Before making waves with Hand Habits, Meg Duffy’s woozying guitar riffs and gentle vocals had already caught the ears of some high-profile collaborators. Duffy played a memorable slide-guitar solo on the War on Drugs’ Grammy-winning album “A Deeper Understanding” and was, until recently, a longtime fixture in folk-rocker Kevin Morby’s backing band. On “Placeholder,” Duffy’s second album as Hand Habits, the 28-year-old forges a path by flexing a knack for intimate melodies that evoke pastoral Americana. These softer tunes can melt into the background, but a closer examination reveals Duffy wrestling with currents of grief and anxiety. April 12 at 8 p.m. at Songbyrd. $7-$10.
Record Store Day has sharply divided music fans: Some love the spate of exclusive releases pressed for the occasion, while serious crate diggers turn up their nose at the markups and crowds. One thing that seems less controversial: the rise in RSD-related concerts. Union Stage is hosting one this year, featuring New York hip-hop legends Masta Ace and Diamond D. The latter will show off his proper scratching skills behind the turntables with a DJ set using all 45 rpm records. Masta Ace will deliver his easygoing flow in duo with underground producer Marco Polo — their 2018 album “A Breukelen Story” was a loving reminder of the 52-year-old Brooklyn emcee’s pioneering, heady lyrical skills. April 13 at 8 p.m. at Union Stage. $25-$50.
The rapper from Southeast Washington has seemed primed to break out of the city and onto the national stage for years. He told the world as much during his guest verse on a 2012 Wale track, blaring, “Shout-out to Georgetown, but I won’t get trapped in the District, nah.” The 27-year-old is still trying to set the rap world on fire, releasing albums at a yearly clip — 2017’s “Kalorama Heights” was a standout — but he’s still doing it from the comfy confines of his hometown. When he takes the stage at the Fillmore alongside some of the DMV’s rap upstarts, including Chelly the MC, everyone in the room could take a lesson from the Congress Heights native: You can still make great music in this city. April 17 at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore Silver Spring. $35-$80.
It would be easy to dismiss La Dispute’s music as rambling missives plopped over hardcore-adjacent beats. But that would be underselling the compositional power of the Michigan quintet. You can enjoy the surface-level push-and-pull interplay of singer Jordan Dreyer’s hushed singsong erupting into wails. But La Dispute’s latest album, “Panorama,” demands your attention with its vivid world-building, conjuring scenes from the margins of society. Dreyer’s tales recall half-formed thoughts and words left unspoken, and they’re carried to the finish line by his bandmates’ pummeling drum fills and slick guitar sounds. April 18 at 8 p.m. at Rock & Roll Hotel. $25-$30.