Three Must-See Acts This Weekend

Gregory Alan Isakov on Saturday at Great American, Alina Baraz on Tuesday at the Warfield, and Dream Wife on Tuesday at Cafe du Nord.

Gregory Alan Isakov. Photo by Rebecca Caridad

Indie folk

Gregory Alan Isakov

9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, at Great American Music Hall. $40; slimspresents.com/great-american-music-hall/

A traveler at heart, Gregory Alan Isakov’s down-to-earth brand of folk reflects on his life experiences in the many places he has called home, yet a common thread throughout Isakov’s discography is defining what “home” means to him. Born in Johannesburg but raised in Philadelphia, Isakov began touring with other bands at age 16, describing music as the only constant force in his otherwise turbulent life. Eventually relocating to Colorado, Isakov set his sights on performing solo and released his debut album Rust Colored Stones in 2003 on his own Suitcase Town Music label. Isakov’s 2013 The Weatherman proved to be a landmark album, earning him critical and commercial success, with many listeners comparing his lyricism to that of Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen. In 2016, Isakov collaborated with The Colorado Symphony for a live album that encompassed orchestral versions of his most cherished songs throughout his career. Today, he’s prepping the anticipated release of his fourth studio album, Evening Machines, which looks to be a darker and more meditative turn for the musician. The album, which comes out this Friday, has the pre-released singles “Caves” and “Chemicals,” both of which are equal parts distressing and beautiful, all wrapped in an optimistic atmosphere.

 

Alina Baraz. Photo by Jora Frantzis

Experimental R&B

Alina Baraz

8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 9, at The Warfield. $34.50; thewarfieldtheatre.com

Raised on a diet of classical music (from her parents) and ’90s R&B (through self-discovery), singer-songwriter Alina Baraz is a true natural talent, giving listeners delicately produced work complete with flawlessly integrated vocals. Born in Cleveland, her earliest artistic influences include Adele and Amy Winehouse, and after moving to Los Angeles at 19 to jumpstart her prospective career, Baraz’s talent did not go unnoticed for long. Finding a kindred spirit in the multifaceted Danish producer Galimatias, the two released their collaborative debut EP Urban Flora in 2015. Its eight tracks are a hazy, colorful journey through left field R&B and subdued downtempo flourishes, reminiscent of Sade and Portishead. Fast forward three years, and Bataz is hot on the heels of her April debut album The Color of You, a minimalistic but elegant collection of sultry R&B and soulful electronic beats. Taking a less-is-more approach, Baraz’s hypnotic vocals never overpower the instrumentals unnecessarily; instead, she finds a harmonious balance with smoothed-out beats that sound perfectly in tune with each other.

 

Dream Wife. Photo by Joanna Kiely

Punk rock

Dream Wife

7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Cafe du Nord. $12; swedishamericanhall.com/cafe-du-nord

It is almost terrifying to believe that London’s exciting new punk trio Dream Wife was originally intended to be a temporary performance art project. That rare spark which so many artists struggle to find was undeniably there at their beginning, something that has since translated Dream Wife into an essential group for any rock listener. The trio, comprised of lead vocalist Rakel Mjöll, guitarist Alice Go, and bassist Bella Podpadec came together in 2015 during their time in art school. Having formed as a way to travel abroad, Dream Wife’s members knew their project had become something larger than they imagined shortly after completing their first DIY tour across Europe and Canada. Their 2016 debut, EP01, combines the force of sweet-pop hooks and shrieking guitar riffs anchored by Mjöll’s insane vocal talent, which itself has the electrifying howls of Karen O and soothing croons of Shirley Manson. This January saw the release of Dream Wife’s unanimously acclaimed self-titled debut album, which builds off the excellent foundation of their EP, proving themselves as a defiant force to be reckoned with in a male-dominated music industry by obliterating standard genre-expectations. Empowering lyricism combined with an irresistible kinetic energy, Dream Wife is a refreshing treasure for modern punk rock.

 

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