James Blake, Purity Ring, and the 7 Best Shows in Seattle This Week

Monday, April 22

Sparks Over their 42-year career, brothers Russell and Ron Mael have reinvented their sound (from glam rock to new wave to electro-pop) as consistently as they’ve put out albums (20-plus full-length releases), but their attention to oddball pop craftsmanship has remained constant. The Neptune. 7 p.m. $31.50 adv./$35 DOS. All ages.

Tuesday, April 23

James Blake In the context of modern electronic music, James Blake’s nuanced take on dubstep, R&B, and gospel is counterintuitively iconoclastic. Blake has long been critical of the mainstream—in interviews he’s sniped at Skrillex and dismissed artists who use remixes to accrue blog buzz—and on Overgrown, his sophomore full-length, he boldly conflates the roles of producer and songwriter. Like his previous record, Overgrown is built around Blake’s affecting voice and his minimalist beats, whose resemblance to dubstep is increasingly vestigial. The difference is lyrical complexity. Gone are the one-line mantras of “The Wilhelm Scream” and “I Never Learned to Share.” In their place are ruminations on love and distance that mesh with his production style but never rely on it for emotional impact. Blake isn’t just an electronic musician—he’s a skilled songwriter whose medium happens to be electronic music. With Falty DL. The Neptune. 7 p.m. $30 adv. All ages.

Wednesday, April 24

Purity Ring When indie artists cover hip-hop, there are justified accusations of appropriation—and the idea that mainstream music can only be taken seriously when it’s reimagined in a different aesthetic. Purity Ring’s production style is heavily indebted to hip-hop (especially Southern rap), which is what makes their version of Soulja Boy’s “Grammy” so interesting. Aside from Megan James’ pixie-ish vocals, it’s a refreshingly straight-up take on a hip-hop song, a relative rarity in a world of YouTube ukulele covers. With Blue Hawaii. The Neptune. 7 p.m. $21.50. All ages.

Thursday, April 25

The Thermals For their sixth LP Desperate Ground, Portland’s punk elder statesmen teamed with former Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth producer John Agnello, attempting to return to the rougher-edged sound of their early music. With Wimps, La Luz. Neumos. 8 p.m. $15 adv. All ages.

Friday, April 26

Chad Valley Producer and vocalist Hugo Manuel’s debut as Chad Valley is full of guest appearances (Glasser, El Perro Del Mar), but the most appropriate is Twin Shadow, as Manuel’s strain of retro-leaning electro-pop bears a significant, if not striking, resemblance to George Lewis Jr.’s work. With Ski Lodge, IG88. Barboza. 7 p.m. $10 adv.

Saturday, April 27

Ghost B.C. Notoriously secretive Swedish metal band Ghost (the “B.C.” is a stateside addition) recently participated in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session, mostly focusing on how the anonymous band members protect their identities in a privacy-averse digital age. Live, five of the six don robes and hoods, while the frontman wears a skull mask and a pope costume. With Ides of Gemini, Lord Dying. Showbox at The Market. 8 p.m. $20 adv./$23 DOS. All ages.

Sunday, April 28

Sarah Elizabeth Charles Quartet This is the first West Coast performance from the acclaimed New York City jazz vocalist and composer, whose elastic voice provides a unique focal point for jazz standards. Triple Door. 7:30 p.m. $20 adv./$25. All ages.

 
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