Deerhoof with Dope Body, America Hearts
Sept. 5 | Black Cat | $15
On tour to promote their 12th studio album, “Breakup Song,” Deerhoof never fails to test the limits of punk rock with experimental sound. Fusing pop, blues-rock and distortion, the San Francisco-based trio balances roughness and levity, aggressive guitar sounds and gentle vocals. Even as Deerhoof’s music reaches the height of its frenzy, the trio maintains its sense of technical precision, proving that even the most discordant sounds can boast musicality.
Score: Deerhoof’s eclectic punk style promises an entertaining live set that is more than the usual raucous, sloppy sounds.
Bore: Two hardcore, noise-heavy opening bands at one small venue could lead to some moshing bruises.
Bon Iver and Anaïs Mitchell
Sept. 15 | Merriweather Post Pavillion | $40-$55
A Wisconsin cabin-dweller and a Vermont-raised farm girl are a folk-rock duo made in heaven. Bon Iver, led by Justin Vernon, emerged in 2008 with the eloquent and elegantly rendered “For Emma, Forever Ago,” a musing on heartbreak and solitude that shot the indie group to fame. Anaïs Mitchell rose to prominence in a similar fashion: Her debut album was recorded in one day, with little additional sound editing. Both artists boast folk-rock chops and a rare shrewdness for instrumental expertise, delivered with unparalleled emotion.
Score: An acoustic singer-songwriter pairing of epic proportions at an airy, relaxing outdoor venue.
Bore: The combination of two mellow folk artists could rock audiences to sleep.
Florence + The Machine with The Weeknd, The Maccabees
Sept. 19 | Merriweather Post Pavillion | $40-$55
In 2008, Florence + The Machine captivated listeners with the sprightly “Dog Days Are Over.” The rest is history. Florence delivers commanding vocals and an effortlessly brazen tone. The September show’s diverse line-up also features breakthrough R&B artist The Weeknd, whose ingenuity and sheer talent elevated him from relative anonymity to underground stardom after gaining thousands of YouTube hits.
Score: One would be hard-pressed to find a more powerful female singer to showcase her vocal prowess on the stage.
Bore: The show comes at a hefty price tag, in addition to travel expenses to the Columbia, Md. venue.
Sept. 30 | 9:30 Club | $35
Few would dispute that 2012 was a breakthrough year for electronic dance music, and experimental duo Crystal Castles was at the helm of that expansion. Bold, rambunctious and typically culminating in a cacophony of noise, the pair’s sound ventures into piercing synth with no hesitation. Since the band’s 2004 inception, the electronic pioneers have polished their sound without sacrificing tenacity, remaining at the forefront of progressive dance music. Don’t be misled by their refined style: Crystal Castles remain committed to delivering a rebellious clamor which demands permanence in the realm of popular music.
Score: Crystal Castles are notorious for their chaotic, high-energy live sets.
Bore: Emerging from this show unscathed and without temporary hearing loss may prove difficult.