8 p.m., Saturday, June 8, at The Masonic. $37.50; sfmasonic.com
Although the name Imogen Heap may not appear much in headlines, the visionary musician’s impact on modern pop music cannot be understated. Her presence can be heard in nearly every facet of the pop music atmosphere — sometimes, in surprising ways. The esteemed singer-songwriter has been musically active since she was a toddler, releasing her rock-tinged debut album I Megaphone in 1998. Collaborating with producer Guy Singsworth as Frou Frou, the duo released their sole album, Details, in 2002 to universal acclaim, and gave listeners a taste of the envelope-pushing pop music that would define Heap’s career in the years to come. Her sophomore solo album, 2005’s Speak For Yourself, would prove to be a true breakthrough, with singles like “Goodnight and Go” and the hypnotic “Hide & Seek” cementing Heap as a pop genius. Heap followed through in 2009 with her blissful third record, Ellipse, which earned her a Grammy for Best Engineered Album. Heap’s limitless passion for music technology has also made her a symbol of musical innovation: She’s the co-inventor of Mi.Mu gloves, an advanced wearable instrument that helps blur the line between composition and live performance. How fitting.
(with Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever) 7 p.m., Monday, June 10, at Great American Music Hall. $18; slimspresents.com/great-american-music-hall
Hitting that sweet spot between euphoria and gloom, RVG — short for The Romy Vager Group — has all the qualities of your favorite 1980s post-punk groups, but they’ve crafted their own distinct style and ethos in only a few years. Led by singer-songwriter Romy Vager, the Melbourne natives came together in late 2015, quickly mesmerizing the Australian underground rock scene with their bold stage presence and emotional, goth-drenched sound. Without even an official band photo to their name, RVG self-released their debut album A Quality of Mercy in 2017, earning praise from critics and fans alike and matching Vager’s powerful vocals with her legitimately effective and touching lyricism. Vager’s ability to capture a feeling of melancholy is virtually unmatched, with intense tracks like “Vincent Van Gogh” evoking similarities to The Cure at their peak. The group returned in February with their first single since their previous album, “Alexandra,” produced by PJ Harvey and Nick Cave-affiliate Victor Van Gugt. On “Alexandra,” RVG comes off as more creatively refined, and Vager’s soon-to-be-iconic howl continues to ring with real vigor.
7:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 12, at Cafe Du Nord. $15; swedishamericanhall.com/cafe-du-nord
Blending hip-hop with elements of traditional Indian music, Raja Kumari connects East with West through an idiosyncratic style that the singer, rapper, dancer, and producer dubs “BollyHood.” Born and raised in Claremont, she grew up studying classic Indian music, but her lifelong admiration for hip-hop spurred by Tupac and The Fugees enabled the musician to find the connections between the two previously disassociated genres. Upon graduating college, Kumari steadily built her name in the industry, co-writing songs for Fall Out Boy, Fifth Harmony, and Gwen Stefani, and earning a BMI Pop Award and a Grammy nomination for her songwriting credits. Set to emerge as a disruptive force in hip-hop, Kumari released her debut EP The Come Up in 2016, immediately drawing praise from nearly all corners as people were struck by Kumari’s unprecedented sound and artistic confidence. Apart from acting on screen and hosting her own show The New India on Beats 1, the always-diligent Kumari released her compelling new EP Bloodline in February, which hears the musician at her most uncompromising.
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