7:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 29, at Cafe du Nord. $13; swedishamericanhall.com
Ferocious and soulful with a gritty Southern edge, Louisiana’s Seratones create emphatic rock and roll led by the powerful vocals of leader A.J. Haynes. Since their formation in 2014, the Shreveport band became local legends within Louisiana’s music scene, which led to their signing with Fat Possum records, one of the most prominent indie labels in the South. Seratones’ 2016 debut album Get Gone is a bold and confident introduction to the group’s soulful spirit blended with garage rock tendencies, as Haynes’ gospel-trained voice perfectly compliments the bluesy riffs delivered from guitarist Connor Davis. Last Friday saw the release of Seratones’ sophomore effort, the aptly-named Power, a rollicking and compelling dose of soul-infused funk rock that hears an invigorated Haynes command the listener’s undivided attention throughout the entirety of the album’s runtime. With keen production help from Cage the Elephant frontman Bradley Shultz, Power is a high-energy follow-up to Get Gone, as Haynes explores themes surrounding social justice and self-worth with equal parts of anger and optimism.
Photo by Matt Allen
8:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 31, at Bottom of the Hill. $12; bottomofthehill.com
Recently praised by Rolling Stone as “America’s most inventive young psychedelic band,” Empath create fuzzy and animated noise rock that manages to sound both hard and soft simultaneously. The four-piece band hails from West Philadelphia and got their start by nearly destroying the basement of their shared house thanks to their boisterous and thrash-friendly style. The band self-released their rambunctious debut EPs Crystal Reality, Vol. 1 & 2 in 2016, introducing listeners to the group’s abrasive yet melodic sound similar to No Age or early Deerhunter. Empath’s 2018 follow-up EP, Liberating Guilt and Fear, hears the group evolve their sound to incorporate more shades of pop underneath a blanket of raucous distortion and chaotic drumming. This past May saw the long-awaited release of Empath’s debut album, Active Listening: Night on Earth, and hears the band capture the meditative yet abrasive sound that was teased in their earlier releases. The 27-minute effort balances out the moments of the band’s characteristic, noise-drenched tantrums with soft, almost-ambient excursions of pure psychedelic beauty. Active Listening is ultimately elevated to soaring heights thanks to Catherine Elicson’s vibrant and powerful vocals, which shine through the sea of layered, shoegaze-esque noise.
Ghostface Killah & Raekwon
9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 31, at The Midway. $20; themidwaysf.com
While there may never be a consensus amongst Wu-Tang fans as to which member boasts the best solo discography outside of the seminal hip-hop collective, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon are always a part of that debate, as both rappers are individually responsible for releasing some of the genre’s most cherished albums. Both rappers cemented their status as premier lyricists after the release of Raekwon’s 1995 classic, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, where Ghostface’s presence is prominent throughout its runtime, namely on hit singles “Ice Cream” and “Criminology,” where the duo’s irresistible chemistry shines. The following year saw the release of Ghostface’s solo debut, Ironman, where the duo swap rhymes with Cappadonna on the RZA-produced highlight “Fish.” Raekwon and Ghostface later collaborated on the latter’s 2000 album Supreme Clientele on standout track “Apollo Kids,” a furious yet articulate opus that hears the duo balance out each other’s energy in a manner that would inspire countless copycats that came after them.