin Ringles paired with subtle string arrangements. Their latest album Appreciation adds some soul arrangements in the mix, keeping this hidden gem folk band’s catalog ever fresh. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $17. Union Stage: 740 Water St. SW, DC: www.unionstage.com

Yung Heazy
Yung Heazy may not boast an extensive discography, (as of this writing, he has only three official tracks to his name, though his debut LP comes out June 1), but he does boast a good story. Yung Heazy got his start for love, not for love of music, but for love of a girl. He uploaded the single “Cuz You’re My Girl” to SoundCloud on Valentine’s Day 2017 and it blew up. More songs followed and now he’s on tour. Doors are at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $10. Songbyrd Music House and Record Cafe: 2475 18th St. NW, DC; www.songbyrddc.com

FRIDAY JUNE 8

Future Generations
Future Generations’ breakout single “Stars” boasts 10 million plays on Spotify, proof that the band’s brand of piano pop is certainly something you’ll want to hit repeat on. Friends for seven years, the band surely does sound like they’re having tons of fun together. Their second album is in the works, and will be produced by Justin Gerrish, who perhaps most famously worked with Vampire Weekend on their sophomore effort Contra. Be sure to see Future Generations before they’re similarly catapulted into second album stardom. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets start at $15. Jammin Java: 227 Maple Ave. E, Vienna, VA; www.jamminjava.com

Mykki Blanco
Where to start with Mykki Blanco? He’s fearless. He got his start in music as a “teenage drag rapper.” I’ve never seen or heard anything like his music. He’s
published a book of poetry, From the Silence of Duchamp to the Noise of Boys. He lived for two years as a woman, though he didn’t surgically transition. But that’s all categorical noise. Listen to his music, the production moves between lush and harsh, and lyrically he’s both heartfelt and outrageous. Listen for the strings on “High School Never Ends,” listen for the beat on “Wavvy.” You can find videos for each on YouTube. Doors are at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $25. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

SATURDAY JUNE 9

Belle and Sebastian
If you’re feeling sinister, catch Belle and Sebastian’s return to DC at The Anthem. For a band that has been releasing music for almost as long as I have been alive, the Scottish twee legends show no signs of stopping additions to their impressive discography or touring schedule any time soon. I caught them at Merriweather Post Pavilion last summer and can attest to the fact that while there will be some new tunes, (the band just released a series of three EPs back to back) Stuart Murdoch and company still play a plethora of their heartfelt hits. You’ll be better for hearing “Piazza, New York Catcher” in person. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $46. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.theanthemdc.com

Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival
The annual showcase of the best in local and national folk and bluegrass scene is back this year with featured artists like Gangstagrass, Jonny Grave, Cris Jacobs and Letitia VanSant. In addition to a stacked lineup, Kingman Island offers plenty of food trucks, crafts for sale and no shortage of the best up and coming local acts of the genre. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. Tickets start at $35. Kingman Island: 575 Oklahoma Ave. NE, DC: www.kingmanislandbluegrass.info

SUNDAY, JUNE 10

Shamir
No one has a voice like Shamir, and once you hear it, you’ll be hooked. It’s angelic and light as a feather. The young artist has a number of releases to his name. After his 2017 record Revelations, he’s already released two singles in 2018: “Room” and “Caballero.” The songs exhibit a strong indie rock influence and remind you that Shamir is not just a vocalist but also a guitar player. The tracks though, like so many of his songs, still feels married to pop, even he’s lyrically unto himself. Doors are at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $25. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

MONDAY, JUNE 11

La Luz
Floating Features, the latest record from surf rock quartet La Luz, came out in mid-May. It’s their first since 2015’s Weirdo Shine. Their sound is similar; there’s still the chugging surf rock guitars and the doo wop harmonies, but you can tell there’s been a lot of development. The texture is richer and the progressions sweeter, but it’s in their lyrics that you can find the most development. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $13. Songbyrd Music House and Record Cafe: 2475 18th St. NW, DC; www.songbyrddc.com

