Take shelter from the early October weather in one of our city's many local music venues and enjoy live sets by artists like the bearer of Fela Kuti's legacy (Seun Kuti), a rising rap star blessed by Bey herself (Aminé), or a composer of goth shoegaze performing amidst what can sometimes feel like the seat of the universe (Drab Majesty). Follow the links below for ticket links and music clips for all of our critics' picks, and find even more on our music calendar.
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Superficially, it’s apparent why 20-year-old New York MC Lil Peep gets called an “emo rapper.” Besides looking the part—GQ called him a “post-Tumblr rock star,” which seems right—he’s sampled the likes of Brand New and Underoath. But the key to his appeal, largely among teens who’d shun traditional emo (or anything with guitars, really), is the candor with which he discusses substance abuse and mental health, showing a level of vulnerability still uncommon in rap. Like Young Thug or Lil B, Peep is an artist who’s complicating mainstream ideas of what a rapper should look or sound like. ANDREW GOSPE
Saint Etienne formed in the 1980s, but they didn't come into their own until vocalist and co-lyricist Sarah Cracknell, their not-so-secret weapon, joined Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs in the 1990s. Cracknell doesn't exactly whisper, but it's hard to imagine what her yell might sound like as she nimbly navigates the expanse between the subtlety of samba and the sass of Britpop. On the trio's ninth studio effort, the Shawn Lee-produced Home Counties, they take listeners on a tour through Britain's southern suburbs with Cracknell’s best-travel-guide-ever vocals filling the void left by spiritual ancestors Françoise Hardy and the Auteurs. KATHY FENNESSY
Seun Kuti & Egypt 80
Imagine the pressure saxophonist/vocalist Seun Kuti must experience. Being the son of Fela Kuti—revolutionary pioneer of Afrobeat and a powerful political force feared by the government in his native Nigeria—cannot be easy. But 34-year-old Seun has taken the reins of his father’s large ensemble, Egypt 80, and guided it into the 21st century with authority. Fela’s earnest offspring is furthering his pop’s dictum to keep the rhythms sizzling and the lyrics sociopolitically trenchant. Seun Kuti has kept one of music’s heaviest legacies thriving long after its progenitor’s death, maintaining rigorous quality control, with help from several members from Fela’s era. Wear a sweatband or two tonight. DAVE SEGAL
Bleachers with Tangerine
Bleachers, Jack Antonoff's latest project, will unleash its brand of synth-driven, nostalgia-heavy party rock in support of their recently released second album, Gone Now. They'll be flanked by Seattle expat group Tangerine (now in Los Angeles).
Walter TV, Sleeping Lessons, Snuff Redux
Walter TV, in which Mac Demarco used to play bass and band mate Pierce McGarry fronts, is the cracked-out cousin of Demarco’s music. It’s like the ennui-riddled characters from Tim Heidecker’s The Comedy got sober for long enough to learn some instruments, then recorded a Ween cover album straight to 4-track. All the wincingly saccharine impulses of Demarco’s work are jettisoned in favor of blown-out jamming and half-assed harmonies. It's not unlike watching your brilliant loser friends rehearse in a bong-fogged basement, for better or worse. KYLE FLECK
Leslie Feist exists in this squiggly middle ground of folksy pop weavers who have excellent production and promotion teams but don’t necessarily stir tangible excitement with their output. To her misfortune, she’s not as poetically bizarre as Kate Bush and not as tightly orchestrated as St. Vincent. Her latest release, Pleasure, relies heavily on the tried-and-true, stark-yet-emotive nature of bluesy arrangements to provide a backbone for her lengthier exercising of lyrical drama. She’s certainly talented, but not life-changing, which, I guess, is all any of us can really hope for. KIM SELLING
Dayglo Abortions, Demerit, Starving Wolves, Ground Score, Escape from the ZOO
Damn, it ain’t often we get such a clutch of globally sourced ragin’! For fook’s sake, Dayglo Abortions and their cheeky Canuck metal-tainted hardcore thrashin' would'a been enough, but we’re also getting Chinese punks Demerit and their contemporary metal-clad hardcore! And from down South, two Texan bands: the Starving Wolves, who blast NWOBHM-style metal hardcore, and Houston’s Escape from the ZOO, who shred fun, melodic Lookout Records–like punk. Plus a killer Santa Cruz group, Ground Score, who punk out with a cool mid-’80s, and very Midwest-sounding, melodic hardcore style. MIKE NIPPER
Krewella, Unlike Pluto, Super Square
Windy City electro duo Krewella are notable not only because they're two sisters making music together, but also because, since their debut, they've charted on Billboard and blown out festival sets the world over with their infectious dubstep and EDM party tracks.
Wachira’s understatedly powerful songs of resilience, identity, and empowerment would seem to be the perfect fit for a night about internal strength, without ever getting preachy or melodramatic about it. It doesn’t hurt that she’s got a wallop of a voice, all the better to deliver her casually catchy ballads. KYLE FLECK
The Spider Ferns and Natasha Kmeto with DJ R-Pal
Bow, Washington, duo the Spider Ferns (multi-instrumentalists Kelly and Alton Fleek) create sleek, ultra-modern pop with extremely punchy and bulbous drum-machine programming. Kelly’s alluring vocals curl around angular, down-tempo, funky tunes that are accessible without resorting to sugary pandering. The Spider Ferns claim to “make music late at night in a converted barn at the base of a small mountain,” but the sounds they deftly craft scan as urban and are constructed with spare elegance. DAVE SEGAL
Portland’s Adam Aminé Daniel, better known as Aminé, emerged on the scene last year with the release of his debut single, “Caroline.” The slick and catchy track rose to number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2016, securing Aminé’s place in XXL’s Freshman Class in 2017. Since then, “Caroline” has made it into one of Beyoncé’s Instagram posts, and he released his debut record earlier this year. Good for You is a banana-crazed ode to summer that will stay in your head for days, and it includes features from Offset, Nelly, and Kehlani. ANNA KAPLAN
C Average, the Grindylow, Scorpiknox, Skullbot
Dig this primo lineup of headbangery for this eve’s hesh sesh! Okay, it’s not enough that Oly faves C Average are bringing Frelard their crushing, metallic-ized math rock, but there is a PILE of heavy locals set to blow the actual substation into bits! Right, the Grindylow—who consist of Blöödhag longhairs—play heavy rock and roll, Scorpiknox are proper Seattle metalheads, and Skullbot offer cool rock rave-ups. I can only imagine the sweat, beer, and weed stank level in the air at tonight’s end… oh, and the sore necks tomorrow. MIKE NIPPER
Elgar's classic Enigma Variations is thoughtful, mysterious, and powerful, but it can come off kinda stately sometimes, and so it will benefit from the "Untuxed" treatment. During these special symphony performances, the musicians trade their fancy tuxes and dresses for jeans, and the program is cut to just the main serving. It's a perfect way to unwind and bliss out after a long Friday. RICH SMITH
Florida Georgia Line, Nelly, Chris Lane
Nü-bro duo Florida Georgia Line have hit the big time making contemporary country music for the masses. They'll be joined by Nelly and Chris Lane on their "Smooth" Tour.
Imagine Dragons, Grouplove, K.Flay
Choose your own adventure, Imagine Dragons edition. A: You go ga-ga for these clean-cut pop-rockers, you bought your tickets months ago, and you have the concert poster set as the lock screen on your phone. Go directly to KeyArena and enjoy yourself. B: You’re jaded, pop radio is garbage, why would the Stranger even bother to waste the space writing about a band seemingly lab-created to enthrall idiots and irritate everyone else? Go here, wherein I’ll give you my honest take: Imagine Dragons craft an entirely disposable, offensively innocuous cocktail of Coldplay and Mumford and Sons. A band couldn’t sound more like they hailed from Vegas if they tried. C: You don’t know who or what Imagine Dragons is/are. Turn on that sleek rectangle on your desk, go to this thing called Wikipedia, and catch up with the under-30 set, then return to choice A. D: You want a contrarian thesis on why, actually, Imagine Dragons and their ilk are secretly pop-music geniuses and their pre-fabricated sound is a subversive commentary on the transient nature of fame in a post-sellout music landscape. Go to choice B. I don’t have the energy, and these guys aren’t that smart. KYLE FLECK
Kinski, Low Hums, Galaxy Research
After nearly 20 years as a band, Seattle’s Kinski continue to deliver groovy, kraut-tinged grunge riffs. Their vast psychedelic sprawl recalls early/mid-1990s Sonic Youth’s noise-rock dirges, sometimes peppered with prog flourishes or what I like to call “long-form flute breakdowns.” BRITTNIE FULLER
Moon Taxi is a five-piece indie-rock band hailing from Nashville, Tennessee. They'll be stopping in Seattle for their Put Em Up tour, joined by Too Many Zooz, an experimental dance group from New York.
Boris, Sumac, Endon
Boris don’t want to be categorized. Fine. I’ll just say that the new album, Dear, sounds like tectonic plates shifting and/or a boulder rolled by Sisyphus slowly crushing a garbage truck full of glass. That simple! And they don’t seem decided about breaking up and/or not releasing new stuff after they run out of already-recorded stuff, so catch this if you care. Sumac want to be the heaviest band in the world. Well, I hear a lot about such things down here, but they’re smart enough to mix in some plink in with the smackdown. ANDREW HAMLIN
London-based Gorgon City will present their second studio album, KINGDOM, joined by Solardo, a fellow UK techno duo.
So rereading Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew turns out to be good schoolin’ for the new Liars album, TFCF. I got reacquainted on both sides with menace rising dark and burbling like floodwater, and the isolation a human can feel inside said human’s own head. Liars mastermind Andrew Angus shows up solo in a wedding dress for the cover, waiting for someone to take it, not from him but with him. He’s the only one left from what used to be a band, and he’s down to less in-your-face Lecter, more brooding over time lost and how much is left. ANDREW HAMLIN
Live in the Laser Dome: Drab Majesty
If you’re looking for one of the most rewarding convergences of shoegaze and goth happening right now, you should direct your ears toward Drab Majesty. The LA-based project’s name telegraphs their sound, which is very considerate of them. They cite Red Lorry Yellow Lorry (a British band that flourished in the 1980s—they were the impecunious person’s Sisters of Mercy) and the Chameleons as influences, and I’d add Legendary Pink Dots and Sad Lovers and Giants. Basically, Drab Majesty use mutedly chiming guitar and satisfying drum-machine programming to conjure vistas of grandly glum rock for people who view smiling with utmost suspicion. As they prove on their new album, The Demonstration, Drab Majesty are exceptional at what they do. DAVE SEGAL
Iconic Italian composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi has topped the classical charts in 42 countries and recently released an album called Elements.
Paul Metzger, John Saint-Pelvyn, Arrington de Dionyso, Noel Meek
Not many banjo iconoclasts roam the earth these days, so when one comes around, you should take note. Paul Metzger has produced a sizable discography since 2005 that exhibits his manifold methods of making that normally tradition-bound instrument sound like a sitar, a synthesizer, and other instruments that have yet to be named. Besides being a master improviser known to take a violin bow to his banjo, Metzger is an exceptional crafter of drones that act as a conduit for deep meditation. This is a rare Seattle appearance for the tireless experimenter. DAVE SEGAL
Earshot Jazz Festival
If you have any love for jazz in the Pacific Northwest, clear your schedule right now for the Earshot Jazz Festival. The nonprofit Earshot began life in 1984 and has presented 2,500 concerts since then, and the festival marks the yearly culmination of their programming. This year, it will feature more than 50 events in venues across the city, including "the contemporary giants of the art" (Brad Mehldau, Brian Blade, and Wycliffe Gordon), according to Charles Mudede, not to mention the avant-garde star Satoko Fuji and Greg Tate's Burnt Sugar Arkestra, which is "all about Miles Davis fusion period." What keeps Earshot so vital, year after year? "Jazz is an expanding universe," said festival executive director John Gilbreath to The Stranger's Dave Segal in 2014. "All directions. All of the time. In Seattle, as around the world. And that's the juice for this festival, presenting that momentum within the frame of this place, at this time." (Through November 12)
L.A. Witch, Sugar Candy Mountain, Dopey's Robe
Just as there are too many bands with “Witch” in their name, there are also too many bands from LA. So when presented with a group called L.A. Witch, one must fight mental fatigue in order to give them a fair hearing. Thankfully, their just-released self-titled debut album on Suicide Squeeze proves L.A. Witch’s brooding, reverberant garage rock should overcome your biases. The songs’ dark, sexy, and mysterious vibes make them ideal for placement in a David Lynch disciple’s film or TV show—or for an opening slot on a Jesus and Mary Chain world tour. DAVE SEGAL
SEA NO H8—Benefit Concert for Indivisible Project
The Stranger's own Rich Smith will host this benefit concert for the activist group Indivisible, which lobbies for humanitarian and leftist causes. Rock out to music by soul diva Tiffany Wilson and Brazilian group En Canto and enjoy food truck fare and a special Optimism Brewing beer.
Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko, Illest Uminati, Swisher Sleep
Hiphop legend Tech N9ne brings his many evolutions to the Showbox stage, with guests Krizz Kaliko, Illest Uminati, and Swisher Sleep on his second Seattle tour stop of 2017.