Three Must See Acts This Week

Stavroz on Friday at Public Works, Handsome Ghost on Saturday at Cafe du Nord, and Yeek on Wednesday at Cafe du Nord.

Stavroz

Electronic

Stavroz

9:30 p.m., Friday, June 1, at Public Works. $20; publicsf.com

Producing house music that naturally blends in organic instruments with a jazzy flair seems like something that should be reserved only for those with the knowledge necessary for such a daring sound. Luckily for Gert Beazar and IJsbrand De Wilde, the Belgian masterminds behind Stavroz, their backgrounds as sound engineers have enabled them to fearlessly incorporate sounds that normally would not be heard in any house track. They duo channels elements of jazz, swing, and Balkan music, among other influences. Since their formation in 2011, Stavroz has expanded into a four-piece group, with saxophonist Pieter De Meester and guitarist Maxim Helincks joining the producers both live and in the studio. Stavroz’s 2015 hit single “The Finishing” is a brooding and hazy deep house-focused track guided by De Meester’s smooth and expertly crafted saxophone arrangement. Stavroz’s live performances, much like their studio music, further blur the line between electronic and organic sounds as their pounding house beats along with jazz-spiked improvised live instrumentation will satisfy clubbers just as well as those craving a more thought-provoking live experience.

Indie pop

Handsome Ghost

7 p.m., Saturday, June 2, at Cafe Du Nord. $13; swedishamericanhall.com/cafe-du-nord

Although Handsome Ghost is skilled at creating electronic music, frontman Tim Noyes has a bright, powerful voice that can be attributed to his younger days as an indie folk musician. In an interview with AXS, Noyes explains how The Postal Service served as an inspiration to explore electronic music production, saying, “When we started Handsome Ghost, I started experimenting with some different sounds and not worrying about rules or tradition in music or anything like that.” Steps, Handsome Ghost’s 2015 debut EP, introduces listeners to the group’s ability to create irresistible electronic pop that has a legitimate heart and soul to it. Noyes’ confessional songwriting exemplifies this best in the standout single “Blood Stutter,” which initially earned them a contract with Photo Finish Records. Soon enough, Handsome Ghost expanded from a duo to a full band, releasing its debut studio album Welcome Back in January of this year. The expanded lineup has transformed Handsome Ghost from a bedroom-pop act to a band that sounds ready to take on main stages at festivals, with a mix of organic instruments like pianos and guitars that complement the synths that blend in the background.

Alternative hip-hop

Yeek

7 p.m., Wednesday, June 6, at Cafe Du Nord. $12; swedishamericanhall.com/cafe-du-nord

Referring to Yeek as a rapper is accurate, but it’s not the best label for a genre-bender who weaves flavors of indie pop and R&B into his beat-driven music. Born Sebastian Carandang, the self-taught musician hails from New Jersey, but relocated to Los Angeles — which explains the distinctly West Coast sound that oozes from releases like his 2017 sophomore album Sebastian. The album is a sun-drenched journey that explores the melancholic isolation of moving to L.A., juxtaposing the unsatisfying reality of his experience with lyrics about a pop-infected soundscape. That’s heard on standout track “Only in the West,” and Yeek’s relaxed singing-rapping flow fits well with his admittedly chilled-out beats. When speaking to VICE about Frank Ocean’s Blonde, one of Yeek’s personal favorites, he explained that “A lot of people like to think that slow songs mean that you are being lazy or simple but his songs were intricate. There was depth to them, production- and writing-wise. And those are the things that I feel like I want in my music. I want to reshape the way people see music.” Released earlier this month, Yeek’s EP, Blackheart, is a darker turn when compared to Sebastian, but it sounds like a natural evolution for an emotive and wildly creative mind.

 

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