British R&B singer Ella Mai is headed to the Fillmore Silver Spring this week. (Jonathan Mannion)
Ella Mai

How do you even manage to follow the heat of “Boo’d Up”? That’s the question currently facing this British singer, who rode high last summer on the wave of her burning love ballad that blended her assertive coos with nostalgic ’90s R&B production. The 24-year-old’s breakthrough anthem earned her a Grammy for best R&B song and anchored her 2018 debut album, a self-titled record that felt like a comfortable retreat into the familiar sounds of her idols, who include Brandy and Destiny’s Child. But Mai isn’t a mere throwback artist. There are sprinklings of modern hip-hop in her sound, courtesy of executive producer/in-demand beatmaker DJ Mustard, while Mai’s own knack for breezy, bright melodies ooze an untapped level of potential. March 15 at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore Silver Spring. Sold out.

Carl Stone

Sampling can be a laborious process, so it’s no surprise that an early pioneer of the art is also an academic. This California-raised composer and professor of sound design at a Japanese university has been performing his brand of experimental soundscapes for more than four decades. His latest release, “Baroo,” is one of his most widely accessible works yet, pulsing with Cuban dance rhythms and other global sounds. The title of the track “Xé May” might offer some insight into Stone’s process: It’s derived from Vietnamese, and in combination the words don’t translate into any specific phrase or idiom. But, taken apart, they succinctly summarize what the 66-year-old artist intends to do: “Xé,” meaning to tear, and “may,” meaning to stitch. And shouldn’t all good experimental music aim to tear away at the stitching of sound? March 17 at 8 p.m. at Rhizome. $15.

José González and the String Theory

Even if you aren’t familiar with this 40-year-old Swedish Argentine folk singer’s albums, there’s a strong chance you’ve come across González’s delicately plucked guitar melodies through the myriad soundtracks his soulful serenades have been featured on. And for good reason: González’s timbre, which evokes the legendary British folkie Nick Drake, is a soothing balm. His latest album, “Live in Europe,” pairs González with the German and Swedish orchestra the String Theory, his frequent collaborators and current tourmates. The strings and percussion of the orchestra add a valuable oomph that’s missing in González’s tender sound. March 20 at 6:30 p.m. (doors) at the Lincoln Theatre. $45.


Cosmic jazz trio the Comet is Coming performs at U Street Music Hall this week. (Fabrice Bourgelle)
The Comet Is Coming

Legendary jazz artists Alice Coltrane and Sun Ra spent their respective careers channeling the gospel of the stars, and fans of cosmic jazz have been searching for their disciples ever since. Enter, the Comet Is Coming. The London-based jazz trio has returned from the far reaches of the universe with “Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery,” a follow-up to the band’s 2016 debut “Channel the Spirits.” Saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings leads with mesmerizing melodic riffs, which are prone to burrow into your ears. Everything else about this music, which draws from the U.K. underground dance scene, sounds loud and urgent — fitting for a band whose very name warns about the fate of our world. March 21 at 7 p.m. at U Street Music Hall. $15.