Welcome to February. Also known as Black History month. As a music blog, we suggest you dig into some classic and obscure African American music this month. It's your civic duty. But in the shorter term, as always, there are a bunch of concerts taking place this week. JMSN does Club Dada. Zola Jesus is over at Trees. The Four Tops do Winstar. Wale's over at the House of Blues. Nipsey Hussle is over at The Prophet Bar. And the list goes on. Literally.
Christian Berishaj is a multi-instrumentalist who goes by the name JMSN. That's Jameson, just like the whiskey. Do we have your attention now? Good. JMSN makes what he calls "hippie-R&B," an electronic space-based take on rhythm and blues. On his independent label, White Room Records, he's released two albums, his most recent being a self-titled effort from the end of last year. Interestingly, he's a frequent collaborator in rap, landing vocals on Kendrick Lamar's good kid m.A.A.d city and recording a joint album with Lamar's TDE label mate, Ab-Soul.H. Drew BlackburnTorquila Tuesdays W/ Members of Quaker City Night Hawks 10 p.m., Tuesday, February 3, at Lola's Saloon, 2736 West 6th Street, Fort Worth, TX, 817-877-0666
Funky Town is the place the rock band Quaker City Night Hawks call home. And they've got a residency too. Well, somewhat of a residency. Every Tuesday at Lola's Saloon a few members of the band get together and play some tunes. It's free, the drinks are cheap, and the music is sure to be wonderful. It's a hell of a reason to get the dive going up, on a Tuesday.HDBWale With Audio Push and Bizzy Crook, 7 p.m. Wednesday, February 4, at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar, 214-978-2583 or houseofblues.com/dallas, $33.66-$46.37
What's the deal with this rap stuff? I had no inkling of what hip-hop was capable of until the moment when someone said that infamous phrase, "You have to listen to this," and handed me Wale's Mixtape About Nothing. From the moment that album clicked on and Wale elongated the syllables "swagg-er" over a sample of the Seinfeld bass interludes, my entire perspective on the genre was shattered. It was razor-sharp, poignant and a cohesive piece of work. It dealt with modern racial issues by linking them to past ones. It was powerful and significant without losing any of the unbridled passion of hip-hop. I was hooked. And even though I tragically mispronounced his name for way too long ("whale;" sorry, world), it was a gateway into a genre that I hadn't quite gotten into yet at a young age. This year's upcoming Album About Nothing will feature prominently at this show, which apparently includes collaboration with Jerry Seinfeld. All bets are off on what'll happen live; just expect that there'll be a little more than "nothing" happening.Matt WoodZola Jesus With Deradoorian and Nite, 7 p.m. Wednesday, February 4 at Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214.741.1122 or treesdallas.com, $15
At once baroque and sparse, the music of Zola Jesus is as accessible as it is challenging. Verily, her music's always been at struggle with itself, a study in contrasts: delicacy vs. muscularity, intimacy vs. remoteness, shadow and light. Perhaps best known for her early music -- defined by its coarsened, gothic aesthetic and echoic vocals -- Zola Jesus is now several shades removed from her lo-fi, post-punk-indebted beginnings, all but on her way to becoming a full-fledged pop artist. 2014's Taiga saw her reach unabashedly for mainstream radio play, and while the record failed in that regard, it succeeded in showing just how many tricks commercial pop has left to learn. While her newer tracks favor linearity over outright invention, there remain obvious through-lines back to her roots, and it's in virtue of the maturation of these themes that 2015 presents Zola Jesus at her artistic peak. A mingling of arena-pop bravado and underground eccentricity, this performance is sure to please and surprise in equal measure.Jonathan PatrickJukebox the Ghost With Little Daylight, 7 p.m. Thursday, February 4, at Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, $15
Jukebox the Ghost has the big sound you've come to expect from a band like this. The power-pop trio hailing from Washington, D.C. released their first album, Let Live and Let Ghosts, in 2008, which laid a foundation for the band for years to come. It's an album that's expansive enough to fill any space with full, anthemic hooks and rhythms. This is only natural considering the album's content is largely focused on love and the end of the world. How Michael Bay hasn't purchased the film rights for this band's music yet is nothing short of a total mystery.HDBDoomtree With Open Mike Eagle and Buffalo Black, 8 p.m. Friday, February 6, at Trees, 2709 Elm St., treesdallas.com, $14
