Caroline Polachek

Caroline Polachek used to be a part of Chairlift, whose song “Bruised” was used in a 2008 iPod commercial that jump-started the band’s career. After three albums and a break up in 2017, Polachek is on her own. But “Pang,” her debut album, makes you think she’s been solo all along. The titular track opens with otherworldly bells meshing with Polachek’s sharp voice. The chorus is simple — “into me / pang, and then I go / into you / pang, and then you go …” — as her breathy background “oohs” supplement the whimsical production. “Ocean of Tears” is a standout with glossy instrumentals. It sounds like autotune is used to bend her voice to match the song’s impatient lyrics, but Polachek told the New Yorker that autotune effect is achieved by flipping between her head and chest voice. She sings, “Oh my god I wanna know what it feels like / just an inch away from living a dream life,” elongating the word “feels” into a kind of electronic-sounding run a la Cher’s “Believe.” The song “Look At Me Now,” is a sad, mid-album surprise. It features a more demure production and Polachek sorrowfully singing, “Tryna find the lightswitch in the dark / burying the good girl I know I’m not,” with a simple strumming guiding her despair. If “Pang” is any indication, Polachek has a long solo career ahead of her. Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. at Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Sold out.


The 2016 song “Broken” put Lovelytheband, featuring vocalist Mitchy Collins, guitarist Jordan Greenwald and drummer Sam Price, on the mainstream map. Since then, the group has released two albums, most recently “Conversations With Myself About You” in 2020. This definitively lowercase band plays in more ’80s inspired synths this second time around. The song “Waste” feels immediately joyful but the sometimes distant-sounding vocals tell a different story. In the chorus, Collins sings, “Mixing glitter with my tears/ as my inhibitions disappear,” giving a gloomy story to a dance-friendly track. The track “Silly” will have you bopping along to cheerful drums and swaying to a sultry saxophone while Collins asks, “do you miss me? Or am I just silly?” “Idwgtyp” (an acronym for “I don’t want to go to your party”) feels like a call back to their breakout hit, with a chorus that you want to sing along to. Almost all of Lovelytheband’s songs are fun at the start, until the lyrics remind you of the inevitable doom love brings. Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. at 930 Club, 815 V St. NW. $30.

100 Gecs

The song “I Need Help Immediately” from cyber pop group 100 Gecs has everything, including a famous commercial jingle, the opening notes of a ’90s sitcom theme song and the sounds of a PC waking up. There are barely any lyrics, however — instead it is many sounds stitched together to make a cheeky song. Still, it probably isn’t the most polarizing track on Dylan Brady and Laura Les’s album “1000 Gecs,” which dropped in 2019. That could be “Stupid Horse,” which is too catchy for its own good and tells the story of losing a bunch of money betting on horse racing. The chorus is like a punchline, with Les’s heavily manipulated voice singing, “Stupid horse, I just fell out of the Porsche.” Often times, 100 Gecs lets its piercing sound choices speak for themselves. On “xXXi_wud_nvrstøp_ÜXXx,” such sparse lyrics as “Everyday, you got me oh, feeling like” set up a chorus of abrasive, robotic sounds that punch their way into your ears. The song “Ringtone” is the duo’s most intimate offering and doesn’t have as many of the eccentric sounds that are littered throughout the rest of the project. It describes the constant, distracting nature of phone notifications with a quick lyric delivery that mimics the pings the song is about. 100 Gecs makes music for the perpetually online — and today, that’s basically everyone. Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. at 9:30 club, 815 V St. NW. Sold out.


Tasha’s sophomore album shows an artist becoming more comfortable with her pen. On “Tell Me What You Miss the Most,” the Chicago native reminisces on her relationship ending with heartbreaking phrases and a sweet and melancholy vocal delivery. Even the jollier song “Perfect Wife,” with its upbeat drums and lively flutes, feels somber in the broader context of the project. “On the floor, I’ll be stunned every time/ truth is, darling, you’re such a perfect wife,” she serenades an ex lover who won’t be her wife. On the next song “Sorry’s Not Enough,” Tasha faces her reality: “I’ve gone and fooled myself/ thinking they’d love me still/ through all the doubt we felt,” admitting her unrealistic expectations over a slow guitar that builds to fit the grand sadness of the lyrics. The penultimate track “Year From Now” is full of declarative hopes for the future. Or, maybe it’s Tasha singing from a better place to her past self. Either way, when she softly sings, “Stop wishing for someone to tell you some secret that you’ve always known,” listeners know that heartbreaks aren’t forever. And when she proclaims “Tasha, you’re brighter than you’ve ever been” to end the song, you have no choice but to believe her. Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. at Songbyrd, 540 Penn St. NE. $18-$20.

Note: Proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test is required for admittance to these shows. Check venue websites for specifics.