It seems as if Boston has finally barreled itself into an unbeatable summer heat. The month of May came and went—only providing a few traditionally spring days—and was well spent through outdoor concerts and Boston Calling (check out our reviews for the festival for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.) No matter what temperatures soon meet us, our staff is determined to not let this festival and concert season end. From hip hop artists to a quartet, check out this month’s picks below.

Friday and Saturday, June 1-2, 2018

Japanese Breakfast at the Sinclair – Selected by Matt

Michelle Zauner wrote her first album, Psychopomp, weeks after her mother passed away from cancer. She had no idea the album was to reach millions of ears. The success brought endless interviews where she had to discuss over and over the pain of losing her mother. Zauner began writing her second album, Soft Sounds From Another Planet, as a sci-fi concept album. After her deeply personal feelings had been blasted out to every corner of the earth, it is easy to understand the want for something completely different. Thankfully, she quickly abandoned the idea, keeping just one song, “The Machinist”, as if to document a step in the process of dealing with loss. Zauner’s strength comes from her lyrics openness and honesty and in Soft Sounds from Another Planet she stays true to being an open book. The show is sure to be a prime example of humanity’s ability to heal, grow, and share.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Nnamdi Ohbonnaya and Ed Balloon at Great Scott– Selected by Knar

Nnamdi Ogbonnaya may be a hip hop artist out of Chicago, but describing him as such will probably give you the wrong idea. He’s no Chance the Rapper, Jamila Woods, or Noname. Take a peek at the cover of his album, DROOL  the goofy, popsicle-wielding cartoon character captures his quirky, genre-bending music well. It’s not clear what to expect at his show at Great Scott, but we do know that The New Yorker called Nnamdi Ogbonnaya a “beat-conscious absurdist,” NPR called him “Chicago Rap’s Oddball,” and Noisey dubbed him “Chicago’s weirdest musician.” Despite the fact that local artist Mal Devisa was featured on “dOn’t turn me Off,” it’ll be the bouncy tunes of Ed Balloon that will be kicking off the night—a more fitting match perhaps, given that they both blend the sounds of their Nigerian heritage into their music.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Smallpools at Paradise Rock Club – Selected by Jacqueline

LA-based Smallpools come together with Great Good Fine Ok and Half the Animal for the appropriately named Spring is Sprung Tour, which comes to the Paradise Rock Club on June 7. Blending 80s synth with indie-pop sounds, Smallpools write euphoric songs that are perfectly ripe for the summer. The band’s recently released EP The Science of Letting Go is a showcase of their ability to juxtapose danceable pop hooks against the heavier realities of young love and the internal struggles they cause. It is an album that compares the summer season to a fleeting summer romance: it is full of both pain and sorrow, euphoria and freedom. If their previous tour mates  Neon Trees, Walk the Moon, and Twenty One Pilots  are any indication of their sound and dynamism, Smallpools are sure to put on a lively show to kick-off summer in Boston.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Gretchen and the Pickpockets at the Lizard Lounge – Selected by Adam

Unfamiliar with the group, I recently reviewed Gretchen and the Pickpockets’ new album, Falling Rising, and was struck by their vivacious, funk-inspired grooves and their scorching vocals. The band sounded like summer. On June 9, they’ll be at the Lizard Lounge where, as the solstice approaches, they’ll be celebrating summer a little early. It’s easy while listening to Falling Rising to imagine that the band is performing rather than recording  as if the album had been taped before an audience, outdoors, at a party. Add an actual audience and an actual party and you won’t have to imagine enjoying the fulfillment of an induced summer dream.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Haley Heynderickx at the Sinclair – Selected by Kevin

Haley Heynderickx proved on her new album, I Need To Start A Garden, that just because a song isn’t loud or fast doesn’t mean it lacks intensity. In fact, songs like “The Bug Collector” prove that the opposite can just as often be true. With minimal instrumentation  most of her songs feature just a solo guitar and voiceand apprehensive but honest lyrics, Heynderickx’s songs feel like a diary that she left open for the world to read. At the Sinclair on June 18th, expect Heynderickx to evoke the kind of lonely intimacy that only comes in a crowd of several hundred people, completely silent, transfixed.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Kuinka at Brighton Music Hall – Selected by Mary

Kuinka routinely finds ways to lace together folk, and rock elements to create exuberant melodies backed by both male and female vocal harmonies. The quartet harnesses the gentle, yet potent, tones of stringed instruments like the mandolin, ukulele, banjo, and cello with a touch of synth to flesh out imaginative, dandelion tracks focused on intricate relationships with oneself and others. Take “Mistakenly Brave”, for example, off their latest EP Stay Up Late which has an energetic, coastal quality with contemplative lyricism about potentially dangerous, spirited recklessness. On June 23rd, expect Kuinka to fill the hall with unbound optimism perfectly suited for a summer night.



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