TUESDAY JUNE 12

The Horrors
Few bands can vacillate between the dark and brooding and the expansive and sparkling like this English outfit, and that’s what makes them so great. They released another perfect marriage of dark and light with V last fall and are now hitting the states to promote it with their signature black suits, buckled Chelsea boots and all. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $25. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

Snail Mail
Eighteen-year-old Lindsey Jordan has a well-deserved amount of buzz around her band Snail Mail. The youngest to ever sign to iconic label Matador Records, Jordan’s guitar chops and lyrical prowess are well beyond her years. This record release show will serve as a kickoff for the band’s heavily anticipated album Lush, and most likely mark what will be a long and successful career for the wildly talented Jordan. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $15. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC;
www.blackcatdc.com

Vance Joy
No one could escape the permanence of Vance Joy’s earworm of a single “Riptide” upon its release in 2014. In fact, I heard it on the radio driving into work this morning. But as it turns out, the Australian singer-songwriter’s other songs are just as buzzworthy and his sophomore release Nation of Two was no exception. Be sure not to miss his joyous (pun absolutely intended) melodies and the opportunity to hear “Riptide” for the thousandth time. Tickets start at $55. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.theanthemdc.com

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13

Pianos Become the Teeth & The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die
I had to read this lineup twice to be sure I was in for seeing not one but two incredible post-punk outfits in one night. Pianos Become the Teeth found their footing with this year’s spectacular Wait For Love, and TWIABP (as fans lovingly call them) are something of an indie supergroup whose combination of orchestral sounds with emo lyrical sensibilities sets them apart in a league all their own. Don’t miss your chance to see them both in one place. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $17. Union Stage: 740 Water St. SW, DC: www.unionstage.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 15

Field Medic
Kevin Patrick has fully embraced the home recording process as an authentic way of recording, which pairs beautifully with his sparse and honest lyrical style. His 2017 release is a collection of songs he recorded in a sunroom in San Francisco. Patrick is expected to release a full-length record in 2018 after his recent signing to Run for Cover. Patrick’s lyrical explorations of love and longing will make for a beautiful singalong at his DC show this summer. Tickets start at $10. Songbyrd Music House and Record Cafe: 2475 18th St. NW, DC; www.songbyrddc.com

Middle Kids
Even if you’ve never heard of Middle Kids, you’ve probably heard Middle Kids. The Australia natives have been garnering a quiet but strong buzz throughout the festival circuit and blogosphere throughout the past several years with radio ready jams like “Edge of Town.” Their first full-length album solidified their place as indie rock strongholds in its heartfelt explorations of love, loss and life. Tickets are $15. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

SATURDAY, JUNE 16

Cold Cave
Get ready for a darkwave dream at Black Cat – while Cold Cave are respected in their own right, they’re joined by genre greats Black Marble and Choir Boy. Cold Cave’s last full-length album was released in 2014, but they treated listeners to 18 minutes of bliss with this spring’s release of the You & Me & Infinity EP – maybe they’ll even debut some newer digs at this show. Anyone who’s into dancing and crying, specifically at the same time, can’t miss this gloriously goth lineup. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $15. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; www.blackcatdc.com

SUNDAY, JUNE 17

Houndmouth
If you’re looking for a raucous Saturday night that’s not just drinking at bars, look no further than a Houndmouth show. The band made a splash with karaoke-worthy songs like “Sedona” and “Say It,” combining the lyrical sensibilities of folk with the instrumental prowess of garage rockers for an outcome that is equal parts fun and cathartic. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20

Alexis Taylor
Perhaps best known as the frontman of Hot Chip, Alexis Taylor’s most recent solo release was born of his love for playing to smaller audiences on his own. Hot Chip fans will recognize Taylor’s distinct voice, but everything else about his music is totally unique from his iconic band. Not to worry though, it’s still extremely groovy, so come prepared with your dancing shoes. Doors open at 7 p.m. U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC: www.ustreetmusichall.com

