By Coleman Bentley of My Social List
God, whichever one you worship, is in the numbers. Probability, not gravity, turns the Earth on its access and it's the law of averages, not NATO, which governs the whole of humanity day in and day out. Thus it comes as little surprise that music fans, with the body Record Store Day hardly cooled, have already moved on, welcoming Crossing Brooklyn Ferry and, for that matter, all of festival season to our not-so-humble city this week. It's algebra, a balancing of the equation, and I -- despite possessing a pure and seething hatred of mathematics -- couldn't be more excited.
The man behind the good kid m.A.A.d city mask -- one of My Social List's favorite albums of 2012 -- Kendrick Lamar has been heralded as a savior and savant, an outlier MC who has traded contemporary hip hop's Rolexes and roofies for cultural commentary and social consciousness. Encouragingly, the NYC's listening masses have flocked into line behind Lamar, propelling his main event set at EA's Madden 14 cover reveal party to the top of our MOST BUZZED ladder. Keep your ear to the ground regarding location of and entry to this secret Manhattan venue, as it's sure to fill up fast.
Let's be honest, Vampire Weekend aren't one of those bands who toiled in dive-bar obscurity before finally, after four records and countless nights spent sleeping in the tour van, bumped into the right record people, landed on Letterman, and became the next Nirvana. They started as a big band, with their self-titled debut spawning some seriously catchy crossover singles, and have now become, on the final approach of their third album, Modern Vampires of the City (due May 14), a huge, hulking indie-entity of earth-destroying asteroid proportions. What this means is every time the Columbia groomed guys announce a NYC show, it will be shoe-in for a MOST BUZZED slot, as Sunday's bronze medal ranked Roseland Ballroom concert certainly attests. Oh, if you're going make sure to tie those Sperrys tight; this one is bound to knock you on your ass.
While we can thank the White Stripes for our culture's general distrust of sibling music duos, North America, a largely instrumental act who call to mind the heady post-rock of Russian Circles at their heaviest and the reverb-soaked tropicalia of Surfer Blood at their brightest, do, in fact, share genes not genitals. It shows too, as the duo's complex arrangements pretty much require a little sibling telepathy, especially during live performances, such as this one at Bushwick's next cool (pun fully intended) DIY, Big Snow.
Even though The Roots are unquestionably the biggest draw of Crossing Brooklyn Ferry's opening day -- marking a strong debut for NYC festival season with this MOST BUZZED show -- the fact is you can still catch them on Fallon five nights a week (for the time being at least). Thus the real must-see here are Ridgewood punks Parquet Courts who, on the heels of their terrific album Light Up Gold and opening gigs for everyone from The Men to Iceage, wash up at BAM on Thursday riding a pretty killer wave of momentum.
One could make the argument that TV On The Radio are Brooklyn's pioneering indie-band; Lewis and Clark if Lewis had an afro and Clark a mean-ass falsetto. It's certainly a point of debate -- some Brooklynites prefer to namecheck bands who better represent the rougher edges of their beloved borough -- but what cannot be argued is TVotR's place on our MOST BUZZED top ten. Check out Crossing Brooklyn Ferry day two, including sets from Phosphorescent and Japanther, for the proof.
Though by technicality a supergroup, featuring both Cassie Ramone of Vivian Girls and Kevin Morby of Woods, The Babies aren't what your typical rock n' roll Avengers. There aren't any middle-aged man guts hanging over the waistline of too-tight leather pants, there's no cross-armed, straight-faced, dragon-heavy album artwork, and Sammy Hagar, bless his heart, is mercifully absent. Instead The Babies, much like their weekend bill-mate Waxahatchee, play earnest indie-rock with an emphasis on songcraft; a winning combination sure to be on full display at Glasslands Gallery come Saturday night. This one is bound to sell out, so grab your tickets soon.
A great concert, in its simplest form, is a conversation between band and venue. Not all live music destinations are created equal, however, and Shea Stadium, an out-of-the-way loft space in East Williamsburg where, on any given night, you can find some of Brooklyn's best bands taking tickets, tending bar, and generally making everyone in attendance feel like a part of something bigger (and cooler) than themselves, is one of New York City's best. Pair that with a set from San Francisco post-punks Weekend, whose new album (due July 23) already sounds pretty killer, and you have a show that, despite its top 10 status, still feels underrated.
When it comes to booking, Brooklyn Bowl has one of the best hip hop resumes in Brooklyn, routinely hosting performances from the likes of Talib Kweli and DJ sets from the Roots' ?uestlove. So it's with little surprise that the venue-cum-bowling alley breaks into our top 10 this week boasting one of the best one-two punches in the tri-state: Big Boi and Killer Mike. Though outshined by Kendrick Lamar's city-topping show, the one time Outkast, who has made name for himself as a solo artist with a pair of well-received albums, and Killer Mike, a fellow ATLer who dropped one of the best LPs of 2012 in R.A.P. Music, are still a can't miss for hip hop fans across the five-borough.
ALSO BUZZING: Oberhofer, Carmen Villain, Splashh! at Pianos (Tonight); GOAT, Holy Wave, Bear in Heaven at Music Hall of Williamsburg (Tonight); Fightland Launch Party w/ Ghostface Killah at The DL (Wednesday); Talib Kweli at The Greene Space (Wednesday); Hockey, Monogold, Black Light Dinner Party at Pianos (Wednesday); Kaki King at The Mercury Lounge (Thursday); My Social List & Kristina Tequila Present: w/ Ice Choir, Eraas, Heavenly Beat, Tempers, Horoscope & more at 285 Kent Ave (Thursday); DOM, California X, Moss of Aura, Spires at Death By Audio (Friday); Sarah Silverman at The Wellmont Theatre (Friday); Dan Deacon at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Saturday); Converse Rubber Tracks Live w/ The Dillinger Escape Plan, Primitive Weapons, Royal Thunder, The Faceless at Music Hall of Williamsburg (Saturday); WBAR-B-Q w/ Twin Sister, Roomrunner, Speedy Ortiz, Swearin', Scott & Charlenes Wedding, Chris Forsyth & more at Lehman Lawn at Barnard College (Saturday); Billy Bragg at The Town Hall (Saturday); How to Destroy Angels, DIIV at The Wellmont Theatre (Sunday); Lee Ranaldo at Union Pool (Sunday)