Three Must-See Acts This Week

Tara Brooks on Friday at Halcyon, Sonlittle on Monday at Swedish American Music Hall and Broncho on Wednesday at Slim's.

Dance

Tara Brooks

10 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8, at Halcyon. $10; halcyon-sf.com

R&B/Soul 

Known for her distinctly melodic take on tech-house, Tara Brooks is a master of anticipation in the studio and in the DJ booth, crafting tense yet mystical sounding atmospheres. The Los Angeles producer learned to DJ with vinyl records after graduating college, ultimately finding a home within the city’s underground dance scene where Brooks would become a staple. Brooks’ hypnotic, genre-defying approach to mixing has since amazed crowds at top clubs and festivals around the world, with Burning Man as her personal favorite. Released on John Digweed’s seminal dance label Bedrock, Brooks’ latest EP, Eunoia, is an enchanting and vibrant spin on melodic techno, hearing Brooks evolve her sound with hints of acid house and psytrance. 

Courtesy of Artist

Son Little 

7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 11, at Swedish American Hall. $20; swedishamericanhall.com

Deconstructing R&B to its core elements, Son Little’s singular approach to songwriting results in sublime yet intimate blues-tinged soul that has earned him comparisons to his heroes, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Wonder. Born Aaron Livingston, the singer-songwriter worked with The Roots and Hezekiah throughout the 2000s before releasing The Abandoned Lullaby, an experimental soul collaboration with RJD2. Little’s breakthrough came shortly prior to the 2015 release of his eponymous debut album as his single “Lay Down” surprisingly accumulated millions of streams. Little’s album would live up to expectations, delivering bold and deeply emotional ballads with the intensity of Tom Waits, with minimalistic tinges of funk similar to D’Angelo’s Black Messiah. For his 2017 sophomore album New Magic, Little stripped down his sound to only include organic instrumentation, yet he delivers a strikingly fresh take on soul that naturally incorporates elements of hip-hop and funk, heard best in the album’s centerpiece, “Blue Magic.” Last month saw the release of Little’s latest EP, Invisible, which hears the musician experiment in lesser explored areas of R&B, beautifully layering his vocals in Bon Iver-like fashion on “I’m a Builder (Outtake).” 

Courtesy of Artist

Art rock 

Broncho 

7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 13, at Slim’s. $20; slimspresents.com

Initially bursting onto the scene earlier this decade with their eccentric and absurdist style of art punk, Broncho’s boundless creative ambition has made them one of indie rock’s most consistently compelling bands. Formed by singer and guitarist Ryan Lindsay after a series of spontaneous recording sessions with friends, Broncho released their giddy and addicting 2011 debut album Can’t Get Past the Lips to glowing reception, with many instantly falling in love with the band’s quirky nuances. Broncho’s 2014 sophomore album, Just Hip Enough to Be a Woman, hears the band channel power pop in the vein of The Cars or Billy Idol with an unmistakable dose of characteristic surreal punk. Inspired by the sour political landscape and modern social anxieties, Broncho’s latest album, 2018’s Bad Behavior, hears the group mature their sound without restraining their idiosyncrasies, as Lindsay delivers his most personal and insightful lyricism to date. 

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