Obviously, the story of this fall’s concert season is about what’s coming, but it’s also about what’s gone. U Street Music Hall, Velvet Lounge, Twins Jazz and other essential area music venues didn’t survive the pandemic shutdown and the city’s musical ecosystem is already poorer for it: With the loss of so many midsize listening rooms, our nightlife reflexively favors established, sure-bet, marquee acts. Yes, some of those acts are perfectly worthy of your cash and attention (see below), but if you’re heading back into clubland this fall, don’t forget that the most important sounds often come from the smaller names in the cozier rooms. If it’s safe for you, they’re the ones that need you the most.
With the splash-landing of their third album, “Glow On,” this Maryland hardcore fivesome seems bigger than ever, in popularity and in sound. Turnstile’s aesthetic has opened wide enough to accommodate pastel Coachella synths, jittery punk-funk cowbells, more than one cameo from Dev Hynes of Blood Orange and more — often without forfeiting the music’s emotional center. On the album’s blood-rushing first track, “Mystery,” vocalist Brendan Yates sings, “I believe in holding on to love.” Sept. 16 at Baltimore Soundstage. Baltimoresoundstage.com. Sept. 23 at Firefly Festival at the Woodlands, Dover, Del. fireflyfestival.com.
City Girls, 42 Dugg
Write it in on a Post-it note or tattoo it on your neck: When the big rap package tour comes to town, always get there early. Veteran Georgia psychonaut Future is the biggest name appearing at this end-of-summer bash, co-hosted by Baltimore hip-hop and R&B radio station 92Q, but you’d be a fool not to get yourself through the gates in time to catch the radioactive charisma of Miami duo City Girls and the exquisite sneers of Detroit’s 42 Dugg. Sept. 19 at Merriweather Post Pavilion. merriweathermusic.com.
Alfredo Rodriguez and Pedrito Martinez
Pedrito Martinez has to be one of the most explosive drummers alive, but for all the detonative power stored in his hands, he still plays nicely with others. Here’s an opportunity to catch him with a fellow Afro-Cuban rhythm expert, Alfredo Rodriguez, a pianist who also knows plenty about the magnetism of melody after years of working as a protege to the golden-eared record producer Quincy Jones. Sept. 26 at Strathmore. strathmore.org.
Broccoli City Festival
If there’s a poetic little paradox to this annual rap and R&B summit, it might be this: As the festival gets bigger, the voices get smaller. This year’s Broccoli City headliner is Lil Baby, the deft Georgia rapper who does his finest work in intimate chirps and contemplative squeaks. Sharing the top of the bill, singer Snoh Aalegra has been tamping down the traditional catharsis of soul music into something more internal and subdued. And somehow, these enchanting inside voices are capable of generating big excitement outdoors. Oct. 2 at RFK Stadium grounds. bcfestival.com.
If you’ve seen the cover of this California R&B singer’s lithe new album, “333,” you’ve gazed into the third-eye photoshopped onto her forehead. What can Tinashe see through that thing? “I can see the future,” she sings early on the album, “and it looks like you and I.” Keep listening. Using her clairvoyance to develop a casual pickup line is just one of her freaky metaphysical powers. Oct. 3 at 9:30 Club. 930.com.
Without reading too much into a punctuation mark, if you’ve spent the past five years listening to this young New York rapper zigzag through the psychic darkness, his exuberantly titled new album, “Disco!,” might feel like the light at the end of the tunnel. His Gotham-grimy rhymes are still thick and intricate, but they seem to float a little easier over the new tracks, all of which Mike self-produced. Oct. 14 at Songbyrd Music House. songbyrddc.com.
There’s a disarming richness to the rhythms forged by this Ecuadoran dance music producer who describes his music as “Andes step,” a suggestion that his music comes from deep regional folk traditions — and from deep within, too. “That’s the thing about electronic music, you can be as experimental as you want,’’ Cruz told the Creative Independent back in 2019. “I tried to make my sounds as expressive as possible.” Oct. 20 at Flash. flashdc.com.
Jazz is the music of no boundaries but few jazz singers dare travel to the margins where Fay Victor’s most marvelous and intense vocalizations comfortably reside. Transparent — the long-standing local avant music promotion entity that is hosting its entire fall season outdoors at Rhizome — is hosting Victor’s multitudes in two contexts: She’ll perform one set with her group SoundNoiseFUNK and another in duet formation with local polymath bassist Luke Stewart. Oct. 24 at Rhizome. rhizomedc.org.
One good reason to play any musical instrument is because you want it to sound like something else. And sure, the music of solo harpist Mary Lattimore occasionally sounds like it’s being performed by cherubs in floating marble temples, but at other times, those gently vibrating strings do heavy psychedelic work, evoking cascading droplets of water, or even abstract shimmers of color. It all checks out. Describing her relationship to her harp, Lattimore once said, “I also use it like a paintbrush.” Nov. 27 at Miracle Theatre. themiracletheatre.com.