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This Week in Live Music: Haim, Neutral Milk Hotel, Future Islands, and More

L.A. rock trio Haim plays two enormously anticipated shows at the Fillmore this week. Photo courtesy of the band. 

Skipping Coachella this year, but dreading the idea of missing all your favorite bands congregating for the biggest, raddest party known to California?  Fear not, for Fauxchella has arrived again to save your FOMOing souls.

Wednesday and Thursday: Haim at The Fillmore

Call Haim Fleetwood Mac revivalists. Call them precocious, fearless, stars-in-the-making (as witnessed at Treasure Island Music Festival last fall). Call them the darlings of nostalgic tastemakers. But do NOT call them a “girl band.” Seriously. The band recently distanced themselves from the Icona Pops and Destiny’s Childs of the world, telling The Guardian, “Growing up, there were a lot of girl artists like the Spice Girls, Aaliyah, and Destiny’s Child. But none of them really played instruments and I would always look up to Stevie Nicks and Blondie – they are dope female musicians. So I just see us as a band. When people call us a girl band, I take it as an insult – being a girl in a band shouldn’t be a thing. It seems so medieval.” Cheers to that.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: Neutral Milk Hotel at Fox Theater

It’s been 15 years and I still have no idea what the heck “The King of Carrot Flowers” means, but the intrigue of Neutral Milk Hotel’s cult-classic album In the Aeroplane Over The Sea only grows as time flows. Jeff Mangum has been out of reclusion for a few years now and came to the Fox Theater around the same time to play a string of solo shows. Now he returns with the full Neutral Milk Hotel outfit at his back, the original lineup that composed Aeroplane. That means musical saws, people, horns, and chills. Just one piece of advice before going to the show: re-learn all the words because you’ll want to sing along with everyone else. This will happen.

Thursday: Future Islands at The Chapel

Of all The Chapel’s many brilliant bookings in its young but dense life, this may be the biggest coup of them all. Few bands are buzzing as loudly as North Carolina’s Future Islands right now, in the wake of a new album called Singles. It’s not just the chorus of glowing reviews; it’s that word is getting out that Future Islands is one of the most thrilling live bands going right now. Who spilled the beans? None other than the man of the hour — David Letterman. Watch this video from a few weeks back and see why it already has 900,000+ views (and why lead singer Samuel T. Herring is the most energetic performer in indie rock...and rap).

Thursday: Schoolboy Q at The Regency Ballroom

Schoolboy Q is major-label status these days, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to his major label debut Oxymoron, which is filled with the same oddball quirks and gnarly delivery that brought Schoolboy all the deserved attention in the first place. Biggest difference is Schoolboy’s extended clout and clique. The new album features 2 Chainz, BJ the Chicago Kid, Kurupt, Jay Rock, Raekwon, Suga Free, and Tyler The Creator. He’s a leading face in the next generation of West Coast rap, a group as deep as it is talented. And weird. These guys are super weird.

Friday: Classixx at The Independent

Classixx at the Independent on a Friday night is a good idea. As a rule. The LA electronic duo can always rally a dance party just as well as they can rally a cameo appearance. The group’s debut album Hanging Gardens includes guest appearances from Active Child, Sarah Chernoff of Superhumanoids, Jeppe of Junior Senior, Jesse Kivel of Kisses, and Nancy Whang of LCD Soundsystem. Translation: they know people, people who are some of the finest sound manipulators going these days. The attention to production value shows in Hanging Gardens, a collection of songs that have more than just well-timed synths and beats; they have dimension.

Saturday and Sunday, April 19-20: Rufus Wainwright at Palace of Fine Arts

Wistful vocalist Rufus Wainwright has played to his share of sold-out crowds at legendary venues (Carnegie Hall, London’s Palladium), and this month will be no different—fresh off his European tour, the Montrealer takes the stage at SF’s Palace of Fine Arts to perform bittersweet standards from his latest album, Vibrate: The Best of Rufus Wainwright. - Allison McCarthy

The Week That Was

War on Drugs at the Independent

Ex-Oakland resident/War on Drugs band leader Adam Granduciel is master of the “Woooo!” domain. You know, the moment in a song when the chorus is crescendoing, everything that needed to be said has been said, and all that’s left is an instinctual yelp. Yeah that. Granduciel does it better than anyone. Those are also the moments that remind us of classic rock forefathers like Springsteen and Dylan and Petty, who knew when to let a moment just be a moment. Those moments came frequently during the War on Drugs onslaught at The Independent on Wednesday. Also: drummer Kyle Lloyd is a terrifying, maniacal, absolutely riveting showman.

Follow @ChrisTrenchard for more words like these.