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Monday, March 23

The Manhattan Transfer, Take 6
This is the year when two undisputed champions finally agreed to meet for one of the greatest shows in the history of their profession. We are discussing the vocal jazz supergroups Manhattan Transfer and Take 6, but we might as well be talking about Pacquiao/Mayweather in “The Fight of the Century.” Manhattan Transfer have been the trendsetter for vocal jazz groups since they were founded in 1969 by Tim Hauser, who was a part of every iteration until his death last October. Take 6 burst into the public ear in 1988 with their Grammy-winning, self-titled debut album, and they continue to be a beloved and important piece of gospel music and a cappella vocal harmony. When these two celestial groups get onstage together, expect the vocal jazz universe to implode under the immense gravitational force. — Gary Fukushima

Tuesday, March 24

Gang of Four
Gang of Four have often been more like Gang of Two since starting in Leeds, England, in 1977. Although various members of the rhythm section have come and gone over the past four decades, the group has historically always been fronted by lead singer Jon King and guitarist Andy Gill. But King stopped taking part in the occasional reunions after 2011, and now Gill has reconfigured the band yet again and is the only remaining original member. King’s balefully acute lyrics are much missed, but Gill’s jaggedly funky riffs propel What Happens Next, the new album by the current lineup. There are some interesting passages, especially when The Kills’ Alison Mosshart sings on two tracks. But new vocalist John Sterry’s delivery is pleasantly bland compared with King’s caustic broadsides. — Falling James

Moon Duo
Moon Duo isn’t the kind of a band that goes back to their roots, simply because Moon Duo is the kind of band that doesn’t stop moving long enough to ever put down roots. Like their ancestors Neu!, they make songs for moments in motion, whether on the Autobahn or somewhere in space. So let’s say instead that their newest album, Shadow of the Sun, goes back to the source: heavy riffs on rhythm-and-drone forebears such as Suicide, Spacemen 3 and the slo-mo songs on The Stooges’ first album. Single “Slow Down Low,” one of Sun’s several stormers, is a reflection of The Velvet Underground’s “Foggy Notion” and The Modern Lovers’ “Roadrunner.” If it’s rock, it’s rock like a meteor is rock — gigantic, cosmic and made of ice until it catches fire. — Chris Ziegler

Wednesday, March 25

Talib Kweli, Immortal Technique
For the past 20 years, Talib Kweli has been at the forefront of conscious rap. When it comes to rhymes about the plight of urban activism, police brutality and racial stereotypes, there have been few voices bolder than his. Recently, the rapper’s Ferguson Defense Fund raised $112,000 to cover the legal fees of peaceful protesters in the beleaguered Missouri city. He’s currently on the aptly named People’s Champions Tour with Peruvian-born, New York City–based Immortal Technique. The duo, though different in style and song structure, remain two of the most prominent voices in conscious hip-hop, willing to spit in the face of authority while using their art form to unapologetically express their viewpoints, regardless of how they may be received. — Daniel Kohn

Thursday, March 26

Spaceships take off with singer-guitarist Jessie Waite’s euphoric pop melodies powered by fuzzy surges of garage-punk distortion and Kevin LaRose’s no-nonsense drumming. “I realize you’re human just like me,” Waite admits amid the stomping chords of “Good Gradez,” even as she complains that true love is difficult. The local “bedroom-garage” duo expands its range a little on the grungy pop ode “Washed Out” and amid the staccato chords and psychedelic wooziness of “Dervishstation.” San Diego trio Soft Lions revel in a garage-rock, riot-grrl primitivism on tracks like “Earth Energy,” but they also downshift into a contemplative pop prettiness on such songs as “Horses.” Coed indie-rock quartet The Big Gone celebrate the release of a new EP that’s distinguished by Claire Woolner’s beguiling vocal charisma and Nick Sena’s Pixies-style guitars. — Falling James

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