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Music Picks: The Walkmen, Freefest, RZA

The live shows you shouldn’t miss over the next seven days.

The Walkmen take the stage at 9:30 Club tonight. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user Omer Wazir.

Thursday, October 4

The Walkmen are one of those bands that you think (meaning I think) were really popular decades ago and only play shows or release music every once in a while. But I was really wrong—they’ve released an album every two years like it’s their job (it is) since 2002. Anyway, their Strokes-y brand of indie rock has clearly won them lots of fans—both of their shows at 9:30 Club are sold out.

7 PM at 9:30 Club, sold out.

The Octopus Project makes insane sounding dance music with lots of bleeps and bloops and hooks and drum loops and guitars, with nary a word or lyric to mess with your groove.

8 PM at Red Palace, $12.

Friday, October 5

Contrary to popular belief, Sean Paul’s music career did not spontaneously combust after making “Baby Boy” with Beyoncé. The Jamaican guy who pretends he sings words you can understand continues to exist and now has a sweet mohawk instead of his trademark dreads.

8 PM at Fillmore, $33.

Saturday, October 6

You probably know the deal with Freefest by now, but if you’re still on the fence, this year’s lineup is pretty good. You’ve got the old: (ZZ Top, Nas, Dismemberment Plan), the hip (M83, Alabama Shakes), the showstopper (Jack White), and the weird (Skrillex, Das Racist). Free tickets are all gone, but you can get in for a fiddy. Check back next week for our review of the festival.

Noon at Merriweather, $49.50.

If you’re too cool for big festivals, Chicago singer-songwriter Willis Earl Beal, who makes songs so soft and sweet-sounding that I bet lots of people use them as lullabies, is playing at Red Palace. He got popular by leaving flyers about his music around Chi-town. He also left flyers around town looking for a girlfriend. Can someone tell this guy about the Internet?

8 PM at Red Palace, $10.

Sunday, October 7

Lord Huron couldn’t have released an album at a better time—when Of Monsters and Men are all over the radio and Mumford & Sons outsell Green Day and No Doubt. Check them out if you’re into folk rock but not mainstream folk rock.

8 PM at Black Cat, $10.

Monday, October 8

RZA is the producer behind essentially all of Wu-Tang’s albums, and is widely considered to be among the best hip-hop producers of all time. But as producers are wont to do, he steps up to the mike from time to time to lay down some verses of his own.

7 PM at State Theatre, $18.

Without a time machine, you will never get to see the Sex Pistols in their prime live. But Johnny Rotten (now going by his given name, John Lydon, how lame) is still making music with his other band, Public Image Ltd. They had a sort-of heyday back in the late ’70s with “Metal Box,” and recently released their first album in 20 years.

7 PM at 9:30 Club, $35.

Tuesday, October 9

Matt & Kim, Brooklyn’s answer to husband-and-wife music-making duos such as Mates of State and the Weepies, write the catchiest hooks you’ll probably ever hear. Try listening to “Daylight” without dancing (although their latest, the just-released Lightning, has been a bit of a disappointment). They’re playing two sold-out shows at 9:30 Club, but tickets on Stubhub have dropped well below face value.

7 PM at 9:30 Club, sold out.

Portland’s Menomena write songs with hand claps, snaps, guitar feedback, and lots of jarring instrumentation changes. They’re worth checking out for the variety of their sound alone.

8 PM at Black Cat, $15.

Wednesday, October 10

Besides having an awesome name, Dinosaur Feathers also make catchy music—it’s not prehistoric, but their throwback garage rock sound will have you thinking you’re in another era.

8 PM at Black Cat, $10.

Ben Taylor certainly has the genes to be a star—he’s the son of James Taylor and Carly Simon. Though he makes folk rock like his father, he hasn’t quite risen to the top of the genre: His most popular song is a cover of Macy Gray’s “I Try.”

8 PM at Wolf Trap, $20.

Know of a great live show happening in town? E-mail Jason Koebler at, or find him on Twitter @jason_koebler.

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