By Coleman Bentley of My Social List
It's Masters week here at the My Social List Clubhouse. The legends are teeing off, bogeys are back on the sidewalks, and, with the weather warming, New York City's live music scene has returned to, ahem, full swing. Across the tri-state, beach bum upstarts and EDM icons have gathered along our venues' ever-emerald fairways to welcome the spring concert season and I encourage everyone to get out there and enjoy it. But please, whatever you do, leave the argyle sweater vests at home.
Over the past half decade Wavves' Nathan Williams has proven himself indie's most unpredictable entity, blending onstage meltdowns, high-profile romantic interests (Best Coast's Bethany Consentino), and perpetually fluctuating material into an elixir as captivating as it is volatile. Though not settling down by any means, Wavves' latest LP, Afraid Of Heights, is the band's most mature yet, propelling this Thursday night appearance at Glasslands Gallery to MOST BUZZED show of the week honors, smashed guitars and megalomaniacal rants notwithstanding.
You have to love a hometown hero, and Yo La Tengo, a 1st-gen alternative band born in Jersey and weaned on NYC's oft-poisonous live music formula have become, 13 albums in to a nearly 30-year career, virtual indie-Avengers. Tomorrow they collide with another legend, The Kitchen--a pillar of Manhattan's avant-garde art scene for over four decades--for a must-see meeting-of-the-minds that will feature YLT playing a live and improvised score for Academy-award nominated director Sam Green's (see: The Weather Underground) live and improvised documentary, The Love Song Of R. Buckminster Fuller.
It's would be almost too easy to begin any piece on guitar virtuoso Marnie Stern with chauvinist quipping like "is there anything hotter than a girl who can shred?" if it weren't for the fact her talent truly transcends context. Unlike many of the other musicians on this list (see: Wavves) whose appeal to mass audiences based thanks to their extra curriculars, Stern takes the GPA approach, paving her path to notoriety with practice, practice, practice. Perhaps that's how she launched her technique-heavy, instrumental guitar rock (not a popular genre amongst the kids) to a headlining slot at Music Hall of Williamsburg and, consequently, a lasting place in MOST BUZZED show-lore.
The one-man band concept is an admittedly sticky concept, with current lineups for groups like Guns N' Roses and The Smashing Pumpkins--featuring no more than a single original member apiece--spilling liters of sugary narcissism all over the actual solo-act's once-white linoleum. Thankfully Jamie Lidell, who backs his soul-inflected vocals with beatboxed rhythms and silky melodies, has helped to keep the true frontman tradition alive and at least somewhat well, trading egotistical motivations for experimental ones while earning SOLD OUT status for this awesome Saturday night set at Music Hall of Williamsburg.
Authors of this winter's stellar Honeys (a rather large snowball in the impending avalanche of best-of-2013-so-far editorial), Pennsylvania punk quartet Pissed Jeans bottle hardcore philosophies and noise-punk influences with the coal mine grime of their home state to create a brand of loud entirely their own. Throw equally chaotic upstarts Roomrunner into the mix, and you have a Bowery Ballroom rager sure to keep punk fans placated until Iceage, White Lung, Parquet Courts hit the LES next weekend.
Soon after moving to New York City I took my first trip up to the Williamsburg cultural enclave we all know, love, and (occasionally) revile and, as new visitors are wont to do, wandered into Brooklyn Bowl for what proved to be a fitting welcome to the hood. On stage was a band that I had never heard of, Brooklyn's own Caveman, whose performance and overall sound captured both the anthemic posturing of The National and the pop hooks of The Boxer Rebellion. That's high-praise in indie music terms, of course, but 18 months later I feel safe saying that the band has lived mostly up to the billing, dropping their well-received sophomore album last week and, come Wednesday night, taking to the East Village for a big-time slot at Webster Hall. Caveman, meet World, World, meet Caveman.
Let's hear it for New York, as Alicia Keys' most ubiquitous refrain goes, shamelessly scoring everything from CSI New York trailers to A-Rod homeruns (though there haven't been very many of those). And while you, me, and Keys herself have all tired of the over-exposure, the singer/songwriter's roots run deep in the Big Apple bedrock, blooming, as the weather warms, into this headlining spectacle at Madison Square Garden. Oh, and if any genies, witches, warlocks, or wizards happen to be reading, I will hook you up with some free concert tickets if can turn me into Keys' piano bench on Thursday night. Seriously, please.
With a name like Chlöe Sunshine, there is simply no way this all-girl surf pop outfit's Paper Box set wasn't going to make our top ten on a day when parts of the tri-state will hit 80 degrees for the first time in seven months. And while I admit the recent uptick in "ladies only" lineups (don't worry, tickets are available to everyone) has some seriously uncomfortable 1952 book-club connotations, the fact is this one is going to be absolutely killer with or without a Y chromosome.
ALSO BUZZING: RVIVR, Dogjaw, Agatha, Tomboy at NYU Kimmel Center (Tonight, Free!); Kurt Vile & the Violators at Apple Store Soho (Tonight, Free!); Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau at Bowery Ballroom (Tonight, Sold Out!); L Magazine's and Kanine Records' 10th Anniversary w/ Xray Eyeballs, Lodro, Valleys at Union Pool (Wednesday, Free!); Araabmuzik at Output (Wednesday); Night Birds, Tenement, Marvin Berry and The New Sound, Dipers at The Grand Victory (Thursday); Diarrhea Planet, Wild Yaks, Slam Donahue, Flagland at Shea Stadium (Thursday); Skaters at The Mercury Lounge (Thursday); Barn Owl, Stygian Stride, Jahiliyya Fields at Death By Audio (Friday); Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 w/ Eric Clapton, Albert Lee, Allan Holdsworth, The Allman Brothers Band & more at Madison Square Garden (Friday/Saturday, Festival Alert!); Port St. Willow, Abandoned Warehouse at Knitting Factory (Saturday); Memory Tapes, Sleep Over at The Mercury Lounge (Sunday);