Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Here are five events we think you can’t miss this week:
Wednesday: Wednesday is show-up-early night at the Black Cat. Most people will be there to see Smith Westerns , a band that has ascended to mainstage headliner status on the strength of the sunkissed glam-pop songs on its 2011 breakthrough album, “Dye It Blonde.” Middle act Porcelain Raft is garnering buzz for a similar sound. But opener Bleached is our pick to steal the show. The band is fronted by sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin, formerly of punk rabblerousers Mika Miko. Their new venture slows down the songs while stuffing them full of hooks and keeping a rambunctious energy. The other bands will have a tough act to follow.
Friday: On her first three albums, Kathleen Edwards established herself as a worthy descendant of the likes of Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams and Patty Griffin — a singer-songwriter who can tap into a wide range of emotions and make them all feel real. Her most recent album, “Voyageur,” keeps the sharp songwriting while expanding her sonic palette. The album was co-produced by Justin Vernon of 2011 breakout act Bon Iver, a connection that will bring Edwards much-deserved attention. She performs at the 9:30 Club with Hannah Georgas opening.
Saturday: If you’ve been wanting to hear a new, exciting male voice in jazz - which isn’t a common treat - you should head to the Kennedy Center Jazz Club on Saturday night, where you can catch widely lauded and Grammy-nominated baritone Gregory Porter for only $16. You’ll hear blues, gospel, protest themes and romance from a belter with a stage background who has evolved into a sophisticated vocal stylist with an air of musical immediacy.
Sunday: It seems as if every other electronic DJ is jumping on the “dubstep” bandwagon these days, dropping remixes full of bombastic bass lines and wobbling rhythms and giving the sound a bad name. Not so for London-based DJs Skream and Benga , who were defining the genre with original productions when Skrillex was still a screamo singer. Skream’s brooding “Midnight Request Line” and “Dutch Flowerz” pulse with echo-heavy dub-style bass and off-kilter melody - a perfect urban soundtrack. (You can listen to his mix sets on Soundcloud.) Benga’s creations feature more aggressive beats and swampy electronic blasts (check out the classics “Hydro” and “Electro”), but he has also edged toward the mainstream. The bleepy, hook-filled banger “Night,” created with fellow producer Coki, rose from an underground anthem into a mainstream hit. The prospect of seeing this duo, who have worked together on and off since 2003, at the temple of bass that is U Street Music Hall makes us woozy.
Monday: The refreshing, easy-drinking pisco sour is Peru’s national cocktail, and it even has its own holiday — Pisco Sour Day — celebrated on the first Saturday in February. (Personally, we find the frothy cocktail made with pisco liqueur, egg whites, lemons and bitters to be perfect for any day ending in “y.”) In Washington, this momentous holiday is being celebrated at the Passenger, where local resident Melanie Asher, founder of boutique spirit Macchu Pisco, is hosting a pisco sour-centric celebration and fundraiser . Ten percent of all proceeds from pisco drink sales will be donated to the Coprodeli Education Program, a nonprofit group that provides education, health care and meals to disadvantaged families in Peru.
Looking for more ideas? There are an extra 10 after the jump.
Tuesday, Jan. 31
Bell’s Hopslam is perhaps the most fetishized beer in America, thanks to its limited release and strange distribution patterns. It has been popping up in D.C. randomly over the past week — Fritz sampled it on tap at Meridian Pint — but will be the focus of parties at two D.C. beer bars this week. First, Hopslam, a double IPA made with honey and six kinds of hops, will be offered in a traditional English-style cask version at ChurchKey, alongside 16 other beers from Michigan’s Bell’s Brewery. This is the only cask in the area, so expect it to go fast. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Troubadour Aaron Thompson released an EP of elegant dirges on local label Sockets last year; he stops by Blackbyrd Warehouse on Tuesday for a free late-night set.
The weekly salsa party at Dupont’s Fiesta Lounge pays tribute to Puerto Rica this week during Boricua Night. Look for beginner and intermediate dance lessons conducted entirely in Spanish at 8 and 8:45, and DJs Hercules and Bruno “El Unico” spinning nothing but Puerto Rican salsa classics from 9:30 to close. Admission is $5 for dancing and $10 for lessons.
Wednesday, Feb. 1
Two big beer events tonight. First: The Big Hunt is tapping its keg of Hopslam at 4 p.m. A little farther north, the Black Squirrel welcomes David Cole, co-founder of Salt Lake City’s Epic Brewing Co. While many bars and stores in Utah are limited to selling beers no stronger than 4 percent alcohol by volume, Epic has been winning plaudits for brews high in taste and alcohol. The tasting at the Black Squirrel involves the tapping of Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout, Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout and Spiral Jetty IPA, each paired with a special dish from the kitchen.
Thursday, Feb. 2
Beats on Repeat: A DFA Records-Inspired Night scores points for perfectly explanatory DJ night title as well as for good taste. DJs Philip Goyette and Will88 will spin disco-house-punk inspired tunes from 9 p.m. until last call at the Velvet Lounge.
Besides working as one-half of Grammy-nominated Foreign Exchange electronic soul group, producer Nicolay Rook has built a tidy in-house imprint of forward-aligned soul and jazz artists. Whether solo or in collaborative projects, the +FE Music camp delivers a cohesive yet clearly evolving take on progressive soulful music in a modern electronic world. One of those releases — a collection of ethereal downtempo tunes inspired by Tokyo — has birthed the Hot at Nights, a band that has built that initial collection of songs into a live, experimental jazz experience. Nicolay and the band touch down at Bohemian Caverns for a rare concert.
The Phillips Collection is home to the wonderful Rothko Room, a contemplative space created by artist Mark Rothko and museum founder Duncan Phillips in 1960. Arena Stage is now presenting “ Red ,” a production about Rothko. And the two cultural institutions are joining forces at a special edition of Phillips After 5 that will feature acting classes and improv games, jazz by the Marshall Keys Quartet, gallery talks and a cash bar.
Tycho is the alias of San Franciscan Scott Hansen, who is an acclaimed graphic designer and also an electronic music producer who creates appealingly serene soundscapes. He brings his beats to Rock & Roll Hotel.
Friday, Feb. 3
Valentine’s Day is less than two weeks away. If you’re looking for a date for The Most Romantic Night of the Year, you can always try the popular Cryfest at the Black Cat, which bills itself as “The largest Cure/Smiths dance party in the U.S.!” All night long, you’ll hear a song by the Smiths followed by a song by the Cure. And when you see that dark-tressed cutie moping on the edge of the dancefloor, remember that, like Morrissey, they are human and they need to be loved, just like everybody else does.
Monday, Feb. 6
Just a few short years ago — an epoch in Internet music years — Theophilus London was at the vanguard of what can loosely be called alternative rap. In reality, it is a genre-gnostic approach to rhyming over anything from high-energy dance music, indie pop, dubstep or all of the above. You can check out what London has been up to since his 2009 debut album at the 9:30 Club.