Ray LaMontagne & Neko Case
Both legends in their own right, Case and LaMontagne are teaming up for a night of flourishing folk at The Anthem. Not only do you get to see two iconic musicians in one night, this show will also serve as the official kickoff to the inaugural run of Halcyon’s By The People Festival, an arts and dialogue festival “bringing people together around the themes of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It’s a win-win for all involved. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $55. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.theanthemdc.com

THURSDAY, JUNE 21

Yeek
L.A. songwriter Yeek stands comfortably outside of any particular genre. His guitars smack of indie rock and Mac DeMarco slacker rock, but lyrically he’s closer to hip-hop. And his latest release, 2018’s Blackheart EP, does even more to somehow evoke both genres at once. Hampton, Virginia native Marco McKinnis will open for Yeek. McKinnis doesn’t have a ton of material, but what he has is gorgeous, beautifully produced and rich R&B. Doors are at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC; www.dc9.club

MONDAY, JUNE 25

serpentwithfeet’
My first encounter with serpentwithfeet was actually in a Björk release called Blissing Me. The release contains two remixes of “Blissing Me,” a single off of the record Utopia. One version was a harp-only version of the track which, like much of album, was coproduced by Arca. The other remix was done by serpentwithfeet, who added lyrics and beats. It’s a collaboration which feels seamless. serpentwithfeet’s almost improvisational style approach to melody is of a piece with Björk’s, and his voice is no less effortless. And like with Arca, after getting the Björk stamp of approval, I think serpentwithfeet’s certainly onto big things. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $12. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC; www.dc9.club

TUESDAY, JUNE 26

Katie Von Schleicher
“100 percent quality assurance, I have a degree in songwriting,” reads the Twitter bio of Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Katie von Schleicher. Her career got started when her internship turned into a record deal for Ba Da Bing! Records. Von Schleicher’s tracks aren’t so light as label-mates Beirut, but they are deft. The sound hearkens back to the 70s, and the tone isn’t so dark as her record titles, Shitty Hits (2017) and Bleaksploitation (2015), might suggest. They’re more lo-fi pop than heart-heavy indie. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $10. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC; www.dc9.club

We Are Scientists
Synth pop heavy hitters We Are Scientists are back with a new album and tour, but I’m secretly hoping the show will read as more of a 10-year homage to 2008’s brilliant Brain Thrust Mastery. While I’m sure this isn’t the case, I can dream, and also dance along to certifiable bops like “Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt” and “After Hours.” Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27

Sam Gellaitry
Musical prodigies often seem to be reserved for classical music. There was Mozart and then there’s the kid who played jazz at the age of six. But Sam Gellaitry is a prodigy in the electronic community. The Scottish producer started making music at 12, dropped out of school to make music at 16 and now, at 21, he travels the world making music. His music is eclectic electronic. Some samples evince a youth spent playing video games and other recall producers like Bonobo and Emancipator. It’s his use of vocal samples that makes his tracks stand out for me. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15. Flash: 645 Florida Ave. NW, DC; www.flashdc.com

TV Girl
While TV Girl’s moniker is a little on the nose – I can’t help but think that most of their sound is so heavily drawn from 80s and 90s TV background music – their straightforward bordering on self-deprecating lyrics (see: “Hate Yourself”) keep them ever relatable. The band brands their music as “you can sing along to it, but I wouldn’t sing around your parents,” so it’s sure to be a good time. Tickets start at $15. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; www.blackcatdc.com

SUNDAY, JULY 1

Oso Oso
Oso Oso’s most recent release, The Yunahon Mixtape, is a beautiful, relatable callout to all the best aspects of early 2000s indie rock. Frontman Jade Lilitri borrows these sensibilities and makes them feel fresh for a new generation to rely on as an outlet for their feelings. The band brings their post-rock reinventions to Songbyrd early this July, fresh off of signing with Triple Crown Records after self-releasing The Yunahon Mixtape. There are big things in the future for this band – don’t miss out. Tickets start at $10. Songbyrd Music House and Record Cafe: 2475 18th St. NW, DC; www.songbyrddc.com

