Music Picks: Calexico, Jens Lekman, Beach House

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

By: Jason Koebler

Thursday, October 11

Calexico are from Tucson, and it shows. They play alt-country and “desert rock” that, at times, is trippy enough to make you think you’re on a vision quest at Burning Man, man.

7 PM at 9:30 Club, $20.

When jam banders Dispatch came out of hiatus for a few charity concerts at Madison Square Garden in 2007, people went nuts. The appearance became a high water mark for indie-ish bands, as they sold out all the shows. Now, they’re back together in a more traditional fashion, releasing music and playing less ridiculously large venues. But they still sold out Constitution Hall. Sorry.

7 PM at Constitution Hall, $55.


Friday, October 12

Jens Lekman is one of the most famous artists in his native Sweden, and it’s easy to see why. His music bounces along but still manages to be pretty, and he’s got the smart lyrics and voice to back it up. See what most of America has been missing at 9:30 Club.

6 PM at 9:30 Club, $30.

In the mid-’90s, Smoking Popes enjoyed a bit of success—they take aggressive-ish guitars and pop-punk instrumentals and overlay it with Josh Caterer’s Morrissey-esque voice. They’ll be playing the entirety of Born to Quit, their most successful album, at Red Palace.

8 PM at Red Palace, $10.


Saturday, October 13

By now, you should know about the Dance Party, one of DC’s only, well, dancey bands around today. They’ve been playing shows for seven years, which seems like an eternity in this scene. See them play if you wanna jump around a bunch.

9 PM at Rock & Roll Hotel, $12.

Melbourne’s the Temper Trap fit in perfectly with the XX/Miike Snow/Vampire Weekend vibe people are into these days, playing epic-sounding but soft-around-the-edges dance music. Sweet Disposition has shown up all over the radio, and I thought it was Kings of Leon for a long time, so check them out if you like those guys.

8 PM at Fillmore, $33.

I hear this Swedish deejay Avicii, who makes the electric dance music the kids like, is super popular these days. He’ll be opening up the new Echo Stage, which is technically the largest concert venue in DC, on Saturday. Tickets will be available at the door.

10 PM at Echo Stage, $30ish.


Sunday, October 14

Tilly and the Wall are the most famous band to use tap dancing instead of drums for percussion. All the cool kids in high school liked them, so go to this concert if you want to be cool circa-2006. Their newest album, Heavy Mood, came out last week and got pretty bad reviews—needs more tap dancing.

8 PM at Black Cat, $15.

Peter Gabriel led one of the most successful prog-rock bands of all time with Genesis, then went out on his own and wrote “Solsbury Hill” and other various less prog-rocky hits like “In Your Eyes.”

8 PM at Patriot Center, $54 to $147.


Monday, October 15

With lead singer Michael Angelakos’s mental breakdown seemingly behind him for the moment, Passion Pit are back on the road. They’re at the top of the synth-dance-rock band genre right now, and their three sold-out shows at 9:30 Club prove it. If you sleepyheaded on grabbing tickets, try Craigslist. Also, here is a quick public service announcement: We’re entering the part of 9:30 Club’s calendar that is RIDICULOUSLY STACKED with awesome bands and sold-out shows. Hopefully you planned ahead, but if you didn’t, get ready to become super familiar with Craigslist and/or StubHub. Stay out of the “casual encounters” section; I raised you better than that.

7 PM at 9:30 Club, sold out.


Tuesday, October 16

With Tuesday’s Three Days Grace show, U Street Music Hall will officially make the transition from cool underground deejay/weirdo band spot to fully fledged music venue that still mostly hosts underground deejays but also sometimes lets Three Days Grace play. But what other chance will lame moms and misguided teenagers have to check out their awesome soundsystem? As for the band, they are a Nickelback/Papa Roach/Breaking Benjamin clone from Canada. Why are so many crappy radio rock bands from Canada?

7 PM at U Street Music Hall, sold out.

LA’s Electric Guest play music you can dance to without doing much more than bobbing your head and shaking a bit. But they’re not THAT kind of band—they turn up the tempo now and then and have a kind of dreamy, finger-snapping sound about them too. Does that make sense, guys? Just go listen to “This Head I Hold,” everybody.

8 PM at Black Cat, $20.


Wednesday, October 17

A favorite of Donald Glover, Grizzly Bear, and other certified Cool People/Bands, Baltimore’s Beach House make music you’d rather listen to in a ski lodge or on a cloud than on a beach. It’s slow, trippy, and beautiful. And the show is sold out.

7 PM at 9:30 Club, sold out.

It’s not often you get a band of medium popularity from Australia coming stateside, so take the chance to see the Twerps, from Melbourne, while you can. They play ultra-jangly indie rock that sounds kinda Sonic Youth-y and equally un-messed-with in the studio.

8 PM at Black Cat, $12.

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