Putting a new twist on ’80s and ’90s R&B is en vogue without a doubt, but as with any fashionable style, the skill and ingenuity of practitioners will vary. Brothers Daniel and Andrew Aged, the Los Angeles-based duo better known as Inc., have made a strong start with their ethereal interpretation. Like The xx, their croons barely rise above a whisper, but they flavor their mix with some period beat production and chiming post-punk guitar on No World, their full-length debut for 4AD. Former punker William Wolf deserves credit for exploring some new territory by casting semi-gangsta rap verses against a LaFace backdrop, though the joints still need sanding in a few places. Fielded, however, is something completely different, and an unreserved addition to our wheelhouse. A project of Skyblazer/Festival frontwoman Lindsay Powell, the new album Ninety Thirty Thirty takes production ideas from this vintage and wraps them around a loose sci-fi narrative, pulling in elements of post-disco dance pop and ’70s album rock. Think Stevie Nicks fronting Frankie Goes to Hollywood in a touring musical written by Brian Eno. —STEPHEN TRAGESER
That one will cost you $15. All right, next!
Hurray for the Riff Raff is in town working on a new record and playing out from time to time. Like tonight at The End, for instance, where local faves Clear Plastic Masks and Banditos will appear in support. Intern Alex Howard did a pick on that one for us, and here it goes:
Alynda Lee Segarra’s powerful, sultry voice carries Hurray for the Riff Raff to a higher place, pairing twang with deep, deep soul. Segarra, a young Puerto Rican raised in the Bronx, typically pays her respects to traditional folk through her warm, haunting storytelling. But Hurray for the Riff Raff’s latest album, My Dearest Darkest Neighbor, is a collection of cover songs, revealing her transition as a performer from delicate ballads to a wider breadth of genres and styles: The material runs the gamut from Townes Van Zandt to Joni Mitchell, John Lennon to Billie Holiday. Hurray for the Riff Raff has been on numerous Nashville bills this summer, playing three shows here in a span of five weeks. A new album is in the works, and recording is finishing up at Nashville’s The Bomb Shelter, where the band cut 2012’s Look Out Mama with producer Andrija Tokic, best known for his work on Alabama Shakes’ Boys & Girls. —ALEX HOWARD
Starts at 9 p.m., costs $12. Now, if you like a bit of country flavor in your action, The Basement's the place for you. Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack's DADDY will play along with New Country Rehab. Goose did yet another pick for us:
Over the past 30 years, give or take, Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack have lent their wry humor and phenomenal playing and writing talents to a shedload of artists, from their initial forays in Will and The Bushmen and Government Cheese to Jimmy Buffett, Todd Snider, Bill Lloyd and dozens more. Their project DADDY, formed in 2009 and revisited between other gigs, marks their first collaboration since The Bis-Quits in the early ’90s, and we’re psyched to get another dose of it. Fretting over the definition of “Americana” has done little to clarify the term, so rather than go there, we’ll call DADDY a stew of every earthy musical root we have — gospel, rock, blues and more — but focused on evolution rather than preservation. The duo will be backed by their full band, and joined by Toronto-area country/folk/popsters New Country Rehab. Comparisons in the Canadian press to The Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons frankly puzzle us, as NCR’s contemporary sound rocks harder than either, with much less melodrama. —STEPHEN TRAGESER
Costs $10, starts at 8 p.m. And finally, Ralph Stanley and his Clinch Mountain Boys will play the Ryman tonight along with Jim Lauderdale. Jon Weisberger wrote that one up, and here it goes:
This month began with an announcement that Virginia’s Ralph Stanley, a man whose professional music career began in 1946, will be embarking on a lengthy final tour beginning in October and ending in late 2014. Fans can hold out hope for future Nashville appearances, but the smart money says to grab this opportunity to see one of the most durable and influential musicians still around, and to experience a show that remains as tightly linked to country’s golden years as any. Not surprisingly, Stanley’s performances can vary, but for every night that finds him struggling, there’s at least one that serves up undiminished mastery, and the Clinch Mountain Boys are solid either way. One of his biggest fans, Jim Lauderdale, opens the evening, and the likelihood that they’ll get together for a number or two from their Grammy-winning collaboration seems high; one can only hope it’ll be the droll “She’s Looking at Me.” —JON WEISBERGER