There are some hard choices that need to be made this week. Between Monday and Tuesday, four of the best performers currently touring will stop through town. On Monday we have Alt-J up against Primus and on Tuesday we have Tori Amos up against The Shins. All four of these performers have excellent new records this year. Here is a little primer to get you up to speed and help you make the difficult choices.
Alt-J at the Orpheum
In June, Alt-J dropped their third studio record—Relaxer. This album developed and expanded their alternative pastoral experimentation. I’ve talked a fair bit about these guys over the years—their debut record An Awesome Wave was my record of the year in 2012. There is something hypnotic about Alt-J live and in the space of The Orpheum they should sound amazing. The Orpheum is designed for this sort of grand sweeping musical expression. Here we have a band I talk about constantly and a venue that I can’t stop praising coming together for one night. I highly recommend that you check out this show. Check out their version of “House of the Rising Sun” below.
Primus at The Civic
If you are looking for something with more of an edge to it, Primus return to The Civic with their new record—The Desaturating Seven. This is a concept album based on the children’s book—The Rainbow Goblins. After the success of their interpretation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it would seem that Claypool and company have realized that their slightly sinister style makes a great counterpoint to narratives of innocence and discovery. Primus generally play pretty long shows that incorporate a number of songs from their diverse history. You may be able to bounce over from Alt-J and catch a bit of this show at the end of the evening. Check out “The Seven” below:
Tori Amos at Mahalia Jackson
Of all the artists mentioned here, Tori needs the least introduction. Her groundbreaking debut record Little Earthquakes turned 25 this year. Amos has been uncompromisingly unique throughout her career. Her art has always created its own path without yielding to whatever the contemporary pop cliche of the time might have been. This trend continued with the release of Native Invader this year. Her voice and vision remain as vital as always. Tori doesn’t come around that often so this is a special treat. Check out “Broken Arrow” below:
The Shins at The Civic
If Tori doesn’t do it for you, The Shins have you covered over at The Civic. I’ve talked at length about The Shins’ recent record Heartworms—a record which will definitely be on my top ten list this year. James Mercer has captured the essence of the band’s sound in these tracks—they are funny, wry and poignant all at once. From what I have seen, the current tour consists of a wonderful mix of the new and old. This will be a profoundly joyful night of excellent indie pop. “Half a Million” is easily one of the best songs of the year:
To Do This Week
In addition to the great shows above you can catch Jay-Z at the Smoothie King Center tonight or Old Crow at The Orpheum. Tomorrow Japandroids play Republic with Cloud Nothings. Saturday Griz is at The Orpheum. Sunday Grizzly Bear rolls into the Civic.
To Listen This Week
- Great new track from tUnE-yArDs via Youtube
- New video from Angel Olsen via Youtube
- Zola Jesus release video for “Siphon” via CoS