TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16
Singer-songwriter Heather Mae has built her relatively young career on songs intended to empower, whether singing (and blogging) about body acceptance, LGBTQ rights, or mental health. Catch her in performance with Sarah Clanton, and Katie Kuffel opening, at the Pie Shop. Show 7 p.m. $12. 21+, inaccessible venue.
Rootsy rocker Patrick Sweany sounds far older than his 40-some years on latest album Ancient Noise—or at least his music does. That's likely an intended side effect of recording at Memphis' Sam Phillips Recording studio, once run by the producer considered an architect of rock and roll. Hear him with Ryan Culwell at Hill Country Live. Show 8 p.m. $20. All ages, accessible venue.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17
Yes, Death Cab for Cutie released a new album earlier this year, but let's be honest; we're just as excited by the prospect of seeing their paleolithic hits performed live ("Soul Meets Body" or "You Are a Tourist" anyone?). Find out whether they pull out a few of these gems (or if unicorns suddenly fly overhead The Wharf, a Postal Service track) at The Anthem with Charly Bliss. Show 8 p.m. $55-$95. All ages, accessible venue.
No one else on earth (sorry, not sorry) performs a song quite like country-pop queen Wynonna. Her 2016 album returns to her roots, with songs that aren't much of a leap from those of her Judds days. See her perform with backing band The Big Noise at The Birchmere. Show 7:30 p.m. $55. All ages, accessible venue.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18
After her July show at Jiffy Lube Live was canceled, legendary artist Lauryn Hill will finally be hitting a D.C.-area stage on Thursday at The Theater at MGM National Harbor for her Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 20th anniversary tour. The LP, her sole studio album, brought the singer-songwriter five Grammys and remains a source for contemporary samples (which she may acknowledge in the show). Show 8 p.m. $54-$135+. All ages, accessible venue.
"I think I like him more than I like Trader Joe's" rap-sings New York artist Junglepussy (who says she's frequently at TJ's) on her 2018 album, JP3. See her with Odd Mojo at Songbyrd. Show 8 p.m. $20. All ages, inaccessible venue.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19
Kombilesa Mi, based in the Colombian town of San Basilio De Palenque, brings its blend of Colombian musical traditions with contemporary rap to the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. Show 6 p.m. FREE. All ages, accessible venue.
Jazz star Dee Dee Bridgewater, a two-time Grammy winner, visits blues and soul hits, with a touch of gospel, on her 2017 album, Memphis ... Yes, I'm Ready. Bridgewater was born in the blues capital, and stopped by NPR (where she hosted a jazz show for nearly two dozen years) earlier this year to share a few cuts from the album. Catch her for night two of a four-night stint at Blues Alley. Shows 8 p.m./10 p.m. $65. All ages, inaccessible venue.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20
"You don't need to change / It's boring being the same." It's an excellent point, heard in "Flamingo" from UK trio Kero Kero Bonito, a sort of Cibo Matto-meets-Smoking Popes who churns out revelatory pop and punk with a good degree of playfulness. (P.S.—You too can play the panpipe/slide whistle-like solo from "Flamingo" after watching this video.) See them with Tanukichan at Milkboy ArtHouse. Show 8 p.m. $16-$18. All ages, accessible venue.
In "Boys Will Be Boys," Australian artist Stella Donnelly shares a narrative all-too-relevant these days: "My friend told me of a secret / Told me that she blames herself / You invaded her magnificence / Put your hand over her mouth." Donnelly told NPR last year that, "A song is just a song, but at the very least I hope it will open up difficult yet important conversations between family members, friends, government bodies, organizations and, most importantly, boys and men." See her at Songbyrd. Show 8 p.m. $12-$14. All ages, inaccessible venue.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21
Brooklyn-based foursome Big Thief (whose crystalline "Paul" is a must-hear) may be fairly new but has already impressed the critics with its particular brand of moody, indie folk-rock. See the band (whose lead singer, Adrianne Lenker, is out with a new solo album) with The Range of Light Wilderness and .michael. at the 9:30 Club. Doors 7 p.m. $20. All ages, accessible venue.
While her most recognizable song is undeniably pop, British singer Lily Allen capably moves from genre to genre on 2018 album No Shame. With shades of hip-hop and reggaeton, and a power ballad thrown in (which, really, every album should have), the LP reflects the talents of an artist who may still be searching for herself amidst years of trial and controversy. Catch her with S-X at The Fillmore. Show 8 p.m. $35-$67. All ages, accessible venue.
Grammy-nominated rapper Evidence, who cites fatherhood as a source of the personal growth witnessed on latest album Weather or Not, comes to Rock and Roll Hotel. Show 8 p.m. $20-$25. All ages, accessible venue.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 22
Last year, rock trio The Life and Times released its self-titled album, featuring the lyrically simple but emotionally intense (enhanced by an apocalyptic music video) "Killing Queens." See them at DC9. Show 8 p.m. $12-$14. All ages, inaccessible venue.