Three Must-See Acts This Week

Black Mountain on Sunday at The Independent, Madame Gandhi on Monday at Slim's and Say Sue Me on Wednesday at Rickshaw Stop.

Psychedelic rock

Black Mountain 

8 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8, at The Independent. $20; theindependentsf.com

Constantly expanding their sound without abandoning their psych-rock foundation, Black Mountain founder and frontman Stephen McBean looked back to his adolescent musical inspirations, like Judas Priest and pre-Black Album Metallica, for the group’s heavy and fuzzed-out fifth album, Destroyer. Formed from the ashes of McBean’s previous folk-punk band Jerk With a Bomb, Black Mountain released their 2005 self-titled debut to ecstatic praise, showcasing the band’s talent to translate ’70s rock textures into a fresh and modern sound. The band’s next album, 2008’s In the Future, hears the group dive into complex prog-rock suites tinged with stoner metal riffs that could satisfy rock’s most stubborn curmudgeons. The group’s relatively streamlined yet heavy 2010 follow-up Wilderness Heart would earn the group the Polaris Prize, the most prestigious Canadian music award. Fully committing to the synth-heavy prog-rock explored in previous albums, Black Mountain’s ambitious 2016 album IV hears the group balance spacey, Floyd-like extended jams like “Defector” with crunchy headbangers like “Constellations.” After the departure of several band members, McBean looked back to his core musical inspirations for Black Mountain’s newest album, Destroyer, resulting in the group’s tightest-sounding record to date. While Destroyer does not seek to reinvent the tried-and-true elements of rock, McBean still makes listeners feel excited about the unexplored roads to be travelled within it.

Photo by @savwalts

Electronic

Madame Gandhi

8 p.m., Monday, Dec. 9, at Slim’s. $15; slimspresents.com

A forward-thinking mind who explores the connection between music and social activism, Madame Gandhi’s kinetic and multifaceted take on beat-focused electronica has a potent message regarding the future of feminism and destroying retrogressive hierarchies. Born Kiran Gandhi in Manhattan, Gandhi frequently traveled back and forth between New York and Bombay, initially becoming interested in music at 12 when she first played a drum set. A triple-major while at Georgetown University, Gandhi’s interest in the relationship between music and activism developed, which led to her being hired as Interscope Record’s first digital analyst. At the same time M.I.A. asked Gandhi to join her on tour as her drummer, Gandhi was also accepted into Harvard’s MBA program, but balanced academics and music in the following years, graduating in 2015. Gandhi’s solo debut EP Voices introduces listeners to the artist’s hip-hop-tinged sound that seamlessly incorporates Afrobeat rhythms and Indian music influences, with signature track “The Future Is Female” boldly addressing a future with full gender equality and equity. Gandhi’s newest EP, Visions, expands upon the political themes explored in Voices, lyrically deconstructing modern queerness and gender-conformity backed with vibrant, bass-infected production. 

Courtesy of Artist

Indie rock

Say Sue Me

8 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 11, at Rickshaw Stop. $15; rickshawstop.com

Blending elements of Strokes-like garage rock and sunny ’90s indie pop, Say Sue Me creates breezy indie rock that strikes a sentimental chord with listeners. The Busan, South Korea-quartet formed in 2012 after Choi Su-mi rounded out the group with her soft yet moving vocal talent, releasing their 2013 debut album We’ve Sobered Up to critical acclaim, introducing listeners to the group’s surf-rock and shoegaze tendencies. The band endured hardships as drummer Kang Se-min suffered an accident in 2015 that left him in a coma. The group took a hiatus but returned to release their 2017 EP, Semin, in honor of their bandmate, using the funds earned from the album for Se-min’s medical care. The following year saw the release of the band’s sophomore album, Where We Were Together, a melancholic and reflective work that has hints of youthful-optimism spread throughout the album’s gauzy, dream-pop soundscape. 

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