Iggy Azalea, Panda Bear, Wye Oak and more top D.C. concerts in May

May is a busy month for music fans, particularly those who have a taste for more obscure sounds. If you don't have tickets to see the sold-out Sweetlife Festival, which will feature Lana Del Rey and 2 Chainz under the stars at Merriweather, or L.A.'s sister act Haim, who've cultivated enough interest for two nights at the 9:30 Club, there's Iggy Azalea and a little bit of the spacey pop known as chillwave.

Wye Oak


Baltimore's Wye Oak have returned with a new album, "Civilian."  (Photo by Shervin Lainez)

This Baltimore duo broke out with its crystal-clear "Civilian," an album deeply layered and lovely but with a pinprick of weirdness that made it so quintessentially Baltimore. "Civilian" was ultimately grounded in analog; guitars ranged from ragged and loud to pretty and acoustic, all artfully woven around Jenn Wasner's clarion voice. But the band is tossing out that playbook for success -- if it had one -- for its newest effort, "Shriek," released this week: There's no guitar at all.
Buzz factor: 8. Wye Oak is one of the most inventive bands to hail from Charm City; we're expecting tickets to its 9:30 Club show to be snapped up in no time.
Tuesday at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 202-265-0930. www.930.com. $22.

Listen: "Glory"

Priscilla Ahn

"Dream," a faintly country-tinged tune recorded on the legendary Blue Note Records in 2008, introduced the world to songbird Priscilla Ahn. The video racked up millions of views on YouTube, but didn't begin to get at the depth Ahn is hiding beneath her delicate falsetto. The singer's third album, "This Is Where We Are," which was released in February, grinds harder, incorporating keyboards and pounding drums in an expression of ear-friendly electro-pop that, at its poppiest, recalls Lykke Li and, at its most experimental, the late, great Broadcast.
Buzz factor: 6. The 29-year-old Ahn is no longer on the major label that helped bring her fame. But in her remaking, the singer-songwriter stands to garner indie-rock fans who might not have noticed her before.
Saturday at the Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. 202-787-1000. www.thehamiltondc.com. $15-$20.

Listen: "Leave it Open"

Leave It Open from Priscilla Ahn on Myspace.

Iggy Azalea

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Recording artist Iggy Azalea visits The
Rapper Iggy Azalea. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

Iggy Azalea is the Australian answer to Nicki Minaj (or, more accurately, Foxy Brown) - a sneering raunch rapper whose single "Fancy" just toppled Pitbull and Ke$ha's "Timber" for the No. 1 spot on the rap charts. It's hard, however, not to see Azalea - like Miley and Ke$ha before her -- as a hip-hop hobbyist, a blonde rapping about being "in the murda bidness" while dressing like a Britney clone. For rap fans, her ascent is bound to prove polarizing and debate provoking.
Buzz factor: 10. The rapper's debut album, "The New Classic," released barely two weeks ago, has plenty of swagger. It has garnered so much buzz that Azalea's date at the Fillmore is sold out.
Friday at the Fillmore, 8656 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring. 301-960-9999. www.fillmoresilverspring.com. Sold out.

 

The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger

Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl are bandmates who also happen to be a couple, which has won them as much attention as the fact that he's the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and she's a model. They create music that seems stuck in amber, an almost note-for-note jumble of the same kind of psychedelia that the Beatles created in their final years.
Buzz factor: 6. The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger has proven to be Lennon's most successful project, with Muhl providing a soft, feminine edge. The new album, "Midnight Sun," will fit nicely on the shelf next to your Tame Impala and Damien Jurado records.
Monday at U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. 202-588-1880. www.ustreetmusichall.com. $15.
Listen: "Moth to a Flame"

Panda Bear

Panda Bear promotional image. (Photo by Brian DeRan).
Panda Bear. (Photo by Brian DeRan).

Animal Collective's knob-turner-in-chief, Panda Bear (a.k.a. Noah Lennox), takes a dreamier approach to his solo work. He's also more experimental, abandoning the grounded pop rhythms that have helped give Animal Collective such broad appeal. Instead, his own music floats across genres as diverse as Beach Boys-esque chillwave and eerie chamber music without missing so much as a beat.
Buzz factor: 7. Panda Bear is putting the final touches on his third solo album, tentatively titled "Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper." For those who can't wait, the spring tour that brings him to the 9:30 Club this month is serving as a preview of the new material.
May 16 at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 202-265-0930. www.930.com. $25.

Lavanya Ramanathan is a professional eater/drinker/thinker for Weekend and the Going Out Guide. University of Texas. Northwestern University. Rap fan.
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