The Black Lips
When the Black Lips formed in the late 1990s, they sounded like any other young, energetic, punk-rock band. Their early albums were reckless, unrestrained, smeary, and dripping with reverb. With each new album, the Black Lips gained more control over their sound and tip-toed further away from punk.
They also began homing in on specific eras in rock — like psych and surf — delivering near-perfect executions of those styles. Let It Bloom is so groovy it sounds like it was recorded whenever the first Austin Powers movie takes place, while 200 Million Thousand is chock-full of dirty guitar chords and a more Western vibe. Things get campy and cute in 2011’s Arabia Mountain, which includes songs filled with clapping and whistling, and titles like “Spidey’s Curse.”
Their newest album, Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art?, is more of a mixed-bag, featuring folky group songs like “Crystal Night” and frenetic, soul-streaked rockers like “Rebel Intuition.” The Black Lips’ sound may be all over the rock ’n’ roll spectrum, but they certainly know how to keep listeners guessing.
At 8 p.m., Tuesday, June 13, at Great American Music Hall. $18-$42.95; slimspresents.com
Crawl Space, South American artist Tei Shi’s debut album, is named after the place she visited to help conquer her fear of the dark as a child. In fact, the bulk of the murky indie-pop project is about overcoming obstacles, and includes songs about persevering through bullshit, proving the haters wrong, and patching holes in relationships.
Starting with the minimalist, a capella track “M&Ms,” Shi began releasing music in 2013, but she didn’t make waves until the release of her second EP in 2015. On it was the dubby, syncopated slow-burner “Basically,” which solidified her as a moody pop purveyor in the same vein as Banks or Chairlift. It also helped her book a spate of festival appearances throughout the next year — so if her name sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen it on a lineup or two.
At 8 p.m., Tuesday, June 13, at Swedish American Music Hall. $15; swedishamericanhall.com
After a few years of releasing short EPs, the Australian duo Bag Raiders decided to go big or go home. Their self-titled debut album consists of 25 tracks of bubbly, upbeat, and tropical-flecked electronic tunes that channel major Chromeo vibes. A lot of their tracks have lyrics, and while they are predictably hokey — “Am I dreaming or are you beaming?” is one example — they’re buried deep below the instrumentals, so they’re not that obvious or annoying.
These days, there’s no shortage of talented electronic acts coming from Down Under, but Bag Raiders stand out because they’re constantly innovating and keeping their sound fresh. Their most recent record, “Beat Me To The Punch,” is a snazzy, new-jack-swing confection that seamlessly blends vocals by Grammy-winning singer Mayer Hawthorne.
At 8:30 p.m., Friday, June 9, at Regency Ballroom. $20-$25; theregencyballroom.com
In 2016, Grammy-nominated singer Raheem DeVaughn and poet-musician Wes Felton teamed up to form the melodic hip-hop duo, The CrossRhodes. Since then, they’ve been busy in the studio, churning out almost half a dozen EPs with production from the likes of DJ Jazzy Jeff and 9th Wonder.
Their recent track, “Footprints on the Moon,” meshes lush instrumentals with old-school bars directed toward the Black community — men, in particular. With a chorus that goes “You deserve the world, my nigga / See the world as yours, my nigga,” the two artists encourage listeners to do more with their lives, urging them to “push the limit, my G / Don’t settle for the city or the block or the streets.”
In a YouTube video, Felton says the motivation for writing that song and others like it is because the band feels “that right now, the Black community specifically has a need for artists to be spokesmen for them.” Rappers of yore, like Public Enemy, he adds, “reflected the people more than a lot of these artists do now.”
At 9 p.m., Friday, June 9, at the New Parish in Oakland. $25-$35; thenewparish.com
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