Black Angels / Black Lips. Two sets of heavy rockers from down South. The Black Angels are a psych-rock band from Austin, Texas, with a name inspired by the Velvet Underground who released Death Song, their first album in four years, in 2017. The Black Lips are the Atlanta garage punks last seen touring with Kesha, whose Sean Lennon-produced 2017 album asked the musical question Satan's Graffiti or God's Art? Sunday at Union Transfer.
Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968. Ryan H. Walsh's rich evocation of the momentous year when Celtic bard Van Morrison, reeling from the breakup of his R&B band Them, found himself in Boston inspired by his muse Janet Planet and Peter Wolf's late-night radio show and composing Astral Weeks, the mystic fever dream of a record that was ignored 50 years ago but that is revered today. The music book of the moment. Last week, Morrison announced he'll be playing a number of rare area shows in September with Willie Nelson.
Kacey Musgraves, "Slow Burn." "Old soul, waiting my turn," the songwriter sings with admirable humility. "I know a few things but I still got a lot to learn." Exquisitely understated and worldly wise standout track from Musgraves' finely crafted more-pop-than-country third album, Golden Hour.
Jim White/Sylvie Simmons. White is the Southern songwriter and performance and visual artist who was the focal point of the 2003 BBC documentary Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus and who's back with the equally eccentric Waffles, Triangles and Jesus, a 2017 album whose occasionally too-clever hokiness can't hide what a moving songwriter he can be. "Sweet Bird of Mystery," written for his daughter, is as beautiful a song as I've heard this year. Sylvie Simmons is the author of Neil Young, Serge Gainsbourg, and Leonard Cohen biographies whose own music bears the influence of the latter. Wednesday at World Cafe Live.
Eric B. and Rakim. The reunited old-school DJ-and-a-rapper hip-hop duo who blazed trails on albums like 1987's Paid in Full and 1988's Follow the Leader that pushed the music in a legitimate jazzy direction with the complexity of Rakim's syncopated, John Coltrane-influenced rhymes. Don't sweat the technique! Wednesday at the TLA.