Thinking about dropping serious cash on overpriced tickets to see the Foo Fighters (The Anthem, October 12) and Lady Gaga (Verizon Center, November 19) this fall? Considering seeing one of these underrated artists instead to spare yourself the debt and disappointment.
1. Lucy Dacus: “Map on a Wall”
Listening to this song, it’s hard to believe it is from Dacus’ first and only album. Her earnest entreats, “Oh please, don’t make fun of me / With my heart of gold and my restless soul,” ring over a reverberating guitar as the song swells to Sundance-Festival-indie-movie-soundtrack emotional heights. Lucy Dacus will be opening for Big Thief at the Black Cat on Saturday, September 9.
2. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists: “Bottled in Cork”
“Bottled in Cork” is effortlessly good and one of the band’s best songs. Also, the music video is an incredibly entertaining parody of American Idiot. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists will be performing at the Black Cat on Friday, September 15 and Saturday, September 16 (Two shows= twice the fun!!).
3. Julien Baker: “Go Home”
Baker is another stunning, sincere vocalist despite having emerged just two years ago. “Go Home” is delicate and chillingly honest. If you’ve never listened to Baker before, break out your Google calendar, clear an entire morning, and give her art the reverence it deserves. While you’re at it, read this.
Julien Baker will be performing at the 9:30 Club with Half Waif (the latest project of Pinegrove’s Nandi Rose Plunkett) on Thursday, October 19. Please go.
4. Death Grips: “Hot Head”
I don’t understand them, but I appreciate them. Death Grips will be performing at the Fillmore on Thursday, October 19.
5. Frankie Cosmos: “If I Had a Dog”
I think Frankie speaks for us all when she sings, “If I had a dog / I’d take a picture everyday.” Her songs are short, quirky, and overall pretty awesome. Go see her in one of her weird hipster sweaters at the Black Cat on Friday, September 22.
6. American Football: “The Summer Ends”
American Football released one, magnificent album in 1999 and then disbanded to the dismay of suburban emo teens everywhere (until they reconvened and released another, decidedly less-magnificent album in 2016). “The Summer Ends” is sorrowful—tastefully emotional, if you will— and features a lovely trumpet solo. Catch them at the Howard Theater on Saturday, November 18 before they disappear into musical oblivion again.
7. Tank and the Bangas: “Quick”
Just watch their winning video for the NPR Tiny Desk Contest because no words can do them justice. If you want to be awed by their talent, swing by U Street Music Hall on Monday, September 11.