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

Cecily

Music Picks: April 2018

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4

Ana Moura
With stunning vocals, Ana Moura has been a fixture in the Portuguese music scene since 2003, including collaborations with Prince and The Rolling Stones. It’s no wonder legends have picked up on her undeniable talent because whether the lyrics are delivered in English or Portuguese, the aptitude of Moura’s singing ability is truly stunning. In the backdrop are wondrous strings and a steady rhythm section all built to amplify this talented singer-songwriter’s music prowess. Show at 8 p.m. $50-$60. The Barns at Wolf Trap: 1635 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA;
www.wolftrap.org

Ought
Hailing from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Ought is set to give DC some solid jamming music. Featuring songs that care little for your shrinking attention span, the band often features subtle rock tracks lasting anywhere from four to seven minutes on average. They’ll toss some quick hitters in every now and then, but the often slow developing songs are intoxicating as they draw you in and string you out, providing an emotional slowburn. Doors at 7:30 p.m. $15-$17. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; www.blackcatdc.com

THURSDAY, APRIL 5 – SUNDAY, APRIL 8

Damaged City Fest
Celebrate hardcore punk from all over the world in DC’s sixth annual Damaged City Fest. This year’s featured bands are Limp Wrist, Turnstile, Radioactivity, The Flex & Arms Race from the UK, RIXE from France, Blazing Eye from California and a rare appearance by New York’s Brown Sugar. Check out the rest of the lineup on Damaged City Fest’s website to plan out your weekend full of thrashing and rocking out. Friday doors open at 6 p.m. Friday aftershow at 11:30 p.m. Saturday doors open at 3 p.m. Saturday aftershow at 11:30 p.m. Sunday doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $15. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; www.blackcatdc.com

FRIDAY, APRIL 6

Cub Sport
Sonically, Cub Sport isn’t too much different than fellow Australians Tame Impala. Though the vocal notes aren’t as high, and the music is a little more on the subtle side, Cub Sport also operates firmly with the intention to make easy-listening pop music. With soothing lyrics and a strong use of diverse synths, Cub Sport provides a sensual sound to listeners worldwide. Though pop music can sometimes make you feel empty inside, this group definitely strives for meaningful sentiment, so give them a listen. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m. $13-$15. Union Stage: 740 Water St. SW, DC; www.unionstage.com

SATURDAY, APRIL 7

The Weather Station
As leader of The Weather Station, Toronto songwriter Tamara Lindeman brings artistic generosity and joy to her latest self-titled and self-produced album, The Weather Station. Even though she says she wanted to make a rock ‘n’ roll record, the result was closer to a sonic experimentation that touches on feminist politics through detailed prose-poem narratives. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. Jammin Java: 227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna, VA; www.jamminjava.com

SUNDAY, APRIL 8

Mountain Heart
Mountain Heart is the band that has been fearlessly revolutionizing the way acoustic music can be presented and played. The band’s name has been synonymous with cutting-edge excellence in acoustic music circles since the group’s creation. Widely known throughout the music industry for continually redefining the boundaries of acoustic music, the band has gained legions of loyal fans both as a result of their superlative musicianship and just as notably, their incendiary live performances. Show at 7:30 p.m. $18-$20. Write-up provided by venue. Gypsy Sally’s: 3401 K St. NW, DC; www.gypsysallys.com

Run River North
From whimsical silliness to acoustic melodrama, Run River North is what you’d call a pretty dynamic band. That doesn’t mean they have a character-defining sound, it just means that their range is noticeable. A lot of indie acts have a tendency to hammer away at your eardrums with similar sounds, whereas Run River North has more of a flow to their work, kind of like a river, which I realize is corny, but hey, I’m going to roll with it. Union Stage continues getting diverse bands, huh? Doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m. $15-$25. Union Stage: 740 Water St. SW, DC; www.unionstage.com

MONDAY, APRIL 9

Current Swell
With their 2017 release, When to Talk and When to Listen, Current Swell is making waves in the indie rock scene. This Canadian band has gained steady popularity since its inception in 2005, and now they’re touring their best album yet to bring a nice variety of moods and tempos to their fans everywhere. Current Swell is making a stop at Jammin Java, so make sure to buy your tickets now before they sell out. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15. Jammin Java: 227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna, VA; www.jamminjava.com

