After a relatively quiet December, venues are filling their bills with acts to watch. Pusha T, who rose to fame with Virginia Beach rap act Clipse, is bound for Echostage, and acclaimed singer-songwriter Jason Isbell returns to Washington, this time to play the 9:30 Club. Mark your calendar with these shows:
As one-half of menacing Virginia Beach prodigies Clipse, Pusha T had earned plenty of goodwill before his solo release, 2013’s “My Name Is My Name.” The utterly listenable album marked his first outing on Kanye West’s record label, G.O.O.D., and introduced hip-hop fans to a slightly more mainstream side of King Push. The record is teeming with cameos from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean and Pharrell Williams, but Push’s effortless flow and bleak lyricism have ensured that he’s the main attraction.
Buzz factor: 7. Last year, such artists as West, Danny Brown, Earl Sweatshirt and others dropped compelling, occasionally game-altering, hip-hop offerings. Yet “My Name Is My Name” managed to carve out a unique niche, scoring year-end kudos from Rolling Stone and others.
Jan. 11 at Echostage, 2135 Queens Chapel Rd. NE. 202-503-2330. www.echostage.com. $29.
Waxahatchee is Katie Crutchfield, an exceptionally literate songwriter whose earnest one-woman show took off late last year with the release of “Cerulean Salt,” which seamlessly blends pop-punk sentiments with ’90s-style indie rock.
Buzz factor: 8. Heartbroken over missing this month’s sold-out Neutral Milk Hotel show at Constitution Hall? Thought the Breeders were better with Tanya Donelly? Waxahatchee, with its hints of punk sensibility, will stir up plenty of memories. Consider the Black Cat show this month a must-see.
Jan. 24 at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. 202-667-4490. www.blackcatdc.com. $13.
The former Drive-By Truckers singer-songwriter stepped out on his own more than five years ago with backing band the 400 Unit. But it wasn’t until 2012, after Isbell checked into rehab and began writing his newest album, the spare “Southeastern,” that he seemed to find his voice.
Buzz factor: 8. “Southeastern” raised the Alabama native’s stock in the country-music world and established him as one to watch. For those who missed Isbell’s sold-out performance last summer at the Birchmere, this month’s 9:30 Club show is a second chance to see his striking live show.
Jan. 28 at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 202-265-0930. www.930.com. Sold out.
Neutral Milk Hotel
Call him a recluse, a genius or, perhaps most accurately, a one-man tent revival. It’s impossible to deny the magnetism of Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum. It has been 15 years since the release of “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,” a caterwauling epic that turned Mangum and his makeshift players into outsider music icons. “Aeroplane,” the band’s most consuming album, also ultimately proved to be its last. For fans desperate to hear the songs live, however, Mangum abandoned his long silence in 2011 and began playing with a band to take the album on the road.
Buzz factor: 9. This month’s return to Washington, to the sizable Constitution Hall, was quickly sold out.
Jan. 31 at DAR Constitution Hall, 1776 D St. NW. 202-628-1776. www.dar.org/conthall. Sold out.