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This week has too many good shows, so here are the best five

Mdou Moctar’s guitar skills are about as fiery as you’ll get, and yet somehow they hypnotize. Photo credit: Christoper Grady

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April marks my 10th anniversary writing for the Weekly Volcano. In that time, the vast majority of my coverage has centered around music in the South Sound, and it's been a real roller coaster ride to see how the scene has shifted and developed. Fallow periods come and go, but recent times have shown a relative increase in activity that's been heartening to observe. This week, for instance, has proven to be a difficult one for me -- not for a lack of shows to highlight, but an overabundance. Rather than focus on one show, with some mentions of others, I thought I'd take the buffet approach: I'll fill my plate with as many as will fit. Off we go, in chronological order.

Mdou Moctar

You're not likely to find more deliriously impassioned music, this week, than that of Mdou Moctar. The celebrated guitarist draws on Tuareg music, a West African style that gained contemporary prominence in the ‘80s, with acts adopting electric guitars and a more varied wellspring of sonic influences. Mdou Moctar takes that inspiration and embellishes it with flourishes of psychedelia, electronica, and other modern elements. More than anything, as the recently released Ilana: The Creator shows, Mdou Moctar is an absolute wonder with a guitar, crafting jaw-droppingly dramatic ditties that both hypnotize and induce shivers.

Mdou Moctar, w/ Malaikat dan Singa, 8 p.m., Friday, Octapas Cafe, 414 E. Fourth Ave., Olympia, student/low income $10, general $15, 360.878.9333,

Great Grandpa

I'm a sucker for over-achieving pop-punk or power pop bands. Sleeper Agent, years ago, had my number, with the innately infectious boy-girl vocals, and the way that each song would seemingly run through enough ideas for four songs. Great Grandpa scratches this same itch, with their guitar-forward tunes that sound both nostalgic and ambitious, evoking ‘90s slacker rock and leaning into gentle experimentation. Their most recent release, 2017's Plastic Cough, is a an almost perversely catchy affair, elevated even more by Alex Menne, whose voice somehow sounds both relaxed and like a tribute to Frank Black. This show will feature them playing an acoustic set, which should highlight the innate hooks in their songs.

Great Grandpa, w/ Kt Neely, Still January, 7 p.m., Saturday, Real Art, all ages, 5412 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma, $10,

Greg Ashley

California-based singer-songwriter Greg Ashley cut his teeth in ‘90s and ‘00s bands like the Gris Gris and the Mirrors, both of which dealt in a kind of rejuvenated psych-rock, looking back at the Nuggets of the past, and favoring more idiosyncratic choices. Ashley would eventually cut out on his own, giving himself a greater permission to embrace unconventional choices and more down-to-earth lyrics. None of his trippier instincts have left him, but his pathway to the cliffside has never been as friendly and inviting as it is now.

Greg Ashley, w/ California Redemption Value, 6 p.m., Saturday, Le Voyeur, all ages, 404 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia, cover TBA, 360.943.5710,

Dead Soft

While Great Grandpa has the tendency to draw from ‘90s alt-rock, they have nothing against the full-blown attack of Dead Soft, which seems to be swimming against a surging torrent of fuzzy guitars, poppy melodies, and everyman vocals. The Vancouver, B.C., quartet is profoundly adept at finding the pleasure center of your brain that's most acclimated to long drives in a car on sunny days. Fans of Pavement, Weezer, and Jellyfish oughta take notice.

Dead Soft, w/ De4d Men, Sweet Darling, 8 p.m., Saturday, The Pig Bar, 619 Legion Way SE, Olympia, no cover, 360.943.6900

Emily Reo

After a decade of Emily Reo releasing invariably interesting art-pop, 2019's Only You Can See It comes out. Over the years, her style has evolved in ways that have made her music both more immediate and challenging. Blending the sterility of electronica with the warmth of human touch, Reo has continually explored the collision of her own voice and that of an augmented harmony. Her music reflects this union, favoring more precisely orchestrated programming, even as the melodies become more abundantly warm and blissfully catchy. Emily Reo's music, now, is slyly eccentric pop.

Emily Reo, w/ Foxes in Fiction, Ancient Pools, Clay Beds, 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Real Art, 5412 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma, $10,

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