MONDAY, APRIL 9 – SUNDAY, APRIL 15

SHIFT 2018
SHIFT, a festival of American Orchestras, returns to The Kennedy Center this spring. With performances by Fort Worth Symphony, Albany Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra and more, this weeklong event celebrates the extraordinary artistry of orchestral musicians. SHIFT also confronts common misconceptions about orchestras and proves why orchestras are so important to artistic expression and development. Various dates and times. Tickets are $25 for each show. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: 2700 F St. NW, DC; www.kennedy-center.org

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11

Amoramora
With more than 100 shows in 70 different cities in 2017, up-and-coming Amoramora is more than ready to play an awesome show at Gypsy Sally’s. Their jazz fusion, psychedelic bluegrass sound is so groovy, you’ll want to jump out of your seat and dance along. 21+ only. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets $10 advance, $12 day of. Gypsy Sally’s: 3401 K St. NW, DC; www.gypsysallys.com

Pale Waves
Formed in Manchester in 2014, Pale Waves is quintessential to the indie-pop scene in the UK. Just take it from a person who tried to see them at SXSW, but was instead relegated to stand in a blocked off street in order to peak into the club they were performing at. No, I wouldn’t say that is the best way to see them, because standing on the street in the cold is somehow worse than actually sweating in a crowded venue. Anyways, when you hear the words “indie pop” I’m sure some kind of music you’ve heard from the genre plays in your head, so imagine that, only better. Also, I have a ton of respect for any band that opts for a literally blank black canvas as single art. Minimalism is the way to go in today’s society, no? Show at 7 p.m. $15. U St. Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC; www.ustreetmusichall.com

FRIDAY, APRIL 13

Perpetual Groove
Hailing from Athens, Georgia, Perpetual Groove has cultivated a long list of touring experience and a dedicated fan base since forming in 1997. Perpetual Groove pairs fan-described anthemic arena rock with an intense, retina-burning light show to bring down the house with an all-encompassing performance. After a two-year hiatus, Perpetual Groove is back and ready to rock. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com

Pimps of Joytime
Anyone familiar with the Pimps of Joytime live experience knows the feeling: it’s that moment when a deep bluesy groove morphs into a full-on EDM dance beat, or the sensation when the wide-eyed audience collectively elevates in sync with the band’s tangible energy. Just as Brooklyn has changed since the Pimps started, so has the band’s sound. But as Williamsburg gentrifies, the Pimps of Joytime’s diverse evolution keeps the neighborhood’s spirit alive. That spirit goes into the Pimps’ pot, over a soulful roux of rhythm and groove. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 9 p.m. $15-$20. Write-up provided by venue. Gypsy Sally’s: 3401 K St. NW, DC; www.gypsysallys.com

Titus Andronicus
With their March 2 release of A Productive Cough, Titus Andronicus sets aside heavy punk anthems of the past to focus more on soul-bearing songwriting by creating a conversational space between artist and listener. Singer-songwriter Patrick Stickles says he’s looking forward to communicating more effectively with his audience now that he’s not so busy yelling at them. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

SATURDAY, APRIL 14

Dead Horses
At the young age of 15, Dead Horses frontwoman Sarah Vos and her family lost everything when they were expelled from the rural Wisconsin church where her father served as a pastor. From that experience, Vos created Dead Horses’ 2016 album, My Mother the Moon, which blends traditional and indie folk while examining the journey of self-discovery. Named as one of 10 new country artists you need to know by Rolling Stone, this is one show you don’t want to miss. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12-$14. Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House: 2477 18th St. NW, DC; www.songbyrddc.com

