Brooklyn-born and based Taja Cheek makes exploratory, jaw-dropping music under the moniker L’Rain. To hear it is to hear the artist’s adulthood, including her joys and traumas, in wavy, elastic experimentalism. The samples alone on her 2021 album, Fatigue, take you through the laughter of friends making art together and then into the charged mourning of a funeral preacher. The journey is, at times, illegible, as is the artist’s intention, but its pull on the heartstrings is unmistakably strong. Though she is a multi-instrumentalist, her voice persists as a throughline of glowing guidance in her music, whether it’s drenched in euphoric reverb on Fatigue’s phenomenal closer “Take Two” or channeling delicate ’90s R&B on “Blame Me.” In her two recent D.C. performances opening for Animal Collective and Parquet Courts (in March and April of this year), she was an absolute scene-stealer. On both occasions, she and her phenomenal band filled the 9:30 Club’s hallowed walls with astounding, avant-garde performances. The stage is set for a glorious return to the city for her headlining set at Songbyrd, and if the past is any indication, everyone in attendance is in for a one-of-a-kind experience. L’Rain plays at 7 p.m. on Oct. 2 at Songbyrd in Northeast. $19.32 .
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