Great new music is an essential back-to-school item — study up on what’s hot by checking out our Spotify playlist. Meanwhile, these upcoming shows will make saying goodbye to summer a little easier.
Ravinia, Sept. 1
This sassy yet soulful singer is best known for her solo debut and critically acclaimed album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” Prior to launching a stellar solo career, she was a member of the Fugees — which explains her fusion of hip hop and soul into one silky smooth sound.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Sept. 7
Andrew Bird is as excellent a songwriter as he is multi-instrumentalist. As a solo performer, he melds both skills together to deliver intricately layered alternative tracks. Seeing him live is like watching a scientist in his lab, mixing various components into one perfectly blended end-product.
Chicago Theatre, Sept. 8
Jenny Lewis fronts the indie rock band Rilo Kiley, and also has a successful career as a solo artist. She takes her singer-songwriter sensibilities to the next level by incorporating alt-rock undertones.
Thalia Hall, Sept. 9
This Portland-based band charms listeners with their indie folk vibe. Vocalist Israel Nebeker spearheads blissful harmonies, while the lighthearted and lush instrumentals serve as an equally beautiful backdrop.
Lincoln Hall, Sept. 17
Austin-based indie folk band Wild Child delivers an array of songs that vary in tempo and sound. But Kelsey Wilson’s distinct voice along with a sea of string instruments serve as a uniting thread that ties it all together.
SPACE, Sept. 20
Langhorne Slim & The Law breathe reverberating life into their songs. Though Slim is often classified as a singer-songwriter, The Law is responsible for building up each song with texture that adds an uplifting spin to their performance.
The Vic Theatre, Sept. 20
This Irish singer-songwriter delivers affecting lyrics paired with subtle and moving instrumentation. His soulful performances of indie folk tunes will leave you lingering on every word.
Chicago Theatre, Sept. 23
This genre- and decade-defying band offers up smooth Southern soul and jazz, modernized with elements of bluesy pop. The Brooklyn-based quartet will surely take its audience on a trip through time and sound.
Thalia Hall, Sept. 23
This youthful indie rocker has made headlines for taking his career from his bedroom to music venues across the country. In a little over a year, he has two acclaimed records under his belt, each filled with matter-of-fact songs that offer truthful insight into today’s world, paired with racing rock rhythms.
City Winery, Sept. 24
This Portland-based band experiments with fusing different genres together, from country folk to indie rock. As a result, the band has an intriguing catalogue of tracks that all vary in sound. The setlist for this show is sure to be anything but boring.
Riviera Theatre, Sept. 26
These L.A. rockers are back with a third album, “Sunlit Youth,” out Sept. 9 — and they sound happier than ever. Their sunny disposition shines through in their music, and their invigorating live show will leave you feeling optimistic and reenergized.
Thalia Hall, Sept. 27-28
Angel Olsen’s angelic voice is capable of lulling you into a daze, but while some of her songs are soft and soothing, others show a revved-up side of this multi-dimensional indie artist. Her upcoming album, “My Woman,” will be released on Sept. 2.
Lincoln Hall, Sept. 29
Hailing from Hartford, Connecticut, this resounding rock band’s Americana roots come through on several of their songs. Their feel-good energy is sure to result in a show that has its audience clapping, stomping and dancing along.
Lyndsey Havens is a music writer covering Valslist for Make It Better. She is also a staff writer for WXRT and Consequence of Sound and her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune.
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