Maya Jane Coles
DJ Maya Jane Coles has collected millions of hits on YouTube, Spotify and Soundcloud for her house dub music that she mixes, produces and creates herself, which isn’t as common as you’d think. Her talent has taken her to performances in more than 40 countries, and has brought her multiple awards and features in major publications like Rolling Stone. Make it out to U Street tonight for some great beats and an incredibly fun show. 18+ only. Doors open at 10 p.m. Tickets are $20 advance, $25 at the door. No photo/video allowed. U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC; www.ustreetmusichall.com

SUNDAY, APRIL 15

U.S. Girls
This year marks the 10th anniversary of U.S. Girls and founder Meg Remy’s first four-track recordings of self-produced and spontaneous expressions of instant emotion. After a decade of honing her craft, Remy still hasn’t lost that raw emotion that permeates her first few recordings. U.S. Girls is a display of unmistakable feminine energy from the experience of an American woman. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $13-$15. Union Stage: 740 Water St. SW, DC; www.unionstage.com

MONDAY, APRIL 16

Nap Eyes
With a twang reminiscent of Bob Dylan, the laid back rock of Nap Eyes is enough to mellow you out, but not enough to put you asleep. Featuring simple licks and classic rock and roll sound, the lyrics take you on a star-crazed journey through the universe before bringing you back down to earth with universal topics such as depression, insomnia and bad-for-you habits. Sound too heavy? Well, it is, but on the other hand the songs are highly digestible and rather enjoyable. Don’t believe us, well, wake up from your nap and see for yourself. Doors at 7:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $12. DC9 Nightclub: 1940 9th St. NW, DC; www.dc9.club

TUESDAY, APRIL 17

Eric B. & Rakim
Relive the late 80s and early 90s at The Fillmore with Eric B & Rakim, a legendary hip-hop duo hailing from Long Island. Of Erik B & Rakim, AllMusic wrote “during rap’s so-called golden age in the late ‘80s, Eric B. & Rakim were almost universally recognized as the premier DJ/MC team in all of hip-hop.” In 2016 they announced their reunion for a 2017 tour after a 23-year hiatus, and they’re touring again this spring with 17 dates in the states. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $45. The Fillmore: 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD; www.fillmoresilverspring.com

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18

RZA
If you know anything about RZA, you know about his affinity for retro Chinese martial arts films. From his samples as lead producer and founder of the Wu-Tang Clan and his directing of The Man With the Iron Fists, the rapper, producer, director, etc. always keeps popping out homages to this classic genre. Now, you’ll get to see him tinker with his adoration live, as he rescores the classic The 36th Chamber of Shaolin. The special screening will be filled with instrumentals, beats and effects staight from RZA’s vast collection of sounds. It’s rare we get access to an artist actively toying with his muse, so don’t miss this chance to see one of the most creative music pioneers. Doors at 6 p.m., show at 7 p.m. $36-$45. Warner Theatre: 513 13th St. NW, DC; www.warnertheatredc.com

FRIDAY, APRIL 20

Black Star
You should know who Black Star is. In fact if you don’t, maybe this show isn’t for you, because this duo’s contributions to political hip-hop are literally second to none. Made up of rap stalwarts Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def), the NYC legends are two guys that have historically aged like fine wine. Though their status in the popular culture may be slightly forgotten by the genre’s neophytes, people who are willing to dig into any sort of rap history will discover a colorful discography chalk full of profound lyrics built to change society for the better. Doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $45-$75. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.theanthemdc.com

Wild Ones
The neatest aspect of Wild Ones might be the simple fact that their entire sound is DIY. The Portland, Oregon product has been together for seven years and combines a uniquely soothing voice, provided by Danielle Sullivan, with a pace that mimics soothing R&B music, but sonically uses synths to provide a little more energy. Don’t be swayed by the group’s carefree appearance, as the subtext of their lyrics often touches on the perils of romance or the difficulty of being involved in the constantly evolving music business. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $12-$14. Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House: 2477 18th St. NW, DC; www.songbyrddc.com