A hip-hop collective from Minneapolis since 2001, Doomtree will perform in Dallas a week after releasing their third album, All Hands. In the Twin Cities, this group of seven rappers, producers, singers and writers is known for their annual "Doomtree Blowout" events that showcase the group as well as other local talent, with most of the performances being held at the legendary First Avenue club in downtown Minneapolis. Doomtree is also a record label, releasing the group's albums as well as releases from several other projects they are involved with. P.O.S is perhaps the group's best-known member, with solo albums and countless side projects including Marijuana Deathsquads and Gayngs. Another well-known member, Dessa, is a part of Welcome to Night Vale, the bizarre and addictive podcast that sold out Lakewood Theater last March. The members of Doomtree come from different musical backgrounds, so genres like punk, jazz, rock, and pop are all absorbed in the melee. Expect a set filled with infectious beats and dynamic vocal interactions.Jeremy HallockNipsey Hussle 8 p.m. Friday, February 6, at The Prophet Bar, 2548 Elm St., 214.742.3667 or theprophetbar.com $28
Nipsey Hussle is one of Los Angeles' new generation of rappers. Along with the likes of YG, Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q, he's amongst the new guard of MCs who are holding it down for the city's proud rap tradition. Nipsey has been a star within the rap community playing a brand of West Coast rap similar to the one that's made YG famous. This new generation has not lost sight of their predecessors and do their best to honor the likes of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Not necessarily being a megastar à la Kanye West, but more of a "your rapper's favorite rapper" type thing. His latest album, Mailbox Money, was released on New Year's Eve, including a limited edition batch of 100 CDs being sold for $1000 each. He has sold 60 at the time of his writing. We wonder if he'll sell any more while he's in town at the Prophet Bar on Friday.James KhubiarPharmakon With Awen, Sin Motivo, 8 p.m., Saturday, February 7, at Sons of Hermann Hall, 3414 Elm Street, $12
Born Margaret Chardiet, Pharmakon has been an integral part of New York City's industrial and noise scenes for the better part of over seven years, since she was only 17. Her sound is brash, abrasive, and confrontational. It's an expressive audio manifestation of night terrors and anxiety. Pharmakon isn't here to make us ponder love, dandelions and butterflies, but rather the grime beneath the surface.HDBTrue Widow With The Cush and The Angelus, 9 p.m., Saturday, February 7, at Three Links, 2704 Elm St., threelinksdeepellum.com, $7-$10
Thanks to this band, one of the longest album titles you'll most likely ever come across exists. For the record, the band's sophomore album is called As High as the Highest Heavens and from the Center to the Circumference of the Earth, which is a definite mouthful. Hailing from Dallas, the drone metal band True Widow's mantra is to punch you with a heavy, lethargic, sludgy punch. They're a cross between an insightful indie band and loud metal band. It's a match made in stoner rock heaven.HDBThe Four Tops 3 p.m. Sunday, Feburary 8, at Winstar Casino, 777 Casino Ave. Thackerville, OK, 800-622-6317, $18-$42
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The Winstar nostalgia train makes another stop in Motown this weekend as the Four Tops pull into Thackerville to attract lovers of classic big band soul and penny slots. The classic vocal four piece has been pumping out upbeat jams since the group was formed as the Four Ames in 1953, peaking in the '60s and riding the wave of soul love through the next five decades. And, while this isn't the original Four Tops (cancer sucks, people), it's still an opportunity to catch some history. All you have to do is make the short trip up I-35, avoid the cigarette smoke and try not to get stuck at the Dolly Parton slot machine. Sounds like a hell of a Sunday afternoon to us.Jaime-Paul Falcon
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