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Best Bets This Week in Live Bay Area Music

Pop-star-in-progress Charli XCX plays Slim's Friday night. 

Simply put, this is a monster week in Bay Area music. On the monster scale (bear with me), this week registers a LOCH NESS rating. All of this world-class pop music at once doesn’t seem realistic (see what I did there? Sorry.).

Earl Sweatshirt, Slim's, 333 11th Street, Monday

Is Earl Sweatshirt Odd Future’s smartest emcee? I’d say so, and so would most critics among the blogerati. One listen to Earl’s breakthrough 2013 album Doris validates the claim. The New Yorker had this to say: “He is an exceptionally good rapper, talented enough to overcome the threatening, offensive mojo that Odd Future has spent years conjuring.” And from the "What Have You Done With Your Life" files, he’s just 19 years old. Ugh. 

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The Flaming Lips, Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, Thursday

Flaming Lips fans across the world held their collective breath last week when the band’s Twitter account announced they were breaking up. For a moment, we imagined what a world without the Flaming Lips would be like, sad emojis flooding every corner of social media. How could we go on? Who would show us how beautiful the world can be? Who would make us realize life is that we’re all just floating in space, that happiness makes us cry, that life goes much too — what’s that? They got hacked? THANK THE LORD OF ALL MUSIC.

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Charli XCX, Slim's, Friday

It’s love at first sight and sound with Charli XCX. She’s got the look, the edge, the voice, everything we demand from our pop-stars-in-progress. She’s already contributed to the modern musical lexicon way more than most people realize. She co-wrote the pervasive Icona Pop song “I Don’t Care” and has now been asked to pen tunes for Britney Spears. Her debut album True Romance revealed a confident, inspired artist ready to be her own entity. See her at Slim’s before she starts headlining the arenas of tomorrow.

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Iron & Wine, Fox Theater, Friday

Samuel Beam, the man behind indie rock’s most celebrated beard, keeps ascending to new heights. His date at the Fox Theater qualifies as a new high-water mark for Iron and Wine Bay Area appearances. Beam and company are touring in support of their 2013 release Ghost on Ghost, which the Independent (UK) called “as dense stylistically as it is lyrically.” And that’s saying quite a bit for one of the most thoughtful lullaby-engineers around.

Cut Copy, Fox Theater, Saturday

Free your mind. Seems like an obvious concept, right? The Australian electronic pop princes involved in Cut Copy are nevertheless beckoning the masses to remove the mental shackles claiming your day-to-day existence and —  I’m assuming here — dance. JUST DANCE PEOPLE. That’s really all there is to it with Cut Copy. Stop overthinking, stop worrying, dance. Their new album is called Free Your Mind, and it's doing the trick. The album's a bit spacier and expansive than what we're used to hearing from Cut Copy — peaks aren't drastic, but they're very much there. Try finding more melodic dance music, and you’ll be left making comparisons between LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip and Cut Copy. No hyperbole.

For more words like these, follow @ChrisTrenchard.