SATURDAY, APRIL 21

Slushii
L.A. DJ and dubstep artist Slushii is bringing his futuristic bass and trap sound to Echostage. With an album release in 2017 and a trajectory of success that only seems to keep rising, Slushii is perfecting his craft of beat creation to bring out the bass god in us all. Collaborations in the past year with fellow dubstep artist Marshmello have really brought out Slushii’s musical prowess. 18+ only. Doors open 9 p.m. Tickets are $25-$30. Echostage: 2135 Queens Chapel Rd. NE, DC; www.echostage.com

SUNDAY, APRIL 22

Fatai
This one is soulful. Fatai, an Australian vocalist, has some seriously powerful windpipes as she repeatedly delves deep to produce breathtaking music built on the foundation of her enchanting singing. Because of her location, seeing this artist in North America can prove difficult, and according to her website, she has routinely sold out her stateside appearances. If you’re in the mood for sultry music with gravity and strength, consider seeing Fatai in Vienna. Doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m. $13-$15. Jammin Java: 227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna, VA; www.jamminjava.com

TUESDAY, APRIL 24

Cecily
The DMV’s own Cecily is live at the Anacostia Arts Center fresh off of her latest single release “Pisces,” which sees the talented musician deftly navigate her jazz, soul and R&B influences, creating a medley of sounds. Whether she’s collaborating with a local emcee or standing center stage with the sass of a bonafide super star, Cecily is certainly a local talent you want to catch before she steadily rises through the music scene. Nothing beats an intimate setting with her unique blend of passion and performance. Doors at 7 p.m. Free to attend. Anacostia Arts Center: 1231 Good Hope Rd. SE, DC; www.anacostiaartscenter.com

Preoccupations
These guys are moody. I don’t mean that in necessarily a bad way, but they certainly wear their hearts on their sleeves, if you get my drift. From song titles like “Disarray,” “Anxiety” and “Doubt,” there isn’t much subtlety to their message. This doesn’t stop the songs donning these serious monikers from carrying vignettes of joy, but it does make you listen more carefully for words of wisdom or even relatable scenarios. In a way, the band makes efforts to transfer these feelings into tangible audio, and they do a pretty good job mimicking “Anxiety.” Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $15-$18. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25

The Heavy Pets
This funky rock ‘n’ roll band from South Florida was dubbed “a living, breathing force of nature” by Relix Magazine for their expert song crafting and their powerhouse live performances. As regulars on the national touring circuit for over a decade, The Heavy Pets is a group of well-trained and seasoned musicians who weave elements of indie, funk and reggae into a tapestry of sound that’s all their own. 21+ only. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10. Pearl Street Warehouse: 33 Pearl St. SW, DC; www.pearlstreetwarehouse.com

THURSDAY, APRIL 26

Hawthorne Heights
Feel like reliving your emo days? Come out to the Rock & Roll Hotel to see a performance by Hawthorne Heights, the premiere emo rock band of the 2000s. Bad Frequencies, their first full-length album release since 2013, is set to drop on April 27, so if you’re lucky, they might preview some of their new songs on stage tonight. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

FRIDAY, APRIL 27

Twin Shadow
When I first heard “Five Seconds To Your Heart,” I thought it was a song from a bygone era (*coughs the 80s) I just missed when jumping around those Spotify curated “TOP 80s SONGS” playlists. Instead, it came from Dominican Republic born, Brooklyn bred George Lewis Jr., otherwise known as Twin Shadow. With synths and other electric sounds, the music channels this yesteryear genre, however, Lewis Jr. is able to make the sound his own, and very contemporary, often collaborating with other artists who are interested in pop music from the same era, like HAIM. So even though the drum beats and melodies sound as if they burst from a time machine, know this shadow is firmly a product from an artist of today. Show at 7 p.m. $30. U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC; www.ustreetmusichall.com

SUNDAY, APRIL 29

Minus The Bear
To celebrate 10 years of writing and performing their unique music, Minus The Bear is traveling coast to coast on their Planet of Ice Anniversary Tour. With a sound that could only be described as uniquely patched together, Minus The Bear has carved out their place in the music industry by collecting different components from New York proto-punk, progressive rock, hip-hop and IDM, thus avoiding any type of classification whatsoever. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 advance, $30 at the door. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; www.blackcatdc.com