James Blake: University Musical Society.
This 24-year-old London-based dubstep producer and singer-songwriter, also a classically trained pianist, has gained an international following and widespread critical acclaim for electronically shaped pop songs blending soul, gospel, R&B, and deep bass rhythms. Since emerging in 2009 as a "bedroom" artist who recorded his own spooky, imposing dubstep singles, Blake has released a string of EPs, as well as an eponymous LP whose lavish vocals earned Blake comparisons to Bon Iver vocalist Justin Vernon and Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke. Blake's "pop" sensibility is somewhat avant-garde in its approach, eschewing hooks and choruses and making use of silence, space, and minimalist techniques. Tonight's show features songs from his 2013 album, Overgrown, whose songs contain original, engaging permutations of gospel and R&B styles. "Whether he's making bass-heavy bangers, quiet meditations, or increasingly of late, something in-between, Blake is a modern master of emotional speculation," writes a Pitchfork critic.
7:30 p.m., Michigan Theater. $20-$44, in advance at ums.org, by phone, and (if available) at the door. 764-2538. [map]