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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

January 21, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Your week in Seattle music: Wale, RL Grime and more

Also featuring a chameleonic violinist, one of New Zealand’s biggest pop singers and a Scottish band that was a Kurt Cobain favorite.

1 Mates of State

8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21, at The Tractor Tavern, 5231 Ballard Ave. N.W., Seattle; $16 (206-789-3599 or With Fictionists

Mates of State hit a lot of twee touchstones that reached peak popularity around the last time Sufjan Stevens wrote an album about a state. The duo crafts homespun pop songs, topped off with close harmonies between wife Kori Gardner (keys) and husband Jason Hammel (drums), who are known to bring their kids on tour.

(Glynis Arban)

(Glynis Arban)

2 Brooke Fraser

8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, at The Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., Seattle; $17.50 (206-441-7416 or With Dark Waves

Brooke Fraser is one of the most popular musicians in her native New Zealand; each of her first three albums went platinum in that country at least three times. (A platinum record in New Zealand sells 15,000 copies; in the U.S., a platinum record ships a million copies.) The singer and songwriter’s fourth album marks a move away from acoustic fare toward electro-pop.

3 RL Grime

8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, at The Neptune, 1303 N.E. 45th St., Seattle; $21.50–$25 (206-784-4849 or With Lunice, Tommy Kruise

Los Angeles producer and DJ Henry Steinway built his chops making electro-house bangers under the name Clockwork; as RL Grime, he makes similarly frenetic music in the trap/instrumental hip-hop vein. Debut album “Void” has the requisite bass-bomb club tracks, but is otherwise surprisingly varied, drawing from dubstep, grime and U.K. garage.

See my longer SoundPosts preview here.

4 Tower of Power

5:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, to Sunday, Jan. 25, at Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave., Seattle; $46.50 (206-441-9729 OR

Tower of Power has been playing and touring hard for 50-plus years, which makes sense given the longevity of its music: horn- and groove-driven soul and funk. It’s a timeless sound that makes the group a bankable live act all these years later.

5 Beacon

7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23, at Barboza, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $10 (206-709-9951 or With Lord Raja

On “L1,” an EP released in December, production duo Beacon offers a tough, fluid take on electro-pop: sinewy synth lines, tasteful drum programming and R&B-style vocals that are decidedly non-showy. Like a lot of releases on Ann Arbor, Mich., label Ghostly International, it mines the middle ground between music for the club and music for headphones.

6 Murder Vibes

8:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23, at The Columbia City Theater, 4918 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle; $8–$10 (360-723-0088 or With Jamie Aaron Aux, Navvi

Murder Vibes is a relatively duo from Seattle comprising Pete Hanks and Jordan Evans. Though the group is nominally an electronic project (there are synths and drums machines involved), its songs should sound familiar and comfortable for rock listeners. Hanks has a prototypical gritty rock-frontman voice, and on the twosome’s self-titled debut, guitar and conventional song structures figure prominently.

7 Wale

8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23, at The Showbox, 1426 First Ave., Seattle; $25–$30 (206-628-3151 or With Audio Push, Bizzy Crook, Raz Simone

Above all else, Wale strives for his music to be meaningful. In a mixtape age, the Washington, D.C., rapper puts out high-concept, full-length albums with lush production; 2013’s soul music–inspired “The Gifted” features layers of keys, gospel choirs and classic-sounding drums.

8 The Vaselines

8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, at Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $18 (206-709-9442 or With Loch Lomond

Songwriters Frances McKee and Eugene Kelly formed The Vaselines in Scotland in the mid-’80s, put out two under-the-radar EP of brainy alternative rock and disbanded shortly after. (Kurt Cobain was among the group’s fans.) The pair reunited in the mid-2000s and last year released “V for Vaselines,” its third album since the reunion.

Read the Seattle Times interview with Eugene Kelly here.

(Sub Pop)

(Sub Pop)

9 Andy Stott

8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26, at Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $15 (206-709-9442 or With Kowton, Raica

Techno lacks the accessibility found in other kinds of electronic music, but at least you can dance to it. That’s not often the case with Manchester producer Andy Stott, who slows the BPM to a relative crawl on his heavy, foreboding tracks. Despite the bleak atmosphere—or perhaps because of it—Stott’s music can be incredibly beautiful, especially when it features vocals from Alison Skidmore, his former piano teacher.

10 Kishi Bashi String Quartet

7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27, at The Neptune, 1303 N.E. 45th St., Seattle; $25–$27 (206-784-4849 or With Elizabeth & The Catapult

Kaoru Ishibashi played violin with artists like Regina Spektor, Sondre Lerche and Of Montreal before going solo, but he seems to have been inspired by that latter band’s kinetic psychedelic pop. His solo work is busy with string parts and bursting with ideas; when he performs live, he makse heavy use looping for voice and strings.

Comments | More in List | Topics: Andy Stott, Beacon, Brooke Fraser


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