Here are the three must-see acts in the Bay Area this week:
8 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 26, at The Fillmore. $26.50; thefillmore.com
After an eight-year hiatus that left many fans wondering if they would ever return, Friendly Fires came back better than ever with their energetic new album, Inflorescent, released last month. A trio of longtime friends, the English band first made a name for themselves with their 2008 self-titled debut album, a kinetic blend of hooky indie rock anthems and dance-punk breakdowns that holds up remarkably well after a decade. The trio’s next album, 2011’s Pala, expanded the band’s sonic scope, incorporating flourishes of electro-pop and post-punk in sleekly-produced package that hears the band truly solidify their idiosyncratic sound. However, the trio would enter a multi-year hiatus following the lengthy Pala tour to explore other music projects, before slowly reconvening in late 2018 to reignite Friendly Fires. The three friends wasted no time coming up with new ideas for material, resulting in their most compelling album yet, Inflorescent. The album hears the band shift their foundation away from indie rock to house music, crafting their tracks around four-on-the-floor rhythms that move the album forward in unpredictable, and consistently intriguing, directions.
9 p.m., Saturday, Sep. 28, at The New Parish (Oakland.) $17; thenewparish.com
Using jazz and hip-hop as a foundation for his multifaceted production technique, Taylor McFerrin’s brand of smooth and soulful electronic music is elevated by the sense of human warmness imprinted on each track. The son of vocal jazz legend Bobby McFerrin, Taylor McFerrin grew up immersed in classic jazz and soul, as well as hip-hop and electronic music through self-discovery, which inspired a young McFerrin to make beats on his laptop. 2006 would see the release of McFerrin’s debut EP Broken Vibes, a downtempo, broken beat-inspired record that is underscored by McFerrin’s effortless jazz tendencies. McFerrin would spend the next few years recording a mass of new material before compiling it and releasing his stunning 2014 debut album, Early Riser. Released on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label, Early Riser is a forward-thinking electronic jazz opus that is defined by McFerrin’s carefully calculated approach to music production that enables an array of genres to blend together in harmony. In an unprecedented move, McFerrin’s latest album Love’s Last Chance hears the musician take lead vocal duty for the entirety of the album in an intimate and confessional manner.
(with Nilüfer Yanya) 8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 1, at The Independent. $18; theindependentsf.com
Soulful and eclectic, this fast-rising singer-songwriter exemplifies a level of artistic confidence that one would expect from a seasoned veteran, but the boundless Hana Vu just barely graduated high school. The Los Angeles vocalist and multi-instrumentalist started producing and releasing music online as a preteen, creating low-key indie rock using multi-tracked vocals and drum machines on her laptop. Vu would collaborate with Willow Smith for her 2016 breakthrough “Queen of High School,” a dreamy and bluesy track marked by swooning vocals and delicate guitar work. After grabbing the attention of Fat Possum Records, Vu made her label debut with the 2018 EP How Many Times Have You Driven By, which hears Vu incorporate R&B and dream pop influences for an introspective and melancholic experience. Vu’s upcoming EP Nicole Kidman/Anne Hathaway looks to expand Vu’s already multifaceted sound, as lead single “Actress” is an upbeat and catchy anthem rounded out with brass horns and funky guitar licks.