Our weekly concert picks: June 11–June 17

Musician Merrill Garbus of the band the Tune-Yards performs during Day 2 of the 2012 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival held at the Empire Polo Club on April 14, 2012 in Indio, California.

Wednesday, June 11: Homeboy Sandman

Homeboy Sandamn is one of our fave up-and-coming rappers right down, crafting quirky, clever raps that favor witticisms and observations on daily life over posturing or bravado, and that sound best coursing through your headphones (you know, so you can catch the lyrics). The son of a professional boxer-turned-lawyer, Sandman spent many of his pre-rap days getting schooled, earning a BA from Penn and completing several semesters of law school himself before dropping out to focus on music. It was a wise move—his years of education, perhaps, led to smart, conscious raps that name-drop Winston Churchill, Jean Luc Picard, and Georgia O’Keefe in the same song, while envisioning a better future. Since bursting onto the scene, he’s released no fewer than 10 EPs and LPs, and is now touring behind 2014’s White Sands—a quirky offering featuring cool, creative, jazz- and R&B-influenced tunes about food, grooves, and possibilities (My favorite line: “If you ever see me turn down pasta, I promise it wasn’t me; it was an imposter.”) He plays Johnny Brenda’s this Wednesday; don’t sleep!

9:00 at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $15. Tickets available here.


Thursday, June 12: DRGN King

For more than 4 years now, Philly pop foursome DRGN King have been writing tunes and playing shows,  managing to be both one of our fave local bands and one of our fave local bands with great hair (they are prob sick of us writing about their hair, but we don’t care). A bedroom project-turned-touring success story, DRGN King first came together in 2009, when guitarist/constant collaborator Dom Angelella joined forces with hip-hop producer Ritz Reynolds, to create genre-bending rock songs with a surprising amount of heart. They later signed to Bar-None Records in 2012, and released their debut record, Paragraph Nights, in 2013. We love these boys for their effortless, breezy melodies, high-energy shows, and ability to throw the best party ever. They’re now putting the finishing touches on their sophomore record (listen to first single, “No Harp,” here) and are gearing up for a set at Firefly later this month. But first, they’ll play a headlining set at KFN this Thursday, alongside Ancient River and Mumblr—aka, Philly’s snarkiest fuzz-punks and the only band I’ve seen rock a basement while wearing pajamas.

8:00 at Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., $8. Tickets available at the door.


Friday, June 13: Swearin’

Philly-by-way-of-Brooklyn punks Swearin’ craft fuzzed-out, familiar-sounding punk nugs that hit you in all the right places—bringing to mind Jawbreaker, Get Up Kids, The Promise Ring, and more. The project of Allison Crutchfield (sister to Katie, of Waxahatchee fame) and Kyle Gilbride, Swearin’ came together in 2011 and quickly earned a reputation as the coolest band who might play your house party, then hang out and drink beer afterwards. Their breakthrough came in 2012 with their self-titled record, which earned both P’fork props and the respect of every emo kid around—and which contained the sort of raw, emotive jammers that feel eerily cathartic while blasted full-volume. Since then they’ve released their sophomore record Surfing Strange, and relocated to Philly, where we welcomed them with open arms. They play Boot & Saddle this Friday alongside Massachusetts punks Potty Mouth, who sound exactly like you’d expect a band named Potty Mouth to sound (which is a good thing), and who slay face with their attitude and riffs.

8:30 at Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., $10–12. Tickets available here.


Sunday, June 15: tUnE-yArDs

Merrill Garbus, the creative force behind tUnE-yArDs, is one of the most interesting and compelling performers right now, and her stop at Union Transfer this Sunday might be my top pick for this month. A performer in one way or another since childhood (previous stints included puppeteering with Vermont’s Sandglass Theater and composing a ukulele opera based on Swift’s A Modest Proposal), Garbus started tinkering with tunes in 2009, and released her debut record, BiRd-BrAiNs, on cassette that year. Her quirky, off-kilter style caught the attention of 4AD, who released her sophomore record w h o k i l l in 2011, and introduced thousands to her trademark sound. But she really shines in a live setting—the last time I saw her live, I was blown away watching her build her own backing track using only her voice, a floor tom, and a looping machine—then build upon it, layer by layer. She’s now touring behind 2014’s Nikki Nack, another ridiculously creative collection of tunes, and one of my fave records for summer dance parties. The future of music is here—and it rules.

8:30 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., sold out