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Categories: Hear This

These Are The Three Must-See Acts This Week

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Indie pop

mxmtoon

7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 31, at Great American Music Hall. $20; slimspresents.com

Prior to the release of her compelling debut album the masquerade, singer-songwriter mxmtoon had already amassed a sizable fanbase after her videos went viral on TikTok, with over 900,000 followers to date. However, with a legitimate sense of compassion, the young musician is quietly rewriting the rulebook on how artists connect with their fans. The Oakland artist, who also goes by Maia, uploaded ukulele-driven and GarageBand-recorded songs and covers to her YouTube channel while in high school, opting to take a gap year after graduating to focus on her burgeoning music career. Late last year saw the release of mxmtoon’s delicate and emotionally-resonant debut EP plum blossoms, introducing listeners to the artist’s confessional lyricism and soft yet confident vocal delivery. Entering the year holding a strong bond with her fast-growing audience, mxmtoon released her debut album the masquerade last month to critical-acclaim, refining her sound for a wholly-singular dose of bedroom pop.

Courtesy of Artist

Alternative R&B

Zsela

(with Cat Power) 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 1, at The Fillmore. $45; thefillmore.com

A naturally gifted songstress unafraid to venture into unexplored musical territory, Zsela Thompson’s avant-garde touch on R&B leaves a bold and lasting impression on the listener. The ascending Brooklyn singer-songwriter boasts a powerful voice reminiscent of Nina Simone or Joni Mitchell, with the capability to command the audience’s attention. With production by Daniel Aged, who has collaborated with Moses Sumney and Kelela, Thompson released her debut single “Noise” in February, a blues-tinged and melancholic ballad that earned universal praise. Last month saw the release of Thompson’s latest single “Earlier Days,” another Aged-produced composition that hears a vulnerable Thompson reflect on a fractured relationship with the audible poise one would expect from a veteran songwriter. The currently unsigned artist is planning to release her debut EP early next year, and if Thompson’s first two impeccable tracks are any indication, her mainstream breakthrough is on the horizon.

Photo by Shervin Lainez

Electronic pop

SHAED

9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 2, at The Independent. $15; theindependentsf.com

Before creating futuristic synthpop as SHAED, the D.C. trio released folk-tinged roots rock as The Walking Sticks while in college. The creative transition was beneficial for the trio, who saw near immediate success with their 2016 single, “Thunder,” an opulently-produced anthem that serves as a striking mission statement for what sonic journey SHAED would embark on, expanding their sound with their debut EP, Just Wanna See. After touring with Marian Hill and Bishop Briggs, the trio spent most of 2017 recording ideas for their next EP. The result was 2018’s Melt, a soulful and hook-heavy serving of sultry electro-pop centered around sleek production and singer Chelsea Lee’s versatile vocal talent. The EP’s jazzy breakthrough single, “Trampoline,” has already been certified platinum by Billboard, with a tasteful remix from Zayn released last month that is sure to propel the single, and SHAED themselves, to even further heights.

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Tim Casagrande

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