By Coleman Bentley of My Social List
Summer blockbusters aren't just for popcorn addicts and Marvel fan boys anymore. In fact, they aren't even limited to the silver screen. Instead the mega media-release has expanded to include YouTube sensations, Twitter beefs, and, of course, the ancient and increasingly uncool LP, for which we now enter a verdant, fertile spring valley (of metaphorical sorts). Blooming with new releases from Deerhunter, Vampire Weekend, Daft Punk, and The National, the following weeks consequently boast some of the heaviest MOST BUZZED concerts of 2013 and My Social List is here to help bring order to the live-music chaos. Welcome to the freakin' jungle, people.
Harlem meet Phoenix, Phoenix meet Harlem. A sign of the gentrifying times, worldwide indie superstars Phoenix will be bringing their glossy pop sheen north of the 90s next Monday night for an Apollo Theater set that, a decade ago, would have had music fans wondering what the band was smoking and, consequently, how many blocks from the Apollo the dealer that sold it to them lived. If you missed the band's recent free show at Music Hall of Williamsburg, which, given the pro-bono price tag and daytime ticket pickup, seemed designed exclusively for the unemployed, then hopefully you got tickets to this MOST BUZZED show of the week, as it is already, and unsurprisingly, sold-out.
While Thursday is my birthday (shout out!), dubstep-producer-turned-R&B heartthrob James Blake gets the best gift of the evening: a MOST BUZZED show of the week silver medal. Hailing from the U.K. (as most electronic power brokers seem to these days), Terminal 5 is about as far from home as the Blake can be in NYC, but don't worry about homesickness as the singer/songwriter's newest album, Overgrown, proves he is perfectly comfortable occupying new territory.
Next to Azaelia Banks, Earl Sweathirt is the biggest procrastinator in hip hop, parrying his major label debut with here-and-there guest appearances and the odd remix or two. While some music pundits believe Sweatshirt has, by now, missed the hype train, this marquee Element billing at Downtown Music Festival on Friday, the highest-ranked night of the weekend's LES-centric music-explosion, proves that demand for the LA MC has, in fact, never been higher.
One of the most talked about and, consequently, divisive bands of the year, Sweden's Ghost B.C. have landed on a major record label and in the public eye thanks to some stuff-of-a-Catholic's-nightmare stage costumes and a penchant for all things Satan. Don't let the melodrama spook you, however, as the band's sound isn't nearly as shocking as its look, combining the operatic vocals of Papa Emeritus II and the virtuosic arrangements of the Nameless Ghouls (ie: backing band) into a thoroughly accessible brand of psych-rock sure to turn Webster Hall into some circle of hell on Saturday night.
Danny Brown has always and will always be an "any press is good press" MC, catching headlines as much for his crack-fashion look and shock-rap rhymes as his totally singular, tongue-twisting ability. With a new album on the way and a recent on-stage fellatio incident still lurking in the rear-view, Brown is at it again, commanding positive and negative attention alike while further growing his fully fanatical fan base. It's a polarizing approach, to be sure, but if you're looking to form your own opinion on the Motor City-made rapper then I suggest starting with tour-mate Kitty Pryde's recent (and amazing) piece of music journalism on that pseudo-bj before heading out to Irving Plaza for this MOST BUZZED spectacle.
Performing under his Four Tet moniker since the turn of century, high school post-rock recluse turned prolific electronic producer, Kieran Hebden, is practically father time in an EDM scene dominated by new-jack DJs, routinely masked, it would seem, in order to hide their pubescent acne. Touring on the heels of early-winter's 0181, a collection of previously unreleased Four Tet material written between 1997 and 2001, Hebden and Webster Hall will be partying like it's1999 come Wednesday night (JNCO jeans tragically not included).
I don't know who's currently in charge of booking at Youth Lagoon HQ, but they deserve a f'n beer. Besides the number of band members, there is nothing small about this Idaho bedroom-fi duo's sound or stature (exhibit A), and packing it into Maxwell's, a notoriously tiny Hoboken venue, and now The Bellhouse, a 150 capacity, G-train accessible bar-n'-stage in Gowanus, takes some serious Tetris chops. Easily the most intimate concert on this week's MOST BUZZED list, this one is a can't-miss for fans of beautiful things (and really, aren't we all).
After a Sunday gig at MoMa's Long Island City installation, PS1, that found the Brooklyn indie-icons playing their 2010 track "Sorrow" for six straight hours, frontman Matt Berninger and the boys are likely looking forward to playing something (DEAR GOD, ANYTHING!) different at this hush-hush show tonight. Part of PBS's Live From the Artists Den series, in which the network broadcasts big acts performing at charming venues across the country, the actual location for this one has remained under pretty tight wraps. Channeling my inner Hardy Boy, I took to the interweb for answers and, after finding a footprint in the mud here and a strand of hair there, tripped over my own ego and ruined a perfectly good pair of khakis. Nothing definitive of yet, but the good news is that one this one is totally free...if you win the entry contest that is. Try your luck here.
The brains behind Das Racist's "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" beat, openly gay NYC MC Le1f is, along with Chance the Rapper (South Chicago's answer to Kendrick Lamar) and Danny Brown (see above and/or all over the damn internet), a rapper with the very real capacity to forever alter hip hop's cultural landscape. Afraid of neither his peers' close-minded phobias nor TNGHT-tinged electronic experimentation, Le1f dropped one of the year's better mixtapes, Fly Zone, back in January, following it up with this totally stacked, Red Bull Music Academy-backed show (featuring other five-boro beat-nicks like Mykki Blanco and Venus X) at Glasslands Gallery tonight. It's way sold-out, of course, but worth the scalp if you're so inclined.