When Ari Lennox first caught the ear of J. Cole — the rap superstar who would go on to sign her to his Dreamville imprint — she was supposed to help write songs for Rihanna. That didn’t pan out, however. “They wound up being my records ’cause I’m just not really a songwriter for other artists,” the 28-year-old D.C. native told Billboard last year. “It’s hard for me ’cause I’m always writing personal [songs].” Rihanna’s loss is R&B fans’ gain, as Lennox ended up recording an album of timeless and timely bedroom anthems, “Shea Butter Baby,” that is all her. June 14 at 8 p.m. (doors) at the 9:30 Club. Sold out.
In 2015, jazz pianist and composer Stanley Cowell released his “Juneteenth Suite,” commemorating the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, the holiday that marks the day that the abolition of slavery was announced in Texas — more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth turns this historical stain into a celebration of freedom; Cowell’s “Juneteenth” does the same, referencing and recontextualizing iconic moments from the American songbook. Originally recorded as a piano solo, Cowell will be joined by an ensemble of strings, voice and percussion, giving new life to a work that highlights an underappreciated moment in our history. June 15 at 8 p.m. at An Die Musik. $10-$25.
As the frontman of Jane’s Addiction and Porno for Pyros, the founder of Lollapalooza and the man possibly responsible for Coachella’s long-running success, Perry Farrell has done more than his share to shape the music of the past three decades. And at 60 years old, the alt-rock icon is still stirring the pot, teaming with a collective of musicians called the Kind Heaven Orchestra. The crew’s first song, the dubstep-rocker “Pirate Punk Politician,” sees Farrell aiming his one-of-a-kind screech at a “so-called president” who has “split your country down the middle.” Expect to hear new material along with some Jane’s and Pyros favorites, for old times sake. June 19 at 8 p.m. at City Winery. $73-$103.
A month before her 14th birthday, Billie Eilish uploaded her first song to SoundCloud. “Ocean Eyes” is as good an introduction as any: a woozy pop song that showed off the preternaturally talented singer’s breathy voice and ready-for-prime-time songwriting. Now just 17, Eilish whispers, gasps, groans and eye-rolls through “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?,” a vital concoction featuring Disney princess melodies about Xanax, cabaret songs about good girls that go to hell, gossamer ballads, slinky synth-pop and loads of in-the-red bass. Weirder and wiser than most teen pop stars, Eilish has Generation Z in good hands. June 20 at 6 p.m. at the Anthem